Are You Affected By Apple's MacBook Pro Battery Recall?
If you've ever owned a MacBook laptop that soon lost touch functionality in the trackpad, you may be surprised to learn the cause of that issue. Read on to find out how Apple introduced a new laptop design to make it harder for third-party repairs and why that's coming back to bite them as a new recall for their popular laptops has been issued.
MacBook Pro owners who have noticed an issue with their trackpads have realized that battery swelling is the source of the problem. These owners have reported that the trackpad starts feeling like you can only click when applying pressure at the right angle. As the battery bulge grows, soon the trackpad loses all functionality.
Early MacBook laptops could be opened to replace a failing battery, but the company's new unibody laptop design that hit the shelves in 2010 has made repairing these devices almost impossible for the end user. The result is an uptick in sales for AppleCare since most consumers don't want to rely on a third-party merchant for repairs.
The company has announced that a "limited number" of MacBook Pro laptops that don't feature the Touch Bar may have a defect in the battery that causes it to expand. The affected manufacture dates for these devices is between October 2016 and October 2017. The company says it will offer these users replacement batteries free of charge and service time is between three to five days.
Apple has created a page where you can check your device's serial number against their database to see if your device is affected. If you do have a device that is under recall, you can find an authorized repair center to have your battery replaced free of charge, or you can mail your laptop to the company to have it repaired.
All of these are great measures for those who are affected by this limited recall, but there are also plenty of MacBook owners who are experiencing this problem with older devices that aren't a part of this specific issue.
So why do these batteries expand this way? It's an issue with the type of battery that is featured in nearly all electronics today. Our smartphones, laptops, and smartwatches are all equipped with lithium-ion batteries, which wear down over time with repeated charging and discharging.
Overcharging is often the most common cause of this battery expansion, but there are a few other factors that can accelerate the process. According to an MIT professor, the lithium builds up on the anode faster than it can dissipate, which causes the cathode to become unstable. This instability can produce gases, which causes the battery expansion. Heat and age are the two most common factors for lithium-ion battery expansion, which is why you see these issues mostly on older laptops that have gone through many charging cycles.
The company says it expects the consumer to get around 1,000 cycles with their laptop battery before it needs servicing, and these laptops manufactured over this specific time period aren't holding up to that standard.
Right to Repair
It's great that the company is taking the proper steps to get those with affected laptops service, but it wouldn't be an issue if they created products that were repairable by anyone with the knowledge to do so. This movement is called a consumer's Right to Repair, and it's been a hotly debated subject in Congressional halls across the United States.
Lobbyists from companies like Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, and Toyota have categorically opposed a consumer's right to repair their own devices by stating it presents a security risk for their clients. However, large tech companies have been observed doing things like issuing software updates that slow down older devices.
This sort of behavior is called planned obsolescence, and it's a lot like a car dealership slashing new tires and telling you they're unreliable because you didn't buy them from a dealership. Right to Repair advocates are fighting against this sort of behavior, arguing that repair parts and tools should be available to the general public.
These issues are currently decided at the state level in places like New York and California, which is the latest state in a list of 18 states with Right to Repair acts being considered in government legislation.
If your laptop's serial number is not within the date range on the company's website, but you're still experiencing battery expansion issues, then you'll have to pay the $199 out-of-warranty repair price. That's unfair and wouldn't be an issue if these laptops were more easily repairable at home as they used to be before this unibody design became popular.
If you have a laptop that is experiencing these issues and you're tired of putting up with it, you can trade it to Gadget Traders and get some cold, hard cash towards a new device without these issues. While laptop trade-ins are not on the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a direct quote.
The process is very straightforward. You need to state the condition and the specifications of your device accurately in your email, and you'll receive a pre-paid USPS mailing label to send it in. Once your device passes the inspection process, you'll receive payment in your bank account in as little as three days.