Ever Expanding MacBook Battery

A MacBook user’s worst nightmare is to have something go wrong with their laptop. Something as slight as a bad battery can leave you either frustrated with trying to obtain a replacement or angered that you are no longer under warranty.  But if you’ve been a lucky winner of an expanding Macbook battery, that probably describes you. Finding out what you can do maintain and troubleshoot potential problems will hopeful protect you from a MacBook battery failure – and the frustration that comes with this battery problem.

I would not have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me. I was working on my MacBook one night when I notice that it was getting increasingly hotter in around the battery compartment. When shutting it down I noticed that the battery was no longer flush with the bottom of the laptop and when removing it found that it had clearly expanded.

I called Apple the next day and was told that this, although not common, it was something not covered outside of the warranty and only under AppleCare. Unfortunately I was no longer covered under the warranty, didn’t have AppleCare, and was forced to purchase a new MacBook battery or loose the mobility of my laptop. As I searched for answers regarding what had happened I found that quite a few other Macbook owners were reporting similar issues.

The various outcomes included straight replacements from Apple, damage to the inside of their MacBooks,  or what happened to me – having to buy a new MacBook battery. One user claimed that he didn’t notice that the battery was expanding until his trackpad stopped responding. After flipping it over he found that the battery expanded so far that the keyboard and trackpad connections were severely damaged, rendering the laptop useless.

Some users, like myself, were unable to get Apple to replace the batteries due to expired warranties. This doesn’t really help if you’ve discovered your expanding battery,  but might mean you should seriously consider shelling out the extra moola and buying AppleCare with its three-year replacement plan when you purchase your next Mac.

To help you check on the condition of your battery, do a physical check every once in awhile. Remove the battery from your laptop and check it for any signs of warping. If your charge is not holding or the battery is not charging at all, make sure you have the current version of the MacBook Pro Battery Update installed. This alone might fix these issues or give you some indication that something is wrong.

To see which version you are running, go to the SystemConfigurations folder in the file://Volume/System/Library and you should find a file named the BatteryUpdater.bundle. Select Get Info from the File Menu at the top to check the version. If the version information is 1.2 or 1.3 you are up-to-date. If not, or if the Updater is missing, then you will need to download the update from Apple’s website and install it.

Another technique to try is conditioning or calibrating your battery for optimum performance. The batteries found in a MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and even older iBook and PowerBook laptops are lithium ions. These batteries contain an internal microprocessor that provide an estimation for the amount of energy the battery has left as it charges and discharges. It is always good to recalibrate your MacBook battery from time to time to keep the onscreen battery indicator in the upper right accurate. It is also a good practice to do this with a new laptop as well.

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