Apple Exchanging Some 2012 and Early 2013 MacBook Pros Needing Battery Service With Newer Models

After hundreds of charging cycles, a MacBook Pro’s battery begins to lose its ability to hold a charge and should be replaced. Apple offers battery service free of charge with AppleCare+ coverage, or it charges an out-of-warranty fee of $199 in the United States, £199 in the UK, or $259 in Canada.


Due to a severe constraint of top case assemblies with integrated batteries, however, Apple has informed its Genius Bar employees and Apple Authorized Service Providers it is currently unable to service the batteries of 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display models released in Mid 2012 and Early 2013.

According to Apple’s internal directive, obtained by MacRumors, top case assemblies with batteries for the aforementioned MacBook Pro models will remain severely constrained until September 15, 2017. The directive does not identify a reason for the shortage, which has been ongoing since at least March.

As a temporary solution, Apple’s directive says customers may choose to delay battery service until inventory becomes available, in exchange for Apple covering the cost of the repair. Alternatively, to avoid the delay, Apple’s directive says customers may exchange the MacBook Pro for a functionally equivalent model.

Given the affected MacBook Pro models were released between four and five years ago, however, an increasing number of customers have shared stories of Apple replacing their notebooks with significantly newer models.

Reddit user NoTNoS, for example, said Apple exchanged his 2012 model 15-inch MacBook Pro for a 2017 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. He said the process took about 10 business days, and he was allowed to keep his old MacBook Pro during the wait. The only cost was the $199 battery service fee.

Dozens of other MacBook Pro owners have shared similar experiences on Reddit, while only a handful of users have shared unsuccessful attempts. Many users appear to have received refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro models, but some others claim to have received even newer 2016 or 2017 models.

In order to potentially qualify, you must have a Mid 2012 or Early 2013 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display that requires battery service. To check, click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the macOS menu bar, and then click on About This Mac > System Report… > Power.

A section called “Health Information” lists the battery’s cycle count, which should be under 1,000, and condition, which should say “Service Battery” or equivalent. Apple’s definition of a consumed battery is one with a full charge capacity below 80 percent, which can be checked with a tool like coconutBattery.

Since the process appears to differ on a case-by-case basis, each customer’s mileage may vary. For instance, some customers successfully exchanged an eligible MacBook Pro with over 1,000 charge cycles. Apple could stop acknowledging this internal policy at any time, and not all employees may be aware it exists.

There doesn’t appear to be any regional limitations to the policy, with customers who successfully exchanged their MacBook Pro models residing in the United States, UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and other countries. It also doesn’t appear to matter if the Mac is covered by AppleCare+ to qualify.

Eligible customers that wish to press their luck may visit any Apple Store, or supposedly select Apple Authorized Service Providers. Calling an Apple Store to book a Genius Bar appointment over the phone is recommended.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

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