MBPR13 wobbles on flat surface

mobidutch

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 23, 2012
77
18
Texas
I have a late 2012 MacBook Pro Retina 13 that is still working great for me, but for the past year or so I noticed that when I type on its keyboard with the laptop sitting on a flat surface (tried many surfaces), it has a slight wobble. It wobbles to the front two corners when I push down on those corners, not the back. This suggesting that either:
a) the case bottom is bulging out a little towards the middle front or
b) the rubber pads have worn to a point that they don't lift the laptop off the surface enough

The rubber pads do show a slight flattening, but it seems so minor that it's hard to believe this would cause the wobble. Does anyone else have this problem?
 

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,102
2,095
Oregon
This suggesting that either:
a) the case bottom is bulging out a little towards the middle front or
b) the rubber pads have worn to a point that they don't lift the laptop off the surface enough
You should be able to sight along the front edge of the laptop to see if it is bent, or use a straight edge to see if the bottom case is bulging. It is entirely possible that the battery is expanding and that may be causing your problems.

The rubber pads do show a slight flattening, but it seems so minor that it's hard to believe this would cause the wobble. Does anyone else have this problem?
I've never had this issue on my mid 2009 MBP, my parents mid 2012 MBP or my early 2015 rMBP.
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
478
It unfortunately could mean that your battery is beginning to bulge. The area you are describing contains the battery on that model.
 
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mobidutch

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 23, 2012
77
18
Texas
Thanks for the replies. Great. That'll cost a pretty penny I'm sure.

My battery life is still sufficient for my needs. If the battery is bulging, does that mean it could e.g. develop a leak and ruin the internals? Or is it safe to just keep going until the bulge irritates me too much?
 

soupcan

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2014
725
2,926
Netherlands
Bulging batteries should be disconnected and replaced ASAP. It can create leaks, or even explode once the internals of the battery comes in contact with warm air radiated off the bottom of your Mac due to the CPU radiating a lot of heat away to it.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,748
2,628
East of Eden
It unfortunately could mean that your battery is beginning to bulge. The area you are describing contains the battery on that model.
If I had to bet cash without knowing more or seeing pictures, I'd go for Dark Void's theory in a heartbeat. You should consider getting Apple to diagnose this, because a bulging battery could have a sudden and very unpleasant fire. Lithium batteries can cause a lot of damage and/or injury if things go really wrong.
 
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newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,748
2,628
East of Eden
Thanks for the replies. Great. That'll cost a pretty penny I'm sure.

My battery life is still sufficient for my needs. If the battery is bulging, does that mean it could e.g. develop a leak and ruin the internals? Or is it safe to just keep going until the bulge irritates me too much?
It could leak, yes. It could also explode and/or ignite. You don't want to mess around with a failing lithium battery...
 

JD92

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2005
934
31
I've had this issue on a 15" Retina MacBook Pro before. The solution was as simple as removing the bottom panel and reseating it. I'd recommend you take it to the Apple Store, or order a pentalobe screwdriver online to do it yourself, before you start getting worried about leaking batteries!
 

mobidutch

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 23, 2012
77
18
Texas
Thanks for the advice. I will be taking it to the genius bar this weekend to get the battery replaced...and possibly to get the bottom shell replaced as well.
 

mobidutch

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 23, 2012
77
18
Texas
Took it in to an Apple Store. Genius bar employee took it in the back to open it up and confirmed that the battery was starting to bulge, which also caused the bend in the bottom shell. He then proceeded to tell me that this bulging behavior "was by design" at battery end-of-life. Funny guy. If it was 'designed to bulge', there would be many more customers complaining about bulging cases, and possibly many exploding batteries.

Anyway, he quoted me $380 to replace in store, or $280 to have it done by a repair depot. Gulp. Since my battery only had a few hundred charge cycles on the clock and nowhere near EOL, I told him I felt that this battery behavior was a real safety hazard, and I would like to see Apple own up to rectifying that.

He offered to talk to the 'head-genius' about it, so I said sure, please do. Took him about 35 minutes, but he finally came out with the super-duper genius, who told me Apple will repair the damage at no cost to me. They will replace the battery (with shell case attached to it) plus the bottom shell. Not sure why the change of heart... perhaps they looked up my account and noticed the many, many dollars I have spent on Apple products over the years. But either way...I'm happy they stepped up! Now waiting for the repair to be done.
 

mobidutch

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 23, 2012
77
18
Texas
Just looked at the repair quote they emailed me, and it actually would have totaled to $478. Whoa. Top case (that holds keyboard and battery) is $349. Bottom shell is $90, labor $39. Thank goodness for customer service!
 
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