Apple fixes some ancient MacBook Pros for free. Here’s why.

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MacBook Pro
If you need it done quickly, you'll have to pay up.
Photo: Apple

Component shortages are still causing problems for some Retina MacBook Pro repairs. Apple is hoping to appease customers with free battery replacements for affected 2012 and early 2013 units — but only if you’re willing to wait around a month.

Apple is having a hard time sourcing the aluminum enclosures for 15-inch MacBook Pro units released in 2012 and early 2013. And because its batteries are fixed to this enclosure, it cannot replace one without the other.

This is causing a problem for those who own one of these machines and have a faulty battery. It seems the situation has improved slightly, with faster repairs now being offered to those who pay an out-of-warranty repair fee.

But you can get the repair for free

However, if you’re willing to wait around a month, Apple will replace your battery for free.

“Apple has advised Genius Bar employees and Apple Authorized Service Providers to offer these customers a free battery repair if they are willing to wait until at least November 15 for the service to be completed,” reports MacRumors.

A leaked memo indicates Apple has been offering this option since August 25. It does not apply to other notebooks, or MacBook Pro units without a Retina display.

Earlier this year, Apple was forced to offer some customers an upgrade to a brand new 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for the price of an out-of-warranty repair due to these supply constraints. Others were offered 2015 and 2016 models.

However, this swap is reportedly no longer an option.

How to find out if your battery needs replacing

A common fault with any laptop after regular use is that its battery loses its ability to charge. The cells can only withstand so many charge cycles before they no longer perform as intended.

The problem might be obvious. If your battery won’t charge at all and your MacBook Pro requires mains power to work, you know your battery needs replacing. But even if it appears to work, it may have quietly degraded to the point where it will give up any moment.

To find out if your battery needs servicing, click the Apple logo in the menu bar on your machine. Select About this Mac, then select System Report. Now click Power and locate the Health section. If it reads “Service Battery,” you need to see Apple.