The TSA clarified that there’s no need to remove devices smaller than a laptop from your carry-on bags before running them through x-ray machines. In a blog post, the TSA stated:
Electronic items smaller than the standard sized laptop should not need to be removed from your bag or their cases. It’s that simple.
TSA doesn’t state what a standard sized laptop is. By my definition, a standard laptop has a 14″ or 15″ display, which means tablets and slates shouldn’t have to be pulled from your bags. Unfortunately, I don’t think this memo’s going to reach every TSA agent and your mileage will vary.
In my experience, there’s not much use trying to explain TSA policy to TSA agents and it’s better to just take your gadgets out of your bag when asked.
For those of you who complain about having to take your computer out of your bag- just be glad the TSA isn’t as thorough as airport security in other parts of the world. I had to completely empty my bags of electronics when traveling in India and it’s not too uncommon for airport security to pull my DSLR bag aside for closer inspection.