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 all of these qualifications, you need to check out the underside of the chassis where you will likely find a removable battery. The battery should be held in place by a screwed-on or latched panel. If so, you can purchase a brand new battery for your model. It should be a quick and easy replacement to handle yourself. You’ll find prices for a new battery run between $50 and $80 depending on your model.
2018 and future MacBook battery replacement
There is some potentially good news for MacBook users who need to replace their batteries. Looking to the future, Apple is currently trying to change the process for replacing built-in batteries in Mac laptops. The updates should make the process quicker and easier for users to handle battery replacements on their own at home.
In the past, built-in models had glued batteries that were tricky to remove and required you to fully replace the aluminum top case (yet another reason to not try it yourself at home). With the latest models, Apple opted to try a new approach. Now you can actually remove the old batteries with specialized tools and replace them with new adhesive without having to replace the entire top case.
For now, this ability is only available for the 2018 MacBook Air models. However, there is a chance that you could see this new battery setup show up on the next MacBook Pro models. Currently, we’re not sure how the new system will affect the cost of replacing your old battery. Regardless of how the new battery configuration affects the pricing of replacement, the actual battery replacement should be a much smoother process.