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Your MacBook Pro might qualify for a free battery replacement – here’s how to check

Published Feb 11th, 2021 5:22PM EST
MacBook Pro
Image: Apple

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  • Apple announced that a very small number of MacBook Pro users have experienced an issue where the battery would not charge past 1%.
  • The problem impacts specific MacBook Pro models released in 2016 and 2017, and all those affected are eligible for free battery replacements.
  • Apple also released software updates to prevent similar issues in 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro versions.

Apple’s MacBooks are still the benchmarks for the laptop industry. Everyone else is trying to copy Apple’s idea and come up with notebooks that can beat the MacBook standard. But Apple’s laptops aren’t perfect, and some of them do have issues that need to be corrected.

Apple usually launches free repair programs to address problems whenever they impact enough customers. The anti-reflective display issue that affected some MacBook Pro models and the sticky keys problem that impacted MacBook models are two of the better known repair programs for the Mac. This week, Apple launched another free repair program that MacBook Pro owners should know about, as this concerns a vital notebook component.

MacBooks offer great battery life, especially the Air, and especially the newest models. But as they age, they will lose capacity, and some batteries will need replacing. When that happens, the battery menu will indicate there’s a problem with the battery that needs addressing, and the repairs can be quite expensive.

In a support document, Apple announced that “a very small number of customers with 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro computers” have encountered an issue where the battery will not charge beyond 1%. As expected, the battery status on these devices will indicate “Service Recommended” if charging stops. In case that happens to your device, you’re eligible for a free battery replacement.

Apple advises users to contact Apple to have the battery replaced free of charge if they own one of the following models:

  • MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

As you can see, several MacBook Pro models qualify for the free replacement. To see if you are eligible for the program, you have to inspect the battery health of your device — here’s how you do it, according to Apple:

  • In macOS Big Sur, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Battery, select Battery in the sidebar, then click Battery Health.
  • In macOS Catalina or earlier, hold the Option key and click the battery icon in the menu bar to reveal the battery status menu.

If the battery menu says that service is needed, you’ll have to check whether your MacBook Pro qualifies for a free replacement. Just go to the Apple menu in the top left corner, and then click on About This Mac. That’s where the model version of your MacBook Pro will be displayed. If it matches Apple’s list above, you’re good to go.

Apple also says in the support document that it has released a macOS update that prevents this issue from happening to other 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro computers. It’s unclear what the charging problem might be, but updating to macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 or later or installing the supplemental macOS Catalina 10.15.7 update should prevent your computer from experiencing the 1% battery issue.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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