Apple can finally replace batteries in older MacBook Pro models

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MacBook Pro
Replacements for a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro battery from five years ago are available with no waiting.
Photo: Apple

Apple ran short on a very vital part of the Mid 2012 and Early 2013 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display for over a year. But it now reportedly has plenty of batteries for these models in stock once again.

For months, Apple had been forced to waive the fee on battery replacements on these older models because customers were having to wait so long for the part to become available. 

But Apple reportedly notified Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers today it has a sufficient supply of batteries for the 15-inch MacBook Pro models from five years ago.

Now that owners of the Mid 2012 and Early 2013 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro no longer have to wait for parts, Apple is again charging the $199 replacement cost.

MacBook Pro battery quirks

What surely complicated the process of producing replacements is that Apple’s laptop has its battery glued into the top case. This is a collection of components that includes the keyboard, trackpad, and speaker grills. The only way to swap out one part is to take them all out.

Incidentally, this is also true of later MacBook Pro models, which is why the problem with the “butterfly” keyboards is a bigger deal than it otherwise would be. Apple can’t replace just a keyboard, it has to swap out a significant percentage of the whole laptop.

How to find out if a MacBook Pro battery needs replacing

A common fault with any laptop after regular use is that its lithium-ion battery loses its ability to charge. The cells can only go through so many charge cycles before they no longer perform as designed.

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

To find out if your battery needs replacing, click the Apple logo in the menu bar on your computer. 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.

Note: Killian Bell contributed to this article.