Important follow-up: "MacBook Pro battery fried" recognized as common issue, selective battery replacement offered

I've been contacted by Apple about the battery life issue to which I referred in the preceding entry entitled "MacBook Pro battery fried..." The vendor raised concerns that I had made Apple out to be unconcerned about, or unaware of the problem.

I didn't realize that the MacBook Pro battery problems that I was experiencing affected other users. As I mentioned in the preceding post, I had downloaded and installed Battery Update 1.2 from Apple to no avail. Apple has taken the far more aggressive of instituting a battery replacement program for owners of MacBook and MacBook Pro machines and extra battery packs purchased between 2/06 and 4/07 who are not helped by the Battery Update.

Apple is not recalling notebook batteries! Apple hasn't encountered any safety issues, although one of the symptoms justifying a battery exchange is "battery pack is visibly deformed." That's just good advice that's part of every manual for devices that use batteries. If you see a warp, bump or crack in any battery, whether it's in a notebook computer or an RC race car, stop using it immediately, give it a long time to cool in a place away from anything that's flammable or living, and then take the battery straight for replacement or recycling. People who use electronics can't be reminded of that often enough. But once again, to be clear, there is no known safety issue with the batteries that Apple is offering to replace.

Here's an excerpt from Apple's support page on the subject:

If, after you have installed the battery update, your battery has any of the symptoms listed below, please make a reservation to bring your computer with its battery to your local Apple Retail Store, or contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP), or call your local Apple Support Contact Center. If Apple or an AASP determines that your battery is eligible for replacement, you will receive a new battery, free of charge, even if your MacBook or MacBook Pro is out of warranty.

  • Battery is not recognized causing an “X” to appear in the battery icon in the Finder menu bar.
  • Battery will not charge when computer is plugged into AC power.
  • Battery exhibits low charge capacity/runtime when using a fully charged battery with a battery cycle count (as shown in System Profiler) of less than 300.
  • Battery pack is visibly deformed.

Note: If your MacBook or MacBook Pro battery does not have any of the symptoms noted above, your battery does not need to be replaced.

For MacBook and MacBook Pro systems with Intel Core Duo processors, this program extends repair coverage on the battery for up to two years from the date of purchase of the computer.

I know that it wouldn't occur to any of my readers to take inappropriate advantage of Apple's diligence. I'd consider it a personal favor if you'd lend your conviction to any who might take an opportunist's view of this program.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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