2015 Macbook Pro 15 - battery swollen?

alex_at

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 19, 2018
27
6
I opened my 2015 15" retina today to repaste the thermal paste and noticed upon reclosing the 2 tabs on the bottom don't click into place.

I noticed also, that my battery is possibly swollen - on a 2.5 years old machine. I took some pictures for evaluation as I can't determine wheter my battery is really swollen or it just looks like it. I can slightly press on the battery.

Is the battery supposed to be completely flat when new?

My machine is a desktop replacement and constantly connected to power.

IMG_9679.JPG IMG_5673.JPG
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,044
3,059
SF Bay Area
Definitely swollen. Take it into Apple. They can do a top case replacement (battery, keyboard, trackpad, and Al plate). Some people have been able to get it for free on 2015 models.
 

alex_at

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 19, 2018
27
6
wow, battery swollen as I thought - kind of disappointing for such a young machine.

now the question is: How do I tell Apple that my battery is swollen?

I can't thell them I opened my Macbook for an SSD replacement and an thermal repaste. Unfortunately, from the outside, everything is fine.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,449
2,780
Delaware
You may have opened the case, which is how you discovered that the battery looks a bit distorted.
Anything else that you did, did not affect the battery in any way.
Apple should have little to say, except to provide you with a way to replace the battery, which may result in Apple telling you how much you need to pay.
It does happen that Apple may replace at no charge, particularly if the number of charge cycles is less than the rated 1,000. No guarantees about a free replacement, but 2.5 years might be low enough that Apple will give you some good news.
 

alex_at

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 19, 2018
27
6
The battery has 10 cycles on it. I just checked, I still have Apple Care on it until February 2018.

So I'm making an appointment with the genius bar and see what they can do - I'm still not convinced that telling Apple that I've opened the device is a good idea.

But I'm definetly not willing to pay.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,449
2,780
Delaware
I think you probably meant AppleCare until February 2019. ;) Hopefully, that will be to your advantage regarding a battery replacement.

My idea for a way to start off, is to suggest that you opened the bottom to check for dust/dirt around the fan.
You tried to close up the bottom, and it wouldn't seat properly, and that's when you noticed that the battery cells were bulging.
Unless you made a royal mess of it, you could choose to not say anything about the re-paste, as THAT little job won't normally be visible anyway.
Pretty hard to hide a non-Apple SSD, however. (I would PROBABLY put the Apple one back in place, if you still have it. Fewer chances for questions, then, eh?
 

LogicalApex

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2015
521
474
wow, battery swollen as I thought - kind of disappointing for such a young machine.

now the question is: How do I tell Apple that my battery is swollen?

I can't thell them I opened my Macbook for an SSD replacement and an thermal repaste. Unfortunately, from the outside, everything is fine.
Age has nothing to do with it. Just had work swap out my 6 month old Dell Latitude for a swollen battery.

It happens, but get it swapped asap! A swollen battery is a safety issue.

The battery has 10 cycles on it. I just checked, I still have Apple Care on it until February 2018.

So I'm making an appointment with the genius bar and see what they can do - I'm still not convinced that telling Apple that I've opened the device is a good idea.

But I'm definetly not willing to pay.
w/ Apple Care you'll get a free swap.
 

alex_at

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 19, 2018
27
6
I think you probably meant AppleCare until February 2019. ;) Hopefully, that will be to your advantage regarding a battery replacement.

My idea for a way to start off, is to suggest that you opened the bottom to check for dust/dirt around the fan.
You tried to close up the bottom, and it wouldn't seat properly, and that's when you noticed that the battery cells were bulging.
Unless you made a royal mess of it, you could choose to not say anything about the re-paste, as THAT little job won't normally be visible anyway.
Pretty hard to hide a non-Apple SSD, however. (I would PROBABLY put the Apple one back in place, if you still have it. Fewer chances for questions, then, eh?
Good idea!
Ah yes, Apple Care until February 2019.

Of course I'll bring it in with the original SSD - I'm not taking the chance.
 

Toggie101

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2018
6
3
I don't wish to hijack the OP thread, but...
What causes these batteries to swell? Excessive heat, age, charge/discharge frequency, bad luck or is it simply inevitable?

Last week Apple replaced the battery and top plate* (for free - UK, no Applecare, 2 weeks from 3 years old & bought elsewhere) in my MBP 2015 15" and I'd like to avoid this happening again as I'll undoubtedly have to pay for it next time.

Many thanks.

* - I'm going to have to return it as the keyboard backlight doesn't work <sigh>.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,907
6,974
Yes, the battery is swollen and defective.

Take it to a brick-n-mortar Apple Store right away. Don't delay!

As mentioned above, they -might- replace it free of charge.

Even if they want you to pay for it, get it done.

I -think- Apple charges $200 for a battery replacement on these (I could be wrong, others please correct me).
That is supposed to include both parts AND LABOR.
Make sure you have an understanding as to what the complete cost will be before you hand it over to them.

EDIT:
Reading further, I see you have AppleCare on it.
This should cover the cost.
 

alex_at

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 19, 2018
27
6
quick update:

brought it in to the apple store today.
I showed the genius my Macbook Pro and told him the undertray can be pressed in the middle where it's supposed to be solid. He asked if he can check in the backoffice.

After 10 minutes he came back and told me the battery is indeed swollen and needs replacement.

So I get a new battery with topcase. Free of charge, covered by Apple Care.

As far as I've seen a new battery (+topcase) is 180$ + VAT, so if I run into that problem again 2-3 years down the road and I don't like the new MacBook line (keyboard!) I'll pay the 200$. Not too bad if you think that a original replacement battery from other major laptop brands is somwhere between 100-150$.

So right now I'm typing this on my old Lenovo T61 from 2008 - and I miss my Macbook already, especially the screen.
 

alex_at

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 19, 2018
27
6
now since my battery is beeing replaced, I wonder if it might be beneficial to disconnect the battery and isolate the connector in my use case?
If there's enough space to do so....
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,904
2,159
I don't wish to hijack the OP thread, but...
What causes these batteries to swell? Excessive heat, age, charge/discharge frequency, bad luck or is it simply inevitable?

Last week Apple replaced the battery and top plate* (for free - UK, no Applecare, 2 weeks from 3 years old & bought elsewhere) in my MBP 2015 15" and I'd like to avoid this happening again as I'll undoubtedly have to pay for it next time.

Many thanks.

* - I'm going to have to return it as the keyboard backlight doesn't work <sigh>.


http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/what_causes_lithium_ion_to_die

Heat, age, charge/discharge frequency, bad luck, and yes it's inevitable.
 

redshifted

macrumors 6502
Oct 10, 2014
451
2,056
Midwest
Another mid-2015 15" MBP with a swollen battery here.
Mine had enough swelling to wobble on flat surfaces.
The top case was warped a little bit around the trackpad and the bottom plate was obviously warped.
It developed the swelling pretty quickly - about a week.

I dropped it off at Apple on Monday and they quoted $200 for repair.
I haven't heard anything else from them yet.
I'm fairly disappointed that I'm expected to pay for such a dramatic failure when there is a repair program on the 13" versions for the same problem.

I had Apple Care on it but of course it has expired about four months ago.
This is my second experience in a row with failing Apple laptops.
I had a 2011 17" MBP that went through 4 cycles of GPU replacement before Apple gave up on trying to repair it.


Follow-up edit:
Apple attempted to repair it in-store and managed to mess up the keyboard in the process so it ended up going to a repair depot. Some of the keys weren't working at all. It ended up taking about four weeks total and not costing me anything because of the first repair fail. All my data was wiped and the OS version installed was technically the same as my original patched version but it didn't behave quite the same with weird little anomalies. I assume they'll disappear once I update to the latest OS.
 
Last edited:

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,449
2,780
Delaware
How can it be 10 cycles old if it’s 2.5 years old?
If the battery is rarely charged, and the laptop is rarely powered by battery: (from the OP)
My machine is a desktop replacement and constantly connected to power.
So, the battery would not often have charge cycles.
Probably the worst method to have an extended battery life, but it's also just an alternate use case.
 

GeordieAl

macrumors newbie
Nov 13, 2017
2
0
I also have a mid 2015, 15" MacBook Pro - purchased August 2016 - First noticed a slight wobble on my desk - which I put down to the desk not being level - but wobble has been getting worse slowly. Battery has 33 Cycles and Normal condition.

Busy trying to work out when I can take it in for a repair - it's my main work machine and being without it for any period of time is going to be a right royal pain.
 

Chocomonsters

macrumors regular
May 22, 2007
144
26
I have 2016 MBP 15 in with swollen battery also. It has been at Apple service depot for 2 weeks. Apple support blames shortage of parts. No definite ETA.
 

JDW

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2005
307
242
Japan
I purchased my mid-2015 15" MacBook Pro (top end model with dGPU) in 2016 with AppleCare. I had no hardware issues with it during my 3 years of use. Then in Aug. 2019 I saw all the news about the battery recall, so naturally I visited Apple's website and typed in my Serial No. which said my machine was NOT covered in the recall. Since my AppleCare had just expired in July '19, and therefore with nothing to lose, I decided to open my bottom lid to repaste the CPU and GPU (after seeing videos on the subject) and to clean out dust. To my surprise, I found my battery swollen. I was very surprised because my computer reported a 92% battery health and only 183 charge cycles over the 3 years of use (which is a very low cycle count).

When I telephoned Apple about my swollen battery, I asked if my leaving the MBP plugged into the official Apple power adapter most of the time could have led to a swollen battery. They told me, "No." They then told me, "it would be an inherent defect in the battery itself that would have led to it becoming swollen." Naturally I was not pleased with myself for waiting so long to open the bottom case and check. Had I done so during my AppleCare coverage (assuming the problem existed then), I could likely have avoided paying $200 to Apple for the replacement. But such also indicates that Apple's battery recall program is perhaps a bit limited in that it only covers a small number of 2015 15" models, whereas my case indicates there could be many more inherent battery defects which fall outside the coverage of the program.

I made a 4k video about this topic today, showing my before and after battery condition:

 

jimmyco2008

macrumors regular
Jan 8, 2014
188
7
I purchased my mid-2015 15" MacBook Pro (top end model with dGPU) in 2016 with AppleCare. I had no hardware issues with it during my 3 years of use. Then in Aug. 2019 I saw all the news about the battery recall, so naturally I visited Apple's website and typed in my Serial No. which said my machine was NOT covered in the recall. Since my AppleCare had just expired in July '19, and therefore with nothing to lose, I decided to open my bottom lid to repaste the CPU and GPU (after seeing videos on the subject) and to clean out dust. To my surprise, I found my battery swollen. I was very surprised because my computer reported a 92% battery health and only 183 charge cycles over the 3 years of use (which is a very low cycle count).

When I telephoned Apple about my swollen battery, I asked if my leaving the MBP plugged into the official Apple power adapter most of the time could have led to a swollen battery. They told me, "No." They then told me, "it would be an inherent defect in the battery itself that would have led to it becoming swollen." Naturally I was not pleased with myself for waiting so long to open the bottom case and check. Had I done so during my AppleCare coverage (assuming the problem existed then), I could likely have avoided paying $200 to Apple for the replacement. But such also indicates that Apple's battery recall program is perhaps a bit limited in that it only covers a small number of 2015 15" models, whereas my case indicates there could be many more inherent battery defects which fall outside the coverage of the program.

I made a 4k video about this topic today, showing my before and after battery condition:

Apple wanted to charge you $200 for a battery replacement when the voluntary recall program was in effect? That's kind of ********.
 

JDW

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2005
307
242
Japan
His machine isn’t part of the recall.
Yes, and convenient for Apple. I have little doubt that many other 2015 machines are also not covered under that recall program even though they should be. And I wrote an email to Tim Cook to let him know that.
 

JDW

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2005
307
242
Japan
How to get rid of swollen battey. $0.
8 min Youtube guide.
This Macworld article explains why you should NOT puncture the battery, even with a tiny needle.

The stinky smell contains rather toxic fumes that are most certainly not good for the human body.

The reason the batteries are sealed is because the internal design will react when it comes in contact with air. Since you punctured your batteries, that reaction will more rapid degrade the battery internals.

The swelling basically tells you the battery is EOL and needs to be replaced.
 
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