If having your laptop’s battery swell up to the point where your trackpad and keyboard become unusable was a problem universal to all laptops – then presumably a Google search on the phrase “swollen laptop battery” would bring up all sorts of brand names….
But it doesn’t.
Because swelling laptop batteries is a lovely Easter egg, an unsung Mac “feature”, and searching on the phrase “swollen laptop battery” brings up references only to Apple Macbooks.
Yet, despite the uniqueness of this feature to Macbooks and its $84 billion in cash (almost enough to fill up the UN’s proposed $100-billion-by-2020 Green Climate Fund), Apple is too mean to replace my swollen battery.
The fix: Sorry, I don’t know how to fix Apple. Somewhere there must be a preference setting for self-importance, but maybe you can only access it via the command line.
The swollen battery fix: Oh, you want to know how to fix your swollen battery!? Okay, you get some Torx screwdrivers, and open up the battery. Inside, you’ll see six flat silver envelopes. Get a pin. Go to a very well-ventilated place, hold your breath – and prick a small hole in each swollen envelope. There will be a great rush of toxic vapours, probably fluoridated gases with high climate forcing potential, the atmosphere will sag unhappily, and the end of the world will come a little closer. (Okay, I exaggerate slightly.) Put a little bit of tape over the pinholes. Internal gases should still escape, but tape might slow down any oxidation of battery contents (this is purely speculative). Re-assemble battery. Your problem should be solved, although from now on, the continual imperceptible slow release of God alone knows what toxic vapours from your lap will be adding slack to your mortal coil.
In case it isn’t obvious: This fix is completely, totally, not recommended, and I accept no responsibility for any damage to yourself or your Macbook should you be foolish enough to try it.
Comments on just what a bad idea this is are most welcome. If it actually helped, feel free to contribute an expression of gratitude before drawing your last breath. I’m interested to know if it works for others, and for how long.
Update: 25 July 2012
This post is now by far the most popular on my not very popular blog, with over 5,000 hits since I wrote it. Given the number of people who have had this problem, I’m suggesting someone start a class action suit against Apple. Schmucks.
Update: 17 March 2013
A couple of people (see comments) have reported spark when trying this. It has been suggested that you run down or drain the battery completely before trying this (if you feel so bold). That makes a lot of sense.