Apple battery issues

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pirx, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. pirx, Aug 11, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017

    pirx macrumors newbie

    pirx

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2017
    Location:
    Shanghai
    #1
    During the past few months first my iPhone 5 battery bulged and the bulging smashed the screen, thereafter an iPod did the same and now my MacBook Pro 15 is bulging, too.

    Among the numerous threads about Apple batteries in this forum there was one post that said every consumer should know that this inevitably happens.

    I beg to differ. During the past 25 years no device or laptop I owned has ever had this issue. That includes the 2009 ThinkPad that I use to post here.

    Airlines restrict lithium-ion batteries for a reason, see Sony and Samsung. A while ago there was even a story in the Chinese press of an iPhone 6 fiery explosion.

    I really do not care about the US$ 120 or so that it takes to mend also the latest bulging Apple battery, but in view of the accumulation of incidents in my home I wonder if it is safe to continue having battery-powered Apple devices in my household.

    Has anyone on this forum had an Apple device going up in flames as a result of battery failure?
     
  2. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #2
    I have had many apple devices and other devices with Lithium Ion batteries since they came out and have had zero issues.

    The 787 dreamliner is full of the things.

    Most of the time when they swell or catch fire, etc. it is due to physical damage.

    I would however suggest repair or replacement as soon as you notice anything "not right" with any of your devices, rather than just assuming nothing will happen and still using it despite swelling, etc. Swelling could potentially cause the insides to be crushed together causing a short and then fire...
     
  3. William Payne macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 10, 2017
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    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    #3
    I had the battery in my iPhone 5 bulge. I had it replaced and been fine ever since. It was old and well used. Not the biggest deal. If you notice bulging its a sign that "Hey I need replacing". Also the iPhone 5 battery is not a solid plastic housing battery, its in like a soft pouch like thing which balloons.
     
  4. pirx thread starter macrumors newbie

    pirx

    Joined:
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    #4
    Me too, that is why I am getting concerned when the Apple devices suddenly one after another show the same defect. There had been no physical damage to any of them.

    I don't think this is a trivial issue. Samsung had to recall a complete phone series because of defective batteries.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 11, 2017 ---
    Yes, iPhone 5 and iPod may have the same batteries, I would not know. However, the third device is a MacBook Pro, which most certainly uses a different battery.

    I am tempted to think there may be a fault in the chemical composition of the batteries in all three devices.
     
  5. William Payne macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I wasn't implying the batteries are the same, just that when they get old the non user replaceable lithium batteries do bulge. How and why I really couldn't say. I just put it down to them being old.
     
  6. pirx thread starter macrumors newbie

    pirx

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    #6
    This to me raises the question, since I had no bulging batteries in 25 years, i.e. age of battery apparently was never an issue, why do three Apple device batteries bulge now?
     
  7. William Payne macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 10, 2017
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    Wanganui, New Zealand.
    #7
    Were the batteries you used in the past removable? In big plastic housings? Using the iPhone 5 battery for example it is big battery compared to the iPhone 5 itself. It also is in a soft plasticy fabric like pouch which as it starts to fail balloons up and pushes against everything else causing a bulge.

    I think maybe it is more a lack of space thing with modern tech. No room to allow for a ballooning battery.
     
  8. Trubbles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    #8
    You're just extremely unlucky. The issues you listed all happened to YOU? The odds are way against that.
     
  9. pirx thread starter macrumors newbie

    pirx

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    #9
    These were equally tight Nokia and SonyEricsson phones, Samsung and ThinkPad Laptops (the battery is clip-on) and somewhat more "roomy" Blackberrys. The iPhone and iPod batteries were solid plastics. I once changed the battery in a MacBook Air (because it did not charge anymore) myself, solid plastic.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 12, 2017 ---
    Yes, all my devices. Unlucky or workmanship beyond 2013?
    --- Post Merged, Aug 12, 2017 ---
    Here the inflated MacBook battery. They are fixed with double-sided tape to the top of the housing, rather tedious work to cleanly remove. Don't try this at home. All of the "bags" were inflated, gassy. IMG_1938.jpg IMG_1939.jpg IMG_1940.jpg IMG_1941.jpg IMG_1941.jpg .
     
  10. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

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    Sweden
    #10
    Most exploding phone issues is caused by cheap third party chargers.
     
  11. pirx thread starter macrumors newbie

    pirx

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    #11
    The new battery and the new battery fit with the old battery for comparison: IMG_1947.jpg IMG_1948.jpg
     
  12. William Payne macrumors 6502a

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    #12
  13. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Perth, Western Australia
    #13
    There is a failure rate and manufacturing defect rate in everything we make.

    Perhaps this is why?

    Batteries have swelled, caught fire or exploded in some things for at least 10-15 years.

    The difference now is that the internet and mass media are a lot more interested in reporting it.
     
  14. pirx thread starter macrumors newbie

    pirx

    Joined:
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    #14
    Thanks, yes, from a consumer point of view: One is soft, the other one hard. According to your Wikipedia link, both can lead to QUOTE including the pouch rupturing, the electrolyte leaking, and fire UNQUOTE
    --- Post Merged, Aug 12, 2017 ---
    I don't buy this. Depending on where you live, the internet has been around for just a tiny bit longer than 10-15 years. So have lithium-ion batteries, which in my home haven't "swelled, caught fire or exploded" in 25 years.

    Apple prides itself of a high quality brand, who may charge premium prices. It is the base of its success. Therefore, even if having entered mass production, Apple should not allow low quality parts to harm that image.
     
  15. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #15
    I am far from being an expert on batteries, but, in my personal opinion, I am firmly convinced that Apple incorporates a commendable margin of safety into their LiCo batteries in regards to the ability of the safety mechanisms to prevent a catastrophic failure (for that matter, many other reputable Makers do as well, most of the time.) I have checked in quite a few MBPs with batteries that have pillowed - not a single one of them had catastrophic failure, and in some cases the owners (unwisely) used them for extended periods despite an obvious problem (such as the bottom case being ballooned outward, and the trackpad being forced up - some cases severely enough to destroy the system.) Obviously, no safety mechanism has 100% success and I am sure there are isolated incidents of Apple batteries suffering catastrophic failure - some due to bad QC, some due to age-related failure of a safety mechanism(s), and some due to bad decisions on the User's behalf.

    It sounds like you had very bad luck in terms of timing. It's not that unusual for cell phone batteries to pillow - the limited spacing in such a device often results in choice of a battery that uses a less rigid containment lining combined with chemistries that provide the best energy densities (at the expense of being least stable, especially towards heat), and the conditions that cell phones are used in are often conditions far from the ideal conditions for lithium cells. Unfortunately, when the battery does pillow, it tends to cause damage (or total destruction) to the device. However, this is more desirable than what could happen if the outer containment layer were unable to contain the release of gas.
     
  16. pirx thread starter macrumors newbie

    pirx

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    Aug 10, 2017
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    Shanghai
    #16
    It is true that the battery polymer bags themselves still seemed to have flexibility to inflate more without bursting, had it not been for the physical constraint of space inside the MacBook.

    I have had batteries die battery death, i.e. not charging anymore, but before 2017 I never had ballooning batteries.

    Frankly, when my MacBook trackpad became inoperable, the very last thing I would have suspected would have been a failing battery. The battery sensors showed health rate 90%. My previous experience of changing a battery was a hard-case battery of a MacBook Air. I wouldn't have known that this MacBook Pro had a battery of flexible plastic bags.

    Only when googling the issue of the trackpad and finding a relevant thread on macrumors.com I became aware, that it must be from an inflated battery, a tip for which I am very grateful.

    One is getting warned not to pour take-out coffee over one's genitals, but there is no label warning that an inoperative trackpad may point at a dangerously inflated battery.

    There are umpteen sensors in the MacBook, why is there none warning of battery inflation?

    There is no need for Apple to warn of anything and everything that may befall its devices, burnt out RAM, failed logic board or HD failure, but symptoms of potential hazard from failing batteries should be on page 1 of the user manual.
     
  17. Frankfurt macrumors regular

    Frankfurt

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    #17
    I have used my Late 2008 MacBook probably over a year with a swollen battery without noticing it as the laptop was mostly stationary and I did not realize the casing did not close probably on the back.
    My Trackpad stopped working due to the pressure and it took me about a year to realize that this was caused by the battery. Once I discovered the cause I immediately changed the battery and no harm was done.
    Still cannot believe I did not recognize what happened earlier...
     

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