MacBook Pro destroyed by exploding battery


The machine was hot enough to melt its owner's fingers.
Photo: Daniel Dourvaris

iPhone fanboys will have you believe that exploding batteries are exclusive to Samsung Galaxy smartphones, but that’s not true.

Even Apple devices go bang from time to time — like this 2015 Retina MacBook Pro, which was completely destroyed when its battery catastrophically failed and caught fire.

Although it’s a rare occurrence (unless you buy a Galaxy Note 7), it’s possible for the lithium batteries used in portable electronics to burst into flames if they become faulty. This often destroys the device they were contained in, and sometimes injures the user, too.

Daniel Dourvaris discovered this while browsing the web in bed on a Retina MacBook Pro that was running off battery power alone.

“One afternoon as I was lying on my bed browsing the internet, my MacBook Pro suddenly turned off,” he describes. “I turned it back on and within a few seconds there was weird hissing sound, followed by white smoke and thin flames coming out of from the back.”

Dourvaris quickly took the machine into his bathroom where he could place it down on ceramic tiles. Smoke continued to pour out of the machine as he backed away from it. He then heard a bang as the battery exploded and the MacBook’s bottom panel was pushed away from the body.

MacBook Pro exploded
The machine was completely destroyed by the explosion.
Photo: Daniel Dourvaris

“It kept sizzling for a few minutes and then finally it stopped,” Dourvaris adds. “The house had filled up with smoke everywhere, the acidic stench of melted plastic made my eyes water.”

It took almost an hour for the MacBook to cool down, Dourvaris said. The amount of heat it generated “was insane,” and caused blisters on Dourvaris’ fingers as he carried the machine from his bedroom into the bathroom.

“All I have to say is that I was lucky that I was around when the laptop caught fire.”

This isn’t the first Apple device destroyed by an exploding battery, and it won’t be the last. Fortunately, incidents like this are extremely rare, so there’s no need to worry about your gadgets catching fire.

We’re trying to find out how Apple has responded to this, and we’ll update this post once we have answers.

  • Jackevia Phillipino

    We all know that no matter how much you spend on a device, if it has a LiPo or Lithium Iron battery, it will explode at some point. Even £100,000 Tesla electric cars occasionally burst into flames whilst charging. We need to start mass producing LiFePo4 batteries in devices to bring down the costs of the newer, safer, higher density technology.

    • Absolutely agree.

    • frank

      No, it will not “explode at some point”. Fail, sure. Explode? Easy on the drama…

  • bradmacpro

    Also he was using it in bed, probably blocking the vents, so it overheated.

  • frank

    portables shouldnt be left on a bed (or other soft surface) that does not provide adequate ventilation, especially when being charged. simple as that.

  • WyzrdX

    For every battery sold and used, there is a risk of explosion. The chemicals that make up batteries, regardless of type, are explosive and dangerous. It is how we have batteries at all. without the chemical reaction, there is no power. From cell phones to cars, batteries are needed. Power is not something that is just there.

    That said low quality batteries have a higher chance at exploding. A few years ago before Wal-Mart changed the types of batteries they sold, you could get a car battery for ~$30. Now days they are $70+. The cheap ones were just that, cheap. Cheaply made and therefore more prone to meltdowns and explosion.

    Same concept with Samsung Note 7. Samsung has been hemorrhaging money the last few years and they needed a phone that would generate massive revenue yet was cheaper to produce. Batteries are expensive in cell phones and Samsung chose to use the cheaper battery to maximize profits of the Note 7. They are different batteries than what were used in the other current Samsung devices. And we all saw how that played out.

    Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all providing devices at a similar price to competitors, and some even higher, with higher quality parts because they want customers to return. That said, they can all have and have had issues with batteries exploding or catching fire. That is because of the inherent nature of the volatility of the batteries in themselves.

    Now people are going to point out every battery issue with an Apple device just as they would a Microsoft or Google device, because it is not often that it gets mentioned. Samsung has had issues in the past and not one would think twice about the issue happening in the future. Except to say oh another Samsung battery burns.

    While I understand the owners frustration, the media needs to do a bit better reporting on the issues and not try to blow things out of proportion. And also please hire some competent editors. I am so tired of seeing the sites rushing to publish before checking grammar and spelling. Are we now letting 5th graders publish stories on CoM, iMore, 9to5, etc. :sadface: