Those little rubber feet on the bottom of your laptop may seem unimportant, but they prevent dust ingress, overheating, and even destruction. If your laptop feet are missing, here’s what you can do to get them back.
What Those Little Rubber Feet Do
At a minimum, laptop feet provide enough traction so that your laptop is far less likely to take a dive off an elevated surface. They’re a simple but effective mechanism against accidental shoves, klutzy grabs, and cable yanks. Power cords fit snugly in most laptops, and have heavy power bricks attached to them, which can feel like a practical joke laptop makers play on people sometimes. This is also why older MacBooks had MagSafe chargers, which disconnected at the slightest tug, but were discontinued for reasons few humans can fathom. Rubber feet keep a silent vigil against the forces of gravity and clumsiness.
Laptop feet also elevate your laptop ever so slightly so that air can flow beneath it, keeping the chassis cool. Nearly every laptop has its components sitting inside the bottom case—feel the bottom of your laptop while it’s running (right now, maybe) if you don’t believe me. With no airflow to dissipate that heat, it would just keep building up. This is why it’s also not a good idea to put your laptop on a pillow or blanket.
If your laptop gets too hot, the processor will “throttle” itself, running slower to generate less heat. In critically hot temperatures, your computer will shut itself off to prevent damage to internal components. Helping your computer radiate heat through its largest surface helps avoid these dicey scenarios.
Lastly, some rubber feet cover up holes in the bottom frame that can let in dirt and dust if uncovered. MacBooks are great examples of this—with the feet gone, you’re left with four holes in the bottom case that are wide-open doors for dust. Eventually, that dust will clog up cooling fans and coat components, making them run hotter.
Last but not least, rubber feet prevent your laptop from damaging the surface they’re on. Your laptop’s bottom surface may not seem sharp, but every long typing session will take a toll on wooden or painted surfaces.
What Do If Your Laptop’s Rubber Feet Go Missing
Unfortunately, rubber feet are usually attached with only adhesive, and lose their grip over time, especially on laptops that run hot. But you can get replacement feet pretty cheaply. Attaching them is simple—and iFixit has you covered, if you’ve got a MacBook.
MacBook Pro Retina 2012–2015 Feet Replacement
Prerequisite-only guide describing how to replace the feet of a 2012-2015 MacBook Pro Retina.
If you have a PC laptop, you can sometimes find rubber feet made for your specific model, but that’s rare. If that isn’t an option, you can use generic rubber bumper pads with adhesive to serve a similar purpose. And since they come in so many different shapes and sizes, you can pick the ones that fit your specific laptop the best.
If you have a MacBook, we sell replacement plastic feet specifically designed for the MacBook Air, 12” MacBook, Unibody MacBook Pro, 2015-and-earlier MacBook Pro, and 2016-and-newer MacBook Pro.
Once you have them in hand, you can follow our guide to replacing the laptop feet. The process differs ever so slightly across MacBook models, but it’s really easy regardless—just remove the bottom panel, remove the old feet and adhesive, then apply the new feet, which have new adhesive ready to go. It’s an affordable, low-effort way to make your laptop safer, cooler, and resistant to dust.