The battery is often the first part to really fail in older MacBooks. If this is happening to you, you’ll be glad to hear that you might just be able to replace it yourself.
A Note on Warranties
If you’ve got an old Mac where the battery isn’t holding a charge because of age, it most likely won’t be covered by warranty. That’s because the warranty period has expired, and because wear and tear isn’t covered by the warranty, anyway.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a Mac that’s only a few years old that isn’t holding a charge or won’t charge at all, then there’s a chance the battery is defective and Apple will repair it for free. And if you bought your MacBook in the EU, that warranty period could last as long as six years. It’s worth checking, since replacing the battery can be a pretty big job.
A Note on Safety
Lithium-ion batteries—like the one inside your MacBook—can literally explode. This is something you really need to bear in mind when you’re considering a repair job like replacing the battery.
You should always make sure the battery is fully drained before removing it. You also need to consider how you’re going to dispose of it. You can’t just throw it away. Instead, you’ll need to take it to a tech recycling center or hazardous waste drop off, where they will have the necessary set up to dispose of batteries safely.
If all this sounds a bit much for you, then it’s probably a bad idea for you to replace your own battery. You might not even save that much money doing it yourself over letting the pros do it. Still, you can replace the battery on a number of MacBooks if that’s the route you choose.
On Which MacBooks Can You Replace the Battery?
How hard it is to replace the battery depends on the model of MacBook you have. Some models, like the 2009 MacBook Pro 15”, actually had removable batteries, while newer models, like the 2015 MacBook Pro 15” with Retina Display instead have batteries that are glued in. You actually need to use a solvent to remove those.
You can currently replace the battery yourself on the following MacBooks:
- MacBook Pro 13” (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 13” with Retina Display (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 13” with Function Keys (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 15” (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 15” with Retina Display (All Models)
- MacBook Pro 17” (All Models)
- MacBook Air 11” (All Models)
- MacBook Air 13” (All Models)
- MacBook Unibody (All Models)
You unfortunately can’t replace the battery so easily on the following models:
- MacBook Pro 13” with Touch Bar (All Models).
- MacBook Pro 15” with Touch Bar (All Models).
- Retina MacBook (All Models).
How to Replace the Battery in Your Mac
If your MacBook is one of the really early models that has a user removable battery, replacing it is just a matter of popping the old one out and replacing it with the new battery. However, if you have a model without a removable battery, you’ll need to open up your MacBook’s case. And for that, you’ll need a guide.
It’s a bit beyond the scope of our sight to provide such a guide for every MacBook, but fortunately our friends over at iFixit have you covered. Head to iFixit and find the guides for your MacBook model. They have a battery replacement guide for every MacBook listed above. Their guides also tell you how hard the replacement is going to be, so you can decide whether you want to go ahead or just get Apple to do it.
They also sell kits that come with a new battery and all the tools you need to perform the job.
Once you’ve installed the new battery, you’ll need to calibrate it. Allow the new battery to drain, then charge it to 100% before letting it drain until the MacBook shuts down. Now you can charge it up and use it again as normal.