MacBook Pro battery replacement: Everything you need to know

Is the battery in your MacBook Pro disappointing? It may have been good when you first bought it, but it’s uncommon to run into serious problems with charge times, battery power, or malfunctions. Those are signs that it may be time to replace the battery in your MacBook Pro.

But swapping to a new battery isn’t always as simple as popping the old one out and snapping a new version in: It all depends on the type of MacBook Pro you have, and what’s going wrong. Here’s everything you need to know.

Built-in batteries (2009 and forward)

test surface book 2 15 inch vs macbook pro 2016 hero 1200x9999

If you have a MacBook Pro that’s the mid-2009 model or newer, then your battery is built-in. It’s very inadvisable to try and replace these glued-in batteries by yourself. There’s not even an easy way to reach the battery without taking your MacBook apart. Bottom line? This is a job best left to the professionals.

To replace these batteries, look for a nearby Apple Store, and call them to talk about replacing your battery. They have specialists that will be able to arrange an appointment and get the job done. Apple also has Authorized Service Providers that are trained to replace built-in batteries properly. If there’s no Apple Store nearby or you want to find the fastest return possible, take a look at the Authorized Providers in your area and see which offer battery replacement services.

Note the Apple One Year Limited Warranty does include coverage for a defective battery, which helps take care of costs. The AppleCare Protection Plan will also replace any battery that falls below 80 percent of its original capacity. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay a fee for the new battery and the replacement service.

Apple’s free replacement program

apple macbook pro battery replacement accessories header

There’s a special battery replacement offer available for the 13-inch MacBook Pro (without Touch Bar) model that was manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017. Some of these models were hit with a defect that made the battery expand. This doesn’t present much danger (they won’t explode or anything), but it can cause plenty of battery problems.

As a result, Apple will replace the batteries on any of these Pros for free. If you think your Pro model may qualify, check out your serial number here. Apple gives you valuable information about how to get the battery replaced if this option works for you.

Removable batteries (before 2009)

Around ten years ago, Apple started a switch from removable batteries to “built-in” batteries that are literally glued into the MacBook framework. Apple’s reasoning here was straightforward: Built-in batteries were more compact, safer from a consumer standpoint, and allowed them to keep making MacBooks slimmer and slimmer. However, you cannot replace a built-in battery yourself. Only older MacBook Pros with removable batteries are truly viable for DIY replacements.

So, how do you know for sure if your model has a removable battery? There are two easy qualifiers to note. Pros that have removable batteries are:

  • Models from before mid-2009, when the battery switch first happened to the 13 and 15-inch Pro computers
  • Models without Retina displays
Battery Macbook Pro

If your older Pro matches these qualifications, check out the frame and you’re likely to find a removable battery held in by a screwed-on or latched panel. Purchase a new battery for your model and you can quickly replace it yourself. You’ll find prices for a new battery around $50 to $80 depending on your model.

2018 and future MacBook battery replacement

apple macbook air 2018 battery replacement
Source: MacRumors

A note looking into the future: Apple is starting to change how easy it is to access built-in batteries. In the past, built-in models had glued batteries that were tricky to remove and required fully replacing the aluminum top case (another reason to not try it at home). With the latest models, Apple is trying a new approach, where batteries can be removed with specialized tools and replaced with new adhesive without having to replace the entire top case.

For now, this ability is only available for 2018 MacBook Air models. However, it’s no doubt coming to future new MacBook Pro models that Apple has planned. While we don’t know if Apple will change the fees it charges for battery replacements, the change should at least make the process faster and more widely available.

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