MacBook Pro Battery Exchange

    November 20, 2006

I think I was actually vaguely aware of the 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Exchange Program, but *I* wasn’t having any battery problems so I never looked into it.

I should have, and if you own an affected model, you should get your battery exchanged.

You may not be having problems (I saw no problems until this week) but chances are that you will. Interestingly, Apple doesn’t say that you actually will have problems, just that “We recently discovered that some 15-inch MacBook Pro batteries supplied to Apple do not meet our high standards for battery performance”. Well, that’s pretty vague, but here’s what I actually experienced:

I don’t often use my machine disconnected from power. I have calibrated it a few times, and never saw any problem during that. I fell out of the habit of discharging it slightly at night as I was doing originally.

Once every few weeks I bring the computer when I visit my mother at her nursing home; I use it to show her pictures of family and friends.

Three weeks ago I noticed something strange: the battery didn’t last quite long enough to show all the pictures. I thought that was unusual, but it was an unusually large batch of photos, and the battery had not been fully discharged for a while, so.. I thought it was normal.

But then this weekend I had another batch of pictures to show. I thought to bring my power adaptor just in case, and sure enough, the computer shut off part way through the pictures. I noted the time: it was only a few minutes. I plugged it in and finished showing the pictures.

The battery charge went back up to 100%, but now I was suspicious: I unplugged it again, and it shutoff within two minutes. Obviously something wrong..

Back home last night I let it charge up again. I noticed this time the charge won’t go beyond 98% and if I unplug it, it fails very quickly.

Apparently this is what Apple is concerned about.. so I found my serial number, checked it with their site, and yup, this is one of the “bad” ones. Check yours before you have a problem.

*Originally published at

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A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services