Should Apple notify customers that Macbook batteries it will get swollen when constantly charged?

flowave

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 17, 2014
70
31
I just found out that my Late 2013 Macbook Pro 15" had a hard to press track pad and battery bulging on keyboard and bottom. The stat shows Normal and 330 cycle counts.

So, I went to Apple store to get the battery repaired.

The genius told me that the battery swelling happens with ALL devices with Li-ion batteries that is constantly charged. Yes, I do use it as a desktop mode with cooling pad at the bottom. I do cycle once a month. He said overcharging is the cause of the battery swell.

Well, I disagreed that it does not happen with all Lithium Ion devices. Then we would see quite more often.
He just told me to read the apple.com/batteries.

I asked him how to prevent such incident, and he just told me to go to apple.com/batteries. So I have no idea what is the cause of the swelling and how to prevent it.

So here I am home, reading apple.com/batteries. There is nothing written about preventing swollen batteries.

I think apple needs to inform customers of possible swelling of battery when a Macbook gets charged constantly. In addition, overcharging protection of Macbook could implemented for users charging longer period time.

On side note, do you guys know any app that cycles Macbook batteries while plugged in?
 

flowave

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 17, 2014
70
31
What's your opinion on paying for the replacement battery? Do I need to pay the $249 CAD battery replacement fee or not? The Genius is basically telling me "You are charging it wrong!" and he had no idea how to charge correctly.
 

unglued

macrumors 6502
Feb 20, 2016
257
94
I have a Late 2013 Macbook Pro 13” and changed the battery myself. I remembered it being very swollen and a bit difficult to remove but mostly trying to remove it from the double-back tape/glue. I don’t know if it’s a safety risk but good to be aware of it.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,265
4,207
Highlands Ranch, CO
What's your opinion on paying for the replacement battery? Do I need to pay the $249 CAD battery replacement fee or not? The Genius is basically telling me "You are charging it wrong!" and he had no idea how to charge correctly.
With the machine being MY 2013, you are outside the warranty period, regardless of what the cause for the battery swelling. My guess is that you are unfortunately going to have to play for a battery replacement.


Edit: Just Realized it was a 2013. You will likely be on the hook for replacement cost, regardless of cause.
 

flowave

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 17, 2014
70
31
With the machine being MY 2013, does your battery fall under this battery replacement program?


https://www.apple.com/support/13inch-macbookpro-battery-replacement/

If not, you are outside the warranty period, regardless of what the cause for the battery swelling. My guess is that you are unfortunately going to have to play for a battery replacement unless it falls outside the replacement program.
No, it does not fall under battery replacement program, though I believe Apple should cover swelling batteries for their own good.
Yes, it is out of the warranty period. Genius is charging for the new battery.

I do not mind changing the battery, but if this could be prevented I should have been notified.
If it is defective, Apple should give discount or free replacement.

Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 3.29.53 PM.jpg
 

vemac575

macrumors regular
Feb 18, 2018
150
55
^^^serious question, how does it get that bad before noticing/doing anything about it?
Never had this issue. My wifes is a desktop macbook too. This has happened in the 2007 macbook with a chinese battery though. Sometimes things malfunction. That's the bature of this world. Apple should not have to tell anyone about anything because till this day, I've never known a person with a bettery bulge issue. It's definitley not a common problem worth making a statement about.

Sucks, but just replace the battery and if it happens again, there is likely an issue outside of the battery, itself.
 
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flowave

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 17, 2014
70
31
^^^serious question, how does it get that bad before noticing/doing anything about it?
I put it behind my monitor, so I really do not know when it started. It's really hard to tell. One year back, I remember the keyboard marks on the screen. That might be the first sign. You really don't notice it until trackpad stops working and Macbook gets wobbly.

I did not realize until I tried to format it and give it to my family member.

I was very lucky to actually to take it out to inspect it. Otherwise, it could have been just growing and growing behind my monitor.

It could be charging regulator failing. Yes, there are many things that could attribute to this.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,550
1,819
I’m surprised that so few people are aware of this issue to be honest. To me it seems like a given if you retain your Li Ion or Li Poly batteries long enough.

Not sure if you folks are aware by even regular old school rechargeable don’t last forever. Ni-Cad, Ni-Mh etc. Even regular carbon based and alkaline batteries are don’t last forever.

I guess the answer then is yes, they should include a document with every MacBook explaining the basics of how batteries work and how to use them since so few people know.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,265
4,207
Highlands Ranch, CO
It could be charging regulator failing. Yes, there are many things that could attribute to this.
Something like that is more likely than the leaving it charging all the time nonsense the "genius" was feeding you. Overcharging can be a contributing cause in battery swelling and if a charging regulator is failing, it could be overcharging.

But more likely it is simply the battery reaching a failure point.

Phones and other mobile devices such as the Apple Watch have also had battery swelling issues. The watch issue was causing the display to separate after the battery pushed it out. My wife had her watch battery replaced for that reason. Obviously, those devices are not being continuously plugged and constantly charged. Actually more the opposite of what the Genious was describing.
 

LogicalApex

macrumors 6502
Nov 13, 2015
494
434
Lithium Polymer battery swelling is a safety feature of the battery to keep it from exploding and is a sign of internal battery failure. That failure can be due to a wide variety of factors and not all of them are a defect in the battery itself. The battery should be replaced as quickly as possible as the internal safety has been activated and the battery could continue to degrade and be at risk of explosion.

For instance, if you store a lithium battery in a hot car in the sun every day where the interior of the car can routinely exceed 200F (and the recommended storage temperature of the MBP which is 113F max) you'll end up with battery swelling due to the battery getting too hot. This wouldn't be a manufacturing defect...

As a result, batteries are covered under warranty for 1 year or 3 years with Apple Care, but they are treated as consumables.
 
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flowave

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 17, 2014
70
31
I guess the answer then is yes, they should include a document with every MacBook explaining the basics of how batteries work and how to use them since so few people know.
The genius was not liking my questioning of how it can be prevented. He said he would not go over basics of using a Macbook as it is part of an hour course. Agree, if it can be prevented, it should be included in the manual.

Something like that is more likely than the leaving it charging all the time nonsense the "genius" was feeding you. Overcharging can be a contributing cause in battery swelling and if a charging regulator is failing, it could be overcharging.

But more likely it is simply the battery reaching a failure point.
Yes, I wish the Apple Genius was more straight honest about the issue. It is just getting old. Apple would not admit anything regarding battery swelling. Just blaming user for charging it wrong.


Lithium Polymer battery swelling is a safety feature of the battery to keep it from exploding and is a sign of internal battery failure. That failure can be due to a wide variety of factors and not all of them are a defect in the battery itself. The battery should be replaced as quickly as possible as the internal safety has been activated and the battery could continue to degrade and be at risk of explosion.

For instance, if you store a lithium battery in a hot car in the sun every day where the interior of the car can routinely exceed 200F (and the recommended storage temperature of the MBP which is 113F max) you'll end up with battery swelling due to the battery getting too hot. This wouldn't be a manufacturing defect...

As a result, batteries are covered under warranty for 1 year or 3 years with Apple Care, but they are treated as consumables.
I am just lucky to check my Macbook visually at this time. There is no warning on my rmbp. It is "normal" with 330 cycles. It is dangerously bloated to the point of bursting at any day. (two front feet are off the ground in the photo) I am surprised with that much bloating, no warning sign.

My rMBP runs around 63 degree celsius normally and up to 99 under load. And I use it a lot throughout the day. It does have high base running temperature. If it is 113F / 45° C max. for storage then, I guess the high internal temperature could have caused this.
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,963
4,550
The genius is an idiot. And these batteries can’t overcharge, they have a lot of circuitry to prevent it. If they overcharged, your laptop would be a literal bomb.

What is true is that old batteries swell sometimes. It’s fairly common. This is why one should replace the battery at lastest after 5 years. Potentially earlier, if the battery service message appears. That’s it.