A common issue that a lot of MacBook Pro owners run into once they’ve had their laptop for a few years is a bad battery. Your MacBook Pro might seem like it needs to charge all the time, or you’re experiencing random shutdowns.
Before you replace the entire laptop, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier on your wallet to replace the internal battery. The good news is that there are several options for swapping an old battery out for a new one. Let’s take a look at your options.
Built-in batteries (2009 and forward)
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 to 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% 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
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 your serial number on Apple’s website. Apple gives you valuable information about how to get the battery replaced if this option works for you.
In June 2019, Apple also announced that certain other MacBook Pro models could suffer from defective batteries that Apple would replace for free. To find out if your device is affected, click the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your MacBook Pro’s screen, then click About This Mac. If the pop-up window says “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015),” you might be affected. You’ll need to copy the serial number from this window and paste it on Apple’s dedicated page to find out if you can get a free battery replacement.
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. MacBook Pro models that have removable batteries are:
- Models from before mid-2009, when the battery switch first happened to the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops
- Models without Retina displays
If your older Pro matches these qualifications, check out the underside of the chassis 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
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 may end up coming to future 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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