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Swollen battery? macbook pro 13 early 2015. Free Apple repair?

britpoprule

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2015
52
1
Hi everyone,
A few months ago I opened my macbook pro 13 inch early 2015 to install a different SSD. I put the cover back without using the screws (the mac is inside a case so it was protected). I recently removed the case to do some cleaning and noticed that I'm not able to close the back cover. I probably could if I apply some pressure but I guess that I would damage the battery (even more). Do you think it's a clear sign of battery swelling? Maybe I've been lucky not to screw the back cover because probably the swelling (and the pressure) would have had impact on the upper case and the touch pad. But maybe I'm wrong.
I read that the problem is very common for this model and that Apple for a few years replaced the battery and the parts damaged by the swelling for free. I put my serial number and my mac doesn't seem to qualify. Do you think it's still worth to push Apple for a free repair? How long does it take for them to do the job? Obviously it's a big discomfort to be without your own laptop for a long period of time. I was considering doing the repair by myself but I'd rather try the Apple route first. I also guess that a genuine battery is still expensive.
Thank you
 

chscag

Contributor
Feb 17, 2008
3,940
1,417
Fort Worth, Texas
It won't hurt to take it to Apple and see what they say. As far as removing the battery yourself, that might not be as easy as it looks. The battery in your model is glued to the chassis.

Check the procedure at www.ifixit.com.
 
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britpoprule

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2015
52
1
Do you think that the fact that I opened the mac will automatically make them refuse? Because if I close the mac and pretend that it's never been open, they can ask how do I know that the battery has swollen, because it's not visible from the outside.
 
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robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,232
623
USA
probably too old for them to replace for free but you can try. I had to pay 199 to get my 2015 replaced after it puffed up
 
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britpoprule

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2015
52
1
probably too old for them to replace for free but you can try. I had to pay 199 to get my 2015 replaced after it puffed up
Did they tell you at the beginning that you had to pay or it was a surprise? I'd rather do it myself if I have to pay 199.
 
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robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,232
623
USA
Told me that from the start

I also got a new keyboard/top case

and I know it’s an Apple battery
 
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jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,217
3,158
SF Bay Area
Did they tell you at the beginning that you had to pay or it was a surprise? I'd rather do it myself if I have to pay 199.

You might look into what it takes to replace the battery. This is not a simple swap.

Apple will do a top case replacement for $199. This includes the battery, trackpad, keyboard, and case where your hands rest. These pieces are glued together. iFixit will charge you $110+ for the kit and it will take several hours. https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Mac/MacBook-Pro-15-Inch-Retina-Mid-2015-Battery/IF117-048?o=5

Also, Apple guarantees the work.
 
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chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
10,184
3,896
Did they tell you at the beginning that you had to pay or it was a surprise? I'd rather do it myself if I have to pay 199.
Definitely take it to Apple vs. doing it yourself with a battery of unknown quality and safety. Also, because you get a whole new top case/trackpad/keyboard from Apple, it'll feel like a new computer.
The battery recall on 2015 MacBook Pros was only on a limited range of 15" models.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,445
7,253
"I'd rather do it myself if I have to pay 199."

You're not going to get a free repair on a 2015 -- too old.

Having said that, you're not going to find a "better bargain" than the $199 battery replacement price from Apple.

You get:
- an Apple-original battery
- installation
- a short warranty

You might be able to find a 3rd-party battery for, say, $100, but chances are it won't perform close to an Apple-factory-original battery.

The others above are right.
Take it to a GENUINE brick-n-mortar Apple Store and get it done.

If you don't have an Apple Store nearby, CALL APPLE directly.
DO NOT call a "3rd-party service provider"!
Call APPLE.
They'll send you a prepaid box, and you send it to them.
 
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britpoprule

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2015
52
1
I'm based in the UK and the price for a battery coming from the same Apple manufacturer costs around £60.

I know that $199 would give me almost a brand new computer but it also depends on your personal finances.

What's the risk of a swollen battery? If I delay the replacement can the battery eventually break and damage the rest of the computer?

Thanks
 
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jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
6,217
3,158
SF Bay Area
I'm based in the UK and the price for a battery coming from the same Apple manufacturer costs around £60.

I know that $199 would give me almost a brand new computer but it also depends on your personal finances.

What's the risk of a swollen battery? If I delay the replacement can the battery eventually break and damage the rest of the computer?

Thanks

Yes, it can damage the rest of your computer.

As it continues to swell it will make the trackpad and keyboard fail, and potentially damage the mainboard. Also, the swelling is due to a build-up of hydrogen gas created as the battery packs age and deteriorate. So eventually the battery packs will fail and short out and the system can catch fire in a dramatic fashion as the hydrogen gas is ignited.
 
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ght56

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2020
471
318
I'm based in the UK and the price for a battery coming from the same Apple manufacturer costs around £60.

I know that $199 would give me almost a brand new computer but it also depends on your personal finances.

What's the risk of a swollen battery? If I delay the replacement can the battery eventually break and damage the rest of the computer?

Thanks

Yes, it can commonly cause issues with trackpad operation is it progresses (rarely in early stages), and in extreme cases it can damage other components. The bigger concern is that it is swelling as a means to contain toxic and flammable gasses and it signifies that it is time to replace. A device with a swelling battery needs service.

If you are having problems putting the case back on but there is not visible swelling (I am not clear as to this based on your first post?), it might not be a swelling battery because it is pretty visibly distinct when it happens, with creases forming around the edges in early stages and outright ballooning in later stages. Here is a picture of very early stages of swelling. At this stage, the case back still fit but required the ever so slightest amount of pressure on one side.
Screen Shot 2020-09-26 at 12.50.58 PM.png


Additionally, even if the macOS battery status is okay, a more comprehensive test is performed by Apple Diagnostics and the battery may fail this test even if macOS says operating status is normal. These failures and swelling batteries often tend to correspond.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,445
7,253
"What's the risk of a swollen battery? If I delay the replacement can the battery eventually break and damage the rest of the computer?"

Go on YouTube and search for "exploding battery" videos.
You can see what happens when a battery gets punctured, etc...
 
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chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
10,184
3,896
I'm based in the UK and the price for a battery coming from the same Apple manufacturer costs around £60.

I know that $199 would give me almost a brand new computer but it also depends on your personal finances.

What's the risk of a swollen battery? If I delay the replacement can the battery eventually break and damage the rest of the computer?

Thanks
Swollen batteries are a fire hazard and should be replaced right away. It could also cause further damage to your computer but this should not be your primary worry.
Apple does not sell their batteries to 3rd parties, so what you are seeing is absolutely not the same as an Apple battery.
 
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britpoprule

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2015
52
1
Here's the photos. You can see that the case struggles to adhere in the lower part, but the upper part seems fine.
And the battery inside, left side, and right side. I believe that the part in the middle looks fine, the parts on the sides look a bit swollen.
What's your opinion?
Thanks
 

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chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
10,184
3,896
Here's the photos. You can see that the case struggles to adhere in the lower part, but the upper part seems fine.
And the battery inside, left side, and right side. I believe that the part in the middle looks fine, the parts on the sides look a bit swollen.
What's your opinion?
Thanks
The battery is swollen and dangerous.
 
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bobnugget

macrumors 6502
Nov 15, 2006
314
111
England
In addition to damaging the trackpad (likely) and damaging the keyboard (less likely) it can also deform the top and bottom case; a colleague let his 15" inflate fully and ended up having to replace the top and bottom case - about £300 from Apple instead of £200 for a battery/top case
 
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britpoprule

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 31, 2015
52
1
I replaced the battery by myself and all went well. Only thing is that when I run the Diagnostics I get the error reference code PPT004 (which is annoying), even though I've been told that the battery I purchased is OEM.

I suppose that it's better to leave the back cover unscrewed as I did previously. What do you think? This time it saved me from having a deformed/damaged upper case, trackpads and keyboards.
 
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geokarbou

macrumors member
Oct 30, 2015
43
22
I had the same issue on my early 2015 Pro as well! It was well out of the warranty obviously and the swollen battery had bent the chasis and the whole top and bottom covers.

Took it to apple and they quoted me £199 for the battery replacement cost. The repair, top and bottom covers and the keyboard replacement were free of charge due to the battery bending them out of shape. The repairs took roughly a week IIRC.
 
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wilberforce

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2020
370
281
I have the same mpb, and just replaced the swollen battery with an Amazon special similar to this
Wasn’t too hard if you watch some youtube videos and are reasonably adept at messing around with computers and are careful. Use dental floss to separate the glued battery from the case.
After a year is still working fine. Ymmv
Edit: nevermind, I see you already replaced it yourself
 
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