New Apple Battery Defect (Model A1189)

When Apple recalled batteries from its 15″ laptops, I would have thought that common sense would have prevailed in that if any battery exhibited a physical defect, such as exploding from its own case, that would be more than enough to exchange the battery.

Unfortunately for my friend Marcus, when he went to the Apple Store, with an exploded battery from a 17″ laptop (his is shown above), the manager wanted him to mail the battery and laptop back to Apple. This made no sense, as there was nothing wrong with the laptop. And, furthermore, the US Postal Service might take issue with a battery that is about to have its chemicals bust out of its shell.

Exploded Apple Battery

17-Inch MacBook Pro Rechargeable Battery
Model A1189, Li-ion, 6N6184M9US0A

Battery Label

What he wanted was to simply have the hazardous waste properly disposed of, even if it meant buying a new battery.

She explained that the Apple Store didn’t have laptop batteries, he’d have to special order one. And to verify his battery was really damaged (she handled it!), he’d have to see an Apple Genius. And, unfortunately for Marcus, the Genius Bar was all filled up with appointments, and he’d have to return the next day. …meanwhile, the battery was still growing out of its shell; something that made Marcus feel very unsafe.

I’m totally of mixed minds on this. First of all, the battery fault isn’t Apple’s doing, it’s a bad batch they got them from. Second, when a battery dies or doesn’t hold a charge out of warranty, you don’t get a replacement. Third, if you take standard flashlight battery and let it age and leak, that’s not a warranty problem. So, on this hand Apple is under no obligation to replace the battery.

Still Held Charge

On the other hand, this wasn’t a matter of the battery being dead – it still held a full charge. It just would no longer fit in the machine because it was physically defective. In my mind, Apple should replace the battery, and then go back and beat up on the vendor. Even for customer service reasons alone, it’s the right thing to do.

Apple’s stance was if it was a battery for a 15″ laptop, they’d replace it, even out of warranty. But, since it was a 17″ battery, and even though it was made of the same stuff, by the same people, and exhibiting the same visibly defective problem, it wasn’t. That’s just not right.

Basically, Apple was saying that this was a “new” battery problem, and because not enough people reported the model number (A1189), their replacement warranty didn’t cover it.

Marcus came back the next day, stood in line, talked to a Genius who took his old battery to dispose while pointing him at an entire shelf of 17″ batteries. Marcus bought a new one.

Marcus Waits 45 Minutes

Genius Bar Conversation | Register Conversation

Of course, after Marcus gets the run around and has to buy a new battery, we learn about this link: MacBook and MacBook Pro Battery Update

In it, it states that if a battery is visibly deformed, then Apple will replace it. …why didn’t the Apple Store know this?

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26 Responses to New Apple Battery Defect (Model A1189)

  1. phosphene says:

    today, the mouse button on my 17″ macbookpro was stuck. i havent spilled any beer on it yet, so i was curious what was wrong. I decided i was going to open it up and take a look.

    1st thing i did was take out the battery ( a1189 ) Then, suddenly, the mouse button functioned again. I looked closer at the battery, and it is bursting at the seams.

    i googled “a1189″ and found this article. thx for the link, im gonna see if i can get a battery exchanged.

    rawk on

  2. Greg Mcgrue says:

    My battery has also swollen up , I’m going to the apple store tomarrow to see what they can do?

  3. Greg Mcgrue says:

    also ,today, the mouse button on my 17″ macbookpro was stuck. i havent spilled anything on it yet, so i was curious what was wrong. I decided i was going to open it up and take a look.

    1st thing i did was take out the battery ( a1189 ) Then, suddenly, the mouse button functioned again. I looked closer at the battery, and it is bursting at the seams.

    i googled “a1189″ and found this article. thx for the link, im gonna see if i can get a battery exchanged.

  4. SUE BOYD says:

    MY COMMENT IS AN EXACT DITTO OF GREG McGRUE COMMENTS – TO THE LETTER.

    I WILL BE LETTING APPLE HAVE A PIECE OF MY MIND TOMMORROW

    THANX FOR THE LINK

  5. Paul Mead says:

    Client has had same issue on a 17″ Macbook pro 18 months old – I rang Apple for him and quoted this website:
    http://www.apple.com/support/macbook_macbookpro/batteryupdate/

    Model of battery: A1189

    Result: New battery to be shipped out in 3-4 working days.

    I have to say – we are an IT Services company and this client has had a fair few failures with his Apple kit over the last 5 years – not sure it is as reliable as it might be…..I vote for PC based kit – much quicker and easier to get replacement parts at short notice.

  6. Ralf Pickart says:

    Had the same problem with a 18 months old 17″ MBP bought back in December 2006. I am living in Canada but since I got the MBP in Germany I called Apple Germany first. Their answer was it is not covered under warranty even there is a law requesting a 2 year “Gewaehrleistung” – which is basically the same as warranty. I could write a letter to Apple Ireland and ask for replacement.

    The friendly Apple employee in Canada said even it is not covered under warranty he will make an exception and exchange the battery within 5-7 business days free of charge.

    Thanks Apple! – But why is the same case handled differently in two different countries?

    Battery model number: A1189
    Battery serial number: 6N6416…
    MBP 17″ serial number: W8647…

  7. Ivanski says:

    I picked up my Mac today and wondered why my battery felt as if it wasn’t in properly. Looked underneath and was surprised by the bulging battery – and it was still growing as I watched (eeeek!).

    I popped my MBP onto main’s power and whipped the battery out and let it cool down, shutdown sensibly and ran of to Mac Station (http://www.macstation.com/) in Vancouver – after reading this article! A few details from me, they ran Apple and I got my shiny new battery completely free! It’s still charging as I write.

    Thanks for letting us know about this!

    Cheers,

    Ivan

  8. Garrick Smith says:

    You know, right before I found this article, I was online about to purchase a new battery because my current one is swollen…dude you just saved me $125 bucks! I’ve made an appointment at the genius bar for tomorrow.

    Great article, thanks Dude!

    -Garrick

  9. Paulette says:

    Same thing happened to me with my 17″ macbook pro. I found your link here, clicked on the Apple link you put in your blog and went to the Genius Bar at an Apple Store.

    Told them about it and said I wanted a replacement. He went and got a new battery from the box, opened it up and gave it to me. That was it.

    Thank goodness for your blog and links. Thank you.

  10. Mike says:

    I had the exact same problem with my 2yr and 2 month old MBP battery, apple did a whole lot of nothing for me.

    I’m not going to buy a replacement from Apple, screw them.. I’ll get one from fastmac or something.

  11. Madrone Jack says:

    Exact same problem for me. My track pad and click was not working properly, cursor flying all over the place. My computer was getting so hot I could not have it on my lap. It was too hot to put my hand on the hot spot. Its gotten worse the last few days, to the point I was not able to open anything. I turn my computer over and the battery is bulging and popped out. In the apple store at apple.com there are tons of people who review battery A1189 in the exact same negative way. Apple needs to recall these batterys. Come on Apple… I have been a customer of yours for 18 years.

  12. Gon Munoz says:

    I’ve got the same problem as you guys.
    I first contacted Apple through Internal Customer Relations before a realized the battery was deformed, because it wasn’t holding charge and shutting down without previous notice. They just said it was out of warranty and could do nothing about it.

    Today my trackpad button stopped pressing and when removing the battery i realized the problem. I’ve contacted them again and will keep you posted with the reply.

    I’ve already had problems with my macbook pro and had to get a replacement logic board due to the black screen issue. I’m getting quite fed up with Apple’s hardware.

    Anyway, I leave you a couple of email addresses you could contact that have worked for me in the past, please contact them so they can realize this is not a sporadical problem:

    I’ve gotten response from these,
    internal-customer-relations@apple.com, product-security@apple.com

    These others are a bit doubtful, but when emailing i haven’t gotten a delivery failure notice so its worth a try:
    steve@mac.com, media.help@apple.com, sjobs@apple.com, steve@mac.com

    Cheers.

  13. Gon Munoz says:

    I’ve been offered a new battery for free from Apple!
    Thank God Apple came through I has getting quite disappointed.

  14. Neb Brown says:

    I noticed that my mouse wasn’t working earlier this week. Later that day I left my MacBookPro on in my bag and when I pulled it out I noticed it was extremely hot and the battery backing was coming off. I looked at iStat in my widgets and it said my battery health was about 40%.

    I decided I should go ahead and buy a new one before it fails completely (I have finals coming up). Luckily I came across your blog post!

    I called apples U.S. support number 1-800-275-2273 after clicking the link posted at the bottom of your blog. They kept telling me that my computer was out of warrantee and my computer’s serial was not in the list. I was transferred to a “battery warrantee specialist” who proceeded on telling me the same thing. He did tell me that if the battery was so swelled up that it would be covered but that is not the case(yet).

    It looks like I’m going to have to go into an apple store and either get it replaced that way or buy a new one.

  15. Pablo Ortiz says:

    Last week I had the rude shock of finding out that I have a dodgy battery. the symptoms are the same as those mentioned through out this article: laptop switching off after 5 minutes of battery usage with no warning, even though the battery displays 5 green lights. Battery starting to show signs of bulging.
    I took out extra warranty when I initially bought my MacBook Pro and I am still covered under Applecare, however time will tell whether this was money well spent as I live outside the US (Australia) and have to go through 3rd Party retailers for warranty work, and experience has shown me that they are unwilling to carry out work under warranty.

  16. Tom Roelke says:

    Same thing happened to my dads MacBook Pro 17. He just had his video card repaired and then the trackpad button was giving him issues, before I could get it repaired I went on vacation. When I got back, I pulled his laptop from his storage case, and the battery had bulged to over an inch. I popped out the battery, started the laptop up using the power supply and no button issue anymore. The laptop is fine but Apple won’t replace the obviously defective battery, in fact I got “disconnected” while on hold waiting for thier battery specialist. I guess will we have to buy a new battery and wait for the class action lawsuit to award us a worthless dicount coupon while some attorney gets a million dollars for our suffering.

  17. Peter Fournier says:

    As of May 31st, 2009, Apple “closed” the battery replacement program. I just noticed mine is bulging today (it was fine yesterday). It has been unusually hot here this past week, and I wonder if that has something to do with it.

    I found a new, OEM battery for $69. I will pay the money, and avoid the hassle.

  18. Guys, just an update since Apple “closed” that program: I just realized my mbp’s 17″ battery was swollen when I went to switch it with a spare – I had been experiencing the sudden poweroff issues but hadn’t given it thought. I called Apple’s support number, they asked for the laptop’s s/n, the cycle count, and full charge capacity from the System Profiler. I was trasferred over to the battery support dept, pleasant guy by the name of Todd verified my info, and told me they’d overnight a battery to me.

    Besides a few minutes on hold, perfectly handled. Just one of the reasons why I am, and will continue to be an Apple customer, and why I recommend highly to friends.

  19. C. says:

    I just got my 17″ MacBook Pro back with a new hard drive after a crash, and installed Snow Leopard on top of the version of Leopard that had been reinstalled.
    I am covered by Apple Care until October 17 – tomorrow!
    I just noticed tonight that my A1189 battery had exploded.
    So it would seem that Snow Leopard does not include the appropriate battery updates. Also, there were no updates (battery or otherwise) suggested by the updater while I had my computer running.
    I will go to the Apple Store tomorrow and hope to get a new battery!
    Thanks for this blog, Walt-O.

  20. Bob says:

    Yep, it’s closed. Took a clearly defective, bulging battery (had the trackbutton issue mentioned above & discovered bulging battery) to the genius bar & they offered to swap it for $99. We’ll look for an OEM.

  21. undy says:

    http://www.battery-notebook.com can supply this replacement battery .

  22. ed says:

    my mac Battery (Model A1189) did the same thing a week a go and the mac store wants me to bring the laptop in. and I ask why can’t i just bring the Battery. they would ansir me on that. the lap top also works fine just not stay on with the Battery
    since it slip open

  23. Joel says:

    I just noticed mine doing the same thing yesterday. I bought my 17″ mbp in April 2008 and I’m disappointed to find out they’ve closed this recall.
    I understand that these batteries can get to a point where they explode or even catch fire and I doubt Apple would want that responsibility, so I’m going to see what I can do about re-opening this recall as there are clearly still a few from this poorly manufactured batch out there.

  24. Leho Kraav says:

    This is pretty frcked up. My battery failed at 133/300 cycles as described here, not to mention my MBP17 has gone through the exact same NVidia ordeal that Gon mentioned earlier here:

    http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=9996615#9996615

    So far my local ASR is dead end, so is Apple’s UK support #.

    Where did you get the OEM for $69? I’m definitely not supporting Apple on the replacement.

  25. Stefano says:

    same problem with MacBook Pro 17″ battery
    I’ve buy the MBP at november 2008
    battery sn=6N8324HLZ9DA
    life cycles 129

  26. Sue says:

    Our battery “exploded” as well. We called the University Avenue store in Palo Alto, CA and they told us to bring it in and they will replace it.

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