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Swelling Macbook Pro Battery

43716 Views 52 Replies Latest reply: Jan 26, 2014 9:29 AM by Oroyce RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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harmlessgoat22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 21, 2010 2:45 PM
I've had this MBP since November of 2008, and in the past month, I've noticed that the battery is swelling. Visibly, it is not that large, however, it does not fit inside the MBP unibody case without having the back piece that covers the battery partially separated from the case. This is rather annoying, but the reason this is such an issue is that the battery is now large enough that it is pushing on the trackpad, making it nearly impossible to touch the trackpad without making a click. My computer is out of warranty, but I feel that because this isn't standard wear and tear, it is clearly a flaw in Apple's batteries, I should not have to pay $130 for a replacement. However, every attempt I have made to talk to a real person over the phone or via email has been unsuccessful. Do you think Apple will replace the battery for free, and how should I go about speaking to someone at Apple about this without paying $49 for phone support?

Thanks,

David
Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 21, 2010 3:33 PM (in response to harmlessgoat22)
    Do you have access to an Apple Store? If so, make an appointment at the genius bar to have the battery looked at. I did the same with my swelling battery, and even though the Mac was out of warranty (just barely) and the battery had 276 cycles and was over 3 years old, they gave me a new battery at no cost. It seems people are having better luck in person than over the phone.

    It is entirely at Apple's discretion whether or not they will replace a swelling battery, but they seem to cut people a surprising amount of slack. Possibly that is because there once was a specific program to replace swelling batteries (Battery Update). Don't really know, but if you take it in and ask, the worst thing they can do is say no.

    Personally, I think this is the sign of a defective battery, but not everybody agrees. I have a slew of old Apple batteries around dating from 1998, and none of them have ever come apart like this.

    In the meantime, don't use the battery. It could cause permanent damage to your Mac. It could also leak noxious chemicals. Place it in a plastic bag and carry it in separately. If nothing else, Apple will recycle it for you.

    If no access to an Apple Store, and no success at speaking with anyone else, you could always call Apple and ask to speak to Apple Customer Relations. Be very nice and polite on the phone, and express your concerns that you seem to have a defective battery. No guarantees as to the outcome, but I believe you can at least avoid the $49 fee.

    Good luck!
    MBP 17" hi res, 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, Mac OS X (10.6.5), iBook G4, 800 MHz; PowerMac G4 867 DP(MDD); PB G3 PDQ; PB 145B; 12" PB G4
  • Vynn Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2011 10:55 PM (in response to S.U.)
    Sorry for hijacking this thread.

    But I have a similar problem. I don't think I have access to Apple Store. I can't seemed to find it in Bangkok. Either I can't find it, or there's no Apple Store in Bangkok.

    Mine is uMBP late 2008 15". Retail reseller in Bangkok is selling a replacement at 6,900 baht(Estmated 229USD)!!.

    You mentioned that, calling Apple might help. Is this the number to call, in Bangkok? "Shop the Apple Online Store (001-800-65-6957), or find a reseller."

    There is no Apple Store in Bangkok.

    http://www.apple.com/asia/support/store/
    uMBP, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2011 2:45 PM (in response to Vynn)
    Welcome to Apple Discussions!

    Here is a link to the international contact information:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HE57

    They give a different number for Thailand than the one you listed. By all means give them a call and see if they can help you.

    Good luck!
    MBP 17" hi res, 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, Mac OS X (10.6.5), iBook G4, 800 MHz; PowerMac G4 867 DP(MDD); PB G3 PDQ; PB 145B; 12" PB G4
  • Vynn Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 4, 2011 11:13 AM (in response to S.U.)
    Thanks for the info.. I just hope I will be able change it for free if I make a fuss about it.. But I can sense that I wouldn't be able to change it.. LOL..
    uMBP, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 4, 2011 2:21 PM (in response to Vynn)
    Apple used to have a program where they replaced the removable batteries that did this, and even after that program ended, they have been remarkably generous in replacing swollen batteries on the theory, I suppose, that batteries should eventually just stop working and not swell up unless they are defective. There seems to be some debate as to whether swelling is considered something that should only happen if a battery is defective, or if it is a normal occurrence that could happen to any battery.

    In any event, you need to replace the battery ASAP before it can cause permanent damage to your computer. Even if you have to pay for it yourself. By all means make a fuss though, and try to get it replaced for free.

    Good luck!
    MBP 17" hi res, 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, Mac OS X (10.6.5), iBook G4, 800 MHz; PowerMac G4 867 DP(MDD); PB G3 PDQ; PB 145B; 12" PB G4
  • Anthony C. Kay Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 19, 2011 9:43 AM (in response to harmlessgoat22)
    I have the same model, late 2008 MacBook Pro purchased in Nov 2008 and have the same issue. The battery started to swell a couple of weeks ago and eventually popped the battery compartment lid open. I removed it and the swelling went down a bit but it still won't fit in the laptop anymore.

    I took it to the Apple Store in the Eaton Center (Toronto) today but no love from the genius. He basically said that "swelling is normal" at the end of life and refused to replace it for free, or even offer a discount on a replacement battery.


    <Edited by Host>
    MacBook Pro (Oct' 08) 2.4GHz, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • superfly9999 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2011 12:01 PM (in response to Anthony C. Kay)
    My MacBook Pro is an olllld 2006 model, but the battery was replaced mid 2007 by Apple as part of a recall. My battery is swelling rapidly as well. I am standing in the Eaton Centre Apple Store right now!

    I was just at the genius bar and also had no luck getting it replaced. They offered a $118 replacement with only a 3 month warranty.

    I'm thinking about trying one of the other Apple stores in the GTA... :S
    Macbook Pro
  • W. Jim Jordan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 29, 2011 11:24 PM (in response to harmlessgoat22)
    I had the same problem as the original poster. The battery in my machine was down to 80% capacity on 183 cycles in 27 months, and it had swelling that got worse as machine heated up. I took the machine into the Apple Store at Yorkdale in Toronto. The fellow at the Genius Bar there took one look at the battery and saw that it was swollen (I couldn't tell that it was swollen when the battery was cool). It was replaced on the spot under the AppleCare warranty I had purchased with the machine.

    The diagnostic test showed that the battery was fine. It was the physical inspection that showed it was at the end of its useful life.
    MacBook Pro 15" (late 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Rulf Neigenfind2 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 30, 2011 7:01 AM (in response to harmlessgoat22)
    David, I had exactly the same problem, the bulging battery on my MBP (purchased in December 2008) made working with the trackpad impossible, I had to use a mouse and removed the battery because I feared that the swelling might end in a fire or even an explosion.

    I just came back from an appointment with the Genius Bar. They first shocked me by saying that this is normal end-of-life behavior, and that there's no fire hazard nor explosion danger whatsoever. But they finally tested the battery and found it to be in good health (with ~350 cycles).

    So they decided to replace it without charge. Which was nice...
    MacBook Pro 15", iPhone G3, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • HitcH.ARTStudios Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2011 3:43 AM (in response to harmlessgoat22)
    My Feb 2008 model battery just decided to swell up out of nowhere and also makes the trackpad unusable, I have an appt later today and hope that they will be able to help just like theyve helped you guys. Mine currently looks like this:

    http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/8118/photo1g.jpg
    http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/9865/photo2pi.jpg
    http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/8492/photo3jz.jpg
    MacBook Pro (Early 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • audiaudio Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2011 4:14 AM (in response to HitcH.ARTStudios)
    I've had 3 bulging batteries in my 2006 MacBook Pro (17). Each time, I've taken the computer to the Genius Bar, and, each time, they've replaced the battery for free. The third time (last week) the genius told me that bulging results from deterioration of the battery's chemicals. He checked an Apple database and said that there is a long-standing Apple program for replacing bulging batteries. He replaced mine under that program. He also said that bulging occurs more often in 17-inch MBPs than in other models.
     iPhone 4 | G5 Dual 2.5 | 2.5G RAM |, Mac OS X (10.6.6), MacBook Pro 17 | 2.16G | 2G RAM | Seagate 250G 7200
  • carl wolf Level 6 Level 6 (13,900 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2011 8:29 AM (in response to harmlessgoat22)
    "I don't think I have access to Apple Store. I can't seemed to find it in Bangkok."

    Oh, please, this has been discussed a dozen times before. MCC is the autorized service provider, and there are several outlets in central Bangkok: Pantip Plaza, Siam Discovery Center, and Rama III @ Narathiwas (the Galaxy building). I live within walking distance of the latter, brought in my computer, verified the problem, and had a new battery within a few days.
    I'm in the "Best Thai Movie of 2010". Woohoo!
  • davidfromburleson Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 3:41 PM (in response to harmlessgoat22)

    Apple completely refuses to replace my battery. Mine started acting up a couple of months ago and progressively got worse. Then I found out about the swelling battery issue and saw that most people were gettign them replaced by Apple.

    I set an appointment with my local Apple store and had them look at it. Teh tech took out teh battery, showed me that it was swelling and said that was my problem. Then she said unfortunately, Apple was no longer replacing them and I would have to buy one myself for $99.00. I said this was a defective battery and I would hope Apple would replace it for free. She said sorry...I told her to just put it back together.

    I then called Apple support and told them waht happened...again they said sorry, Apple will not replace it. Then when I got home I opened up my computer so I could write a letter to Apple. Well now my mousepad is even worse than it was before.

    So I called Apple again and talked to a tech support rep and explained the situation. She transfered me to a Senior tech. I told him what was going on. He then started telling me that batteries could be compared to the tires on my car and should be replaced when they are at the end of their life or they could have swelling problems. Waht a bunch of nonsense. My battery is 2 1/2 years old and has 208 cycles on it.

    Again, they REFUSE to replace my battery when it is clearly a defective battery.

    I have always been an Apple advocate and every member of my family: Wife, kids, step kids all use Apple products, but I am very unhappy about being treated this way.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2011 3:46 PM (in response to davidfromburleson)

    At 2-1/2 years old, your battery would soon be due for replacement even if it hadn't swelled. The average lifespan of an MBP battery is 2-4 years, depending heavily upon usage and treatment. The people whose swollen batteries have been replaced for free have mostly had batteries that were less than a year old.

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