17-inch MacBook Pro’s expanding battery problem and Apple’s exemplary service

By SteveJack

On Monday, I returned after lunch to find my 17-inch MacBook Pro sitting oddly on my desk. Thinking I’d gotten a cable or maybe the Apple Remote stuck underneath, I tilted the base of the MacBook Pro up and looked underneath. Nothing to be seen. After checking again, I noticed the battery had popped its case.

Yes, I’d been struck by the MacBook Pro expanding battery issue!

One of the MacBook Pro’s battery latches had unlatched due to the pressure, but there was nothing wrong with the MacBook Pro’s chassis. The battery, of course, was kaput.

What to do?

I called 1-800-SOS-APPLE and I took notes from here on out:

After answering a couple perfunctory questions via the automated system, an Apple representative answered. I did not mention MacDailyNews; the Apple rep had no idea that this would be reported on MacDailyNews regardless of how the process went. I explained that the battery had expanded out of its case, gave the woman my MacBook Pro’s serial number, confirmed my name and address, and she – no questions asked – said she would send out a new battery immediately and I was to return the bad battery in a pre-addressed, postage-paid box. Total time spent from dialing the number to hanging up the phone: 6 minutes and 22 seconds.

I have another battery, so I popped that one into the MacBook Pro in case I wanted to roam in the meantime. And, no, we did not purchase AppleCare for this particular MacBook Pro which we bought on May 6, 2006.

21 hours and 17 minutes after I hung up the phone, the new battery arrived. I popped it into the MacBook Pro and it began charging. I placed the old battery in the box provided, peeled off my address label to reveal the address Apple wanted the battery sent, and called the DHL pickup number Apple had provided and placed the box outside for pickup.

That’s it. Done. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes of my time. Try accomplishing something as effortless and smooth with Dell or any other PC maker.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.


  1. Apple were excellent when I had to return my PowerBook battery. I filled out the online form after entering my serial number and 2 weeks later I received my new battery.

    Total time: less than 5 minutes.

  2. My iMac’s hard drive died. I drove the machine to a local authorised repairer because it was more local than the nearest store in the UK. A couple of days later they rang saying that they had been unable to recover the data but had replaced it and it was working. I wasn’t overtly bothered about the data because I had backups of everything of major importance. All seemed well.

    A few weeks later an issue arose with the optical drive. In all other respects the machine was fine. This time I didn’t want to take it to the same place, purely because it was inconvenient to do so that week, so I arranged to take it to my office from where a different company were able to offer a free pickup service within the M25 (my home is literally a stones throw outside but that’s a different matter). They picked it up no problems and then I waited….

    A few days later they were waiting for a replacement drive. They fitted that but then when I chased them they were investigating the hard drive problem (?) I said it had been working fine, according to them it was now dead. A new hard drive was ordered and then a few days later the original was apparently working again. Then it wasn’t. They surmised it might be the logic board. New logic board. Then they needed to order a new cable to attach the hard drive to the logic board. Then another cable to attach the optical drive.

    Over the course of 3 weeks I was constantly fobbed off and ignored, I was rung twice without having to chase them myself. Apple did agree at one point to give it a few days then they would offer a new machine, but it took a while to get to that stage since I had to constantly explain what had happened. There is now an issue with the Firewire ports.

    This is my third mac, the others have been great and continue to be so.Previously Apple have been as greatwith the minor issues I’ve experienced as they were in the example in this article, but not everything is perfect.

  3. We’ve use Apple Care at work with about 30 comptuers, and private clients and workers home computers. Hardly use it, but when we have, it is fast and amazing it cooperation and problem solving. Replacements and/or troubleshooting is quick and painless and usually painless on the pocketbook as well.

    Warranty work is just as easy and like the above case, it is out of warranty, but a known problem, it just gets fixed with no hassle.

    TLC of customers is a very big plus for Apple. And we repay them with loyalty, more purchases, and convincing all our friends to Switchers! Ha.

  4. the way this sort of thing is handled is actually just as important as if the component goes wayward in the first place.
    things like batteries and hardrives are something that apple do not make, and their attitude towards the replacement of these things is really important to customer loyality.

    i think alot of people can understand how a battery or hardrive can go caput, and its the process of replacement thats important in these occassions.

    To Apples credit when ive needed apple to replace a faulty part theyve done it on the spot. I really can’t ask for more than that.

  5. This is an example of what Guy Kawasaki termed “The Macintosh Way” in the book by that title. The book was written almost 20 years ago but still applies today. It’s a great read for any Mac fan. Highly recommended!

  6. My 15 inch had the battery recall replacement last year and four or so weeks ago I would have an auto switch off at about 50% of battery remaining. It also showed really odd charging an incomplete charging stats.

    As here Apple were magnificent and the new battery was with me the next day. You can’t expect any company to get it right all the time, but over seven years I can’t fault them.

    Suppose I ought to up the shareholding on that basis…

  7. I am not a big fan of Dell these days, but I have to say my two year old Dell desktop had a noisy power supply. Called, explained, they shipped, had it the next day, and I sent back the old. Just as painless as the experience described above. Love my Mac, love my Apple stock, but just had to give my experience because Apple being great doesn’t make everyone else completely incapable of something like a repair.

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