How to ‘fix’ a swollen MacBook battery

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!?

First, unplug the power supply and let the battery run down completely to no charge.

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

Again: a few people (see comments) have reported sparks 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.

About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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122 Responses to How to ‘fix’ a swollen MacBook battery

  1. Ryan says:

    I thought my trackpad was gunked up, but apparently it was as simple as popping the battery out… and sure enough, it was swollen like everyone else’s. I’m very careful about keeping my MacBook as cool as possible, but even then, it still runs pretty hot.

    I looked at new aftermarket batteries, and they all had pretty bad reviews, and a new battery from Apple is $130. It’s definitely not covered under a recall, so I gave this a shot. I opened it up with a small torque bit, popped a little hole in each pack, put it back together, and the trackpad problem is resolved.

    I haven’t found any articles on the dangers of doing this specifically, but I’m sure I’m not going to find anyone that is willing to publish that it is safe. I think this should do for now, and I plan on getting the new MBP when it comes out in a couples months.

  2. Glad it worked, Ryan! My own white MacBook was stolen three weeks after implementing this ‘fix’, so I can’t assess the longevity of the fix.

  3. Pingback: Swollen MacBook Battery – Possible Fix | IT and Mobile Development

  4. erwinsanchez says:

    I am about to pinch the battery with a syringe, I will let you know if it works.

    • Koray says:

      Have you been able to try with a syringe? Does it work?

      • David says:

        There’s no need for a syringe. Just open the battery casing and prick the envelope of the swollen lithium cells with a pin or needle. The trapped gas that has caused the swelling will escape. Then cover the hole with a little tape. Remember to do it in a well-ventilated space, and hold your breath till the trapped vapours have cleared.

    • Einar says:

      Famous last words.

  5. Renee says:

    Geez, my battery is doing that also. -was just doing a search to see if anyone else has had this issue. I wonder how many Apple customers are dealing with this.

    • Green says:

      Question: “I wonder how many Apple customers are dealing with this.” -Swollen Battery impairing track pad function

      Answer: Few…why?….because when the trackpad issues pop up the GENIUSES tell you-“YOU NEED A NEW TRACKPAD”…only $45. plus installation….get it???
      APPLE HQ: …”never mention the 800 lb. Gorilla under the keypad!”….to the SHEEPLE.

      There is another possible fix…worked for me….took out the battery…would have a piece of cake…if APPLE had not hidden… on purpose… the last screw holding in the battery….I wrongly assumed there was glue holding it….NOPE those nasty A.H.s hid one last screw under a die cut label…cut especially to protrude over the last screw and hide it!


      Once the track pad is exposed…from under the battery…there is a large screw…centrally located on the track pad which…if you turn it gently and …not too much.. will bring back the sensitivity.

      Chalk up one for the SHEEPLE and none for APPLE…no $300. dollar bill for track pad, battery and installation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. Rob says:

    Hello David, my dear friend, Just googled around looking for ‘the fix’ to my pregnant battery problem and wasn’t really expecting to find the solution to my problem (at the southern tip of Africa) at the southern tip of Africa. Thank you for a fantastic laugh – in fact, I read your blurb twice just for an opportunity to laugh again. Now I just need to find a torque screw driver. I assume you’ve got one lying around at home that I can drop by to pick up sometime (or if you passing through the bowl sometime)?
    Maybe you should change jobs from climate activist to just making people laugh. You do a sterling job.

  8. Ed says:

    It worked tremendously!

  9. Aaron says:

    Use a non-metallic sharp instrument to avoid sparks!

    • David says:

      Well, whatever instrument you use, don’t stick it in too far! All you need to do is prick a hole in the battery envelope – fireworks should be fairly easily avoided.

  10. Richelle says:

    That’s what she said.

  11. Auditory says:

    I had the same issue with a battery for a 17″ MacBook Pro. This is my second replacement battery. The original battery as well as the initial replacement replacement suffered the same bloated fate. I wish I had know about this technique at that time.

    Though the cycle count of this battery was below 300 (the lowest of any previous battery) when the swelling occurred, Apple would not do anything to remedy the problem because the battery is beyond the warranty period. Poor engineering on Apple’s part should not constitute a burden on the consumer’s part. I could have lived with a swollen battery if the condition did not render my trackpad clicker useless. Another design flaw courtesy of Apple.

    I tried the above work around and it was ingeniously successful. Thank you for the advice. The tricky part is being able to bend the battery cover back to its original, uniform shape. Actually, removing the battery cover provides an opportunity to slightly modify it so that there is more clearance between the metal and the trackpad clicker.

    The technique prescribed seems to shorten battery life but the battery recharges back up to 100%. I rarely operate on battery power for long periods so it isn’t an issue. This prescribed method’s strong-suite is it will provide back-up power in case the magnetic power cord becomes dislodged. The puncturing procedure will keep me from purchasing a battery until I absolutely have to. Purchasing a replacement with an American Express card will grant the purchaser an extra year of warranty.

    • David says:

      Thanks for the feedback.

      With my old white Macbook, the bending of the plastic battery cover wasn’t an issue, but I suppose yours is metal, and so a touch trickier. Glad the ‘fix’ is working for you.

  12. Pingback: My Laptop Battery Got Pregnant « At Home with Tech

  13. Barrett says:

    I thought you should know the Apple Store in New York City took pity on me and my five year old swollen MBP battery last week. As it turns out, a generous replacement battery was my fix. I enjoyed reading your back up plan, though!

  14. Koray says:

    Just had the chance to try it now after purchasing a set of precision screwdrivers and that solved the issue – thanks!

  15. Patrick says:

    I sure do wish I had read your post before embarking on my “fix.” Looked to me like the battery might be getting ready to explode or something and I really didn’t want it sitting on my desk like that. My fix was to disassemble the battery and remove the bloated pieces and then reinstall the empty battery case. I was happy that my left clicker came back to life but had I visited here sooner I would have tried your method. Great post — entertaining and informative. Thanks.

  16. John Doe says:

    Bad news – tried the method and the battery did fit back very well. I was running on battery power last night but had plugged in to AC before I went to bed. Now I see the “Battery Not Charging” message and although it shows 39% remaining with 83% health the battery won’t just work. Disconnecting computer from AC will shut it down immediately and the battery power indicator button at the back of it won’t show any lights at all..

    I think I’ll have to buy a brand new one now..

  17. Sim says:

    Thanks for this fix. Just had this issue show up recently. I have an aftermarket battery but it seems that Apple batteries suffer the same fate. I’m going to try this fix later on. I have removed the battery and the trackpad functions normally. I’m happy to keep my 2008 2.2 going for as long as possible. Still a great machine 🙂

  18. Sim says:

    2008 Macbook Pro 2.2 here. No torx screws? 😦

  19. Paul says:

    I was wondering what the world record for the most swollen Apple battery is. Mine’s grwoing by the day – obviously it won’t fit in my MacBook Pro any more, but I’m kinda fascinated to see how thick it will become before it explodes. It’s up to well over an inch now.

    I absolutely hate Apple and their shoddy, badly made second-rate, overpriced products. The piece of crap MacBook Pro that I unfortunately purchased (for around 3x the price of a Windows/Linux equivalent) has been a prime example of the complete shitness of Apple laptops – the first one I brought home from the Apple store had a completely dead DVD drive, so I returned it for an exchange. That DVD drive (along with pretty much all the drives in that model of MacBook Pro) gave up after about a year, but my workaround is to bang it furiously when I inset a DVD, which works. Just what you’d expect from a godawful company whose rating of importance of products is:
    1. Looks cool
    2. Looks cool
    3. Looks cool
    4. Malfunctions just after the warranty’s run out
    5. Might do some computing, until it gets bogged down by numerous stupid software updates and then crawls along at a snail’s pace
    6. Turns into a useless, unstable turd if you’re crazy enough to install Mac OS 10.7 Lion

    • David says:

      I agree that Macs often suck. They just seem to suck less than PCs, in my experience. So as much as they frustrate sometimes, a PC drives me crazy even more often.

      I don’t know what Lion was like – I upgraded directly from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, and have mostly been very happy.

      • Paul says:

        I think Mac laptops are the worst value item ever marketed. The Mac Pros aren’t too bad for the money. Yeah – I’ll sit and swear at my Macs, then I’ll spend 5 minutes on a PC and realise how life could be even worse!

        You did well to skip Lion. It has nothing useful at all, they’ve just done things like remove the clickable ‘hide sidebar’ pill in the top-right (for no reason) and removed the ‘show this character in x font’ from Character viewer, rendering it useless, and Apple software has no “save as…” which renders all Apple software useless (well, Apple has been useless at making software for years – look at Final Cut Pro! Apple software is always the last to adopt any hardware updates – a lot of their software still plods along using one processor while Adobe/Autodesk/everyone else went multi-threaded about a decade ago!). And the things in the sidebar are all grey – no easy-to-find colours here. It really feels like some awful attempt to make Macs look and feel like iPads and iPhones. Very, very sad. But we all know that Apple now hates professionals and makes its billions selling silly little iPhones and other such disposable fashion trinkets to suckers who will queue round the block to part with £529 for a poxy phone. Profit margin on a £529 iPhone (R&D costs: nothing – just put a slightly bigger screen in an iPhone 4. Manufacturing costs: peanuts) versus a Mac Pro for $2500 (Manufacturing/shipping costs: $loads) = no brainer.

      • David says:

        And then there’s the poor workers sweating away at Foxconn.

        And this: Arms deals, gambling, Saddam Hussein and Apple

      • Sim says:

        I’m with you about the iPhone. Mac used to be so nice when it was just for the ‘different’ people. But now every Tom, Dick and Harry has the iPhone. Boooo. I have an LG Optimus – Rooted – running CM7 (gets rid of bloat ware) over clocked and it’s fine.
        Cost me $100- and now $25- PM unlimited data text and 300 mins calls. I really don’t need ‘the latest’ as I’m sure most people don’t. It’s become a cheap way to drive an expensive car. I’m more for Samsung Android phones.

  20. Ariel says:

    How would you open a battery that doesnt have the torx screws ? There’s no screws at all. Should I just pry it open ?

    • David says:

      I don’t claim expertise in these matters, Ariel. But I’m curious to know what model MacBook you have?

      It may be that there’s an instructional on a website like iFixit… probably, someone out there has tried to do this before you, so try and find them before you have a go at your own battery.

      I’m assuming you have detached it from the MacBook?

    • David says:

      If yours is a more recent model, you may be eligible for a replacement… again, not at all certain about this.

  21. Ariel says:

    Its the old 2008 model, david. & yes I have taken it out from the macbook.

  22. floofloo says:

    Hi David, my battery from Macbook pro mid 2009 got impregnanted like yours.
    Glad I found your post but unfortunately the battery is totally different with no screw to open and glued together by two piece of hard plastics.
    So there is no way to open and prick it unless I drill a hole on the plastic, which sounds very dangerous as there are videos on youtube showing drill (or push a nail in battery) can lead to explosion .
    I read some post saying apple sometime took pity on us poor mac users. so I went to the apple store in Eaton center of Toronto. The store is full of people who come for iphone5 or new ipad. I had to make a reservation on a store employee’s ipad for a genius to help me after 70 minutes of waiting.
    When the 20 something gum chewing genius showed up and heard my story, he didn’t even look at my macbook for more than a second before he casually dismissed my complain of malfunction battery. Then told me in I-know-better voice that this is in fact a safety feature of apple battery so ‘naive’ users won’t ABUSE the battery. I argued that I am not naive and have been discharge and recharge my battery in full at least monthly, and the battery still last 3 hours and has cycle of 100. He played deaf to it. Then he offered me a replacement of $179 CAD (~175 USD) plus 13% tax, and if I pay 10-20 dollar more, I can get one year apple care for my new replacement battery. oh, one more thing, they will help recycle my old battery for free if I decide to buy.
    I managed to suppress the urge to swear and declined his offer.

    Now I am considering alternatives, any one has drilled or pricked the new battery here?

    • David says:

      Very sorry, FlooFloo, don’t know what to advise.

      If it was me, and the battery was useless in its current form, I would probably be tempted to try drilling – very slowly and carefully, in a well-ventilated place, with my eyes and hands well-protected.

      If you do manage to fix it, please let us know.

  23. Jordan says:

    This just worked as well for my Droid Bionic’s year old battery. This thought had definitely passed through my mind, so reading it made perfect sense. Thanks a bunch! Oh…this seems to be a result of overcharging the battery…and yes, I’m guilty of leaving mine in the charger. Maybe the environment thing is a wash since I didn’t burn petrol to get a replacement. (If I wanted to walk I suppose two cans and a string might work for me instead.)

  24. Mike Penny says:

    The battery in my 4 year old 15” MacBook Pro started swelling about a month ago. It certainly affected thr trackpad. I read your idea of opening up the battery, took a look and saw some unique Y shaped screws, thought can’t do that then. Thought some more. Wondered if the production of gas inside was being prevented from escaping by the design and it just needed a little help. So.

    I have an old book press. I put some folded paper pads above and below the extracted battery in such a way as to put pressure on the central area of each face of the battery. I placed the whole thing into the press. At first I just applied a little pressure over night, then a bit more for five hours, and finally just a bit more pressure for yet a few more hours. After a total of 24 hours I took the whole thing out from the press. It was back to its original thickness. It is now back in the machine and has fully charged to show just under three hours of life left. MInd you I have never got three hours out of it, and I would be more than amazed if I got that now. I seldom need more than an hour, and most times the machine is permanently plugged into the mains.

    I will let you know how this progresses. . . . . . to be continued!

    • David says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Mike. Please let us know if this fix persists.

      • Mike Penny says:

        Well having ‘pressed’ the battery and made it thinner. It all worked fine for a day or two, holding its charge and showing what the charge was. Then (not surprisingly it swelled up again. So not to be outdone I pressed it again, this time with the careful use of a number of those small spring loaded clamps people use when gluing models together. This time the battery stayed thinner for longer, and still works. However after a few days it had swelled again. I now leave the bottom cover off and it is still going fine. If you want my opinion its is a poor design which Apple don’t admit to, and the venting system obviously fails. The worst part is the disruption to the mouse and track pad, taking the battery has cured that problem. Not good and if I want to travel about I will have to put the back cover on..

      • David says:

        My understanding is that Apple did acknowledge the problem, but restricted the terms of its battery swap arrangements that most people who have been affected have been unable to benefit…

  25. DonDroga says:

    Great replacement battery for MacBook Pro A1175 here:
    I bought one for my 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. I had a swollen battery after a trip to the Desert. I guess the extra heat did it in. It was also getting old. The replacement above has proved to be as good as the original.

  26. Ron says:

    I just ripped open the aluminum casing, it was already popped wide open due to severe swelling.
    So I had the battery pack and the plug connected with its wire.
    I revealed a small part of the silver pack under the white tape first, then used a sharp knife tip , and punctured all 3 cells (Mac unibody 2008). had 3 quick sparks, one was smoking for 2 seconds. patched up holes with tape . and just plugged it manually. works like a charm. hopefully won’t catch fire :^)
    Thanks for the great tip.
    I”m 100% certain this is an Apple Cash milking scam.

    • Don Droga says:

      This is normal behavior for this type battery especially as they get older. Under certain conditions they will also expand – like excessive heat.

      • David says:

        If it’s normal, it should be advertised. Other laptops don’t seem to have this problem. It’s a manufacturing flaw, plain and simple, and Apple should take full responsibility for it, even on machines that are out of warranty.

      • Don Droga says:

        Normal when the battery is used in extreme conditions (hot) or it is old overly used.

  27. Koray says:

    Has anyone faced with an issue where the battery does not charge or discharge after this fix? It now shows the correct voltage value but the Amperage value is zero on System Information although it worked for the first time I charged the battery after the fix..

  28. Don Droga says:

    If it’s an old battery this will happen. It is common for all batteries of this type to swell after a certain point. If it’s new and under warranty – take it back.

    • David says:

      As I noted in the original post, Don – I don’t think it’s accurate to say ‘all batteries of this type swell after a certain point’ – certain generations of Macs seem to be unusually prone to this problem.

  29. Joost says:

    I’ve done this fix based on a different video yesterday, and I’m starting to worry a bit about the health risks. Does anyone have any details on what gasses we might have exposed? And is there no heightened fire risk after patching it up again? I’ve done the popping outside, but can’t be certain I did not inhale anything.. The ‘hold your breath’ thing wasn’t mentioned in the youtube video I saw on the subject..

    • David says:

      I think those are legitimate worries, Joost, which is why I raised them myself in the original post. Perhaps this fix is best seen as an interim measure to restore some measure of functionality until one can replace the battery or get a computer from a company that knows how to make batteries properly.

      • Mike Penny says:

        According to one source I found:-
        • Lithium may emit a colorless to pale yellow gas with a sharp, pungent odor.
        • The electrolyte contained in lithium cells can cause severe irritation to the respiratory tract,
        eyes, and skin.
        • Potential hazards may include the release of:
        − Thionyl chloride, bromine, chlorine dioxide, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide and
        sulfuryl chloride gasses
        − Strongly acidic wastewater
        − Hydrogen from the reaction with water

        So the gas is probably hydrogen and the smell will include sulphur dioxide – which as all humans will know is smelly! You will be okay, if not a little irritated by the electrolyte – not to mention Apple! The hydrogen is explosive! and could cause all those nasty irritants to land on you. A spark from the battery (or anywhere else) is all you need for a bit of a bang.

        I would have thought a lithium-ion battery should have some means of releasing the gas in small quantities all through its life. So my view is still that Apple got the design wrong and the venting system has failed. That is what I would challenge them on.

      • Don Droga says:

        Seriously stop screwing around with your batteries!

  30. Dirk says:

    Hey, I once dismantled such a batt until the smell was gone (tried of course not to inhale too much). After that I put it to a fire; nothing happened! It just burned slowly and extinguished itself very quickly, not even smoke.
    So most of the magic had gasified.
    Hence, with the gas going, the batt will get weaker…

  31. gachecha says:

    Tried the fix and my battery died – holds 0 charge and laptop advices to replace it. I did make a tiny hole and never went deep…

  32. killthebear says:

    hi! gonna try this out in a few, just need to get the correct torx to screw my battery up (t5, am i right?).

    little tip – if you do not want to try David’s fix cause youre afraid or whatever – you can get your touchpad to work again by simply “unlocking” the battery. (dunno how it is with MBPs, im on mid 2007 MB and i use a coin to unlock my battery and be able to take it out – you can leave it unlocked, which will cause it to fall out when you try to lift up your MB, but the touchpad will work all fine)

  33. cody says:

    im in high school and we were issued these crappy ass mac book air and i dont know what fucking genius up there at apple decided it would be smart to have it set up were the battery affects the trackpad.. im a natural born hacker and gammer always been great with computers and any electronic really ,but keeping up with the schools constant no you cant have this blocking attitude requires a certain amount of dedication wich results into countless hours of sitting in front of my mac with it going nonstop.. i cant really do this to my mac but if you can come up with a way to fix the problem with out taking it apart that would be great. other wise i have found that using the very bottom of the track pad sslightly works or applying a little pressure every now and then relieves it a little but i really need a way that doesnt void the warranty

  34. Thas says:

    Greetings David! I tried this and here is a BIG CAUTIONARY note…
    when you prick a hole with a pin, you can see sparks even if you go as little as 1mm into the envelope! I did this and dropped the battery and ran for cover! I kid you not. When the sparks subsided, I took the battery in my hand and the particular cell felt warm. I covered the punctured hole with my finger and started looking around for a tape to cover the hole. After few minute or so very hot fumes started to escape through the hole and almost burnt my finger. Again, I carefully placed the battery on the floor and ran for cover. After white fumes escaped, I have placed the battery in a plastic bag. Now I am contemplating taking it to a local recycling depot because I’m scared to put that battery back in my macbook. I do not hold you responsible but wanted to share my scary story with others so that necessary precaution is taken by others who will attempt this.
    PS: try doing this when your neighbours are not looking at you 🙂

    • David says:

      Hello Thas – wow, sounds like you have quite an exciting battery!

      As I noted in my original post, this ‘fix’ is definitely to be attempted only with caution and at own risk.

      Glad that you’re recycling, at any rate!

  35. Rafael says:

    Would it help if I drained the battery first?

  36. liewzy says:

    Just know that I’m not the only person to have this issue!

  37. Pingback: Fix for Macbook Air audio problem: no sound | Leaves caution behind

  38. Cardo says:

    Everyone with a unibody MacBook Pro (2009 and onwards) that have a battery which can’t be opened with Torx screws: if you’re willing to sacrifice the aesthetics of the battery, you can pry it open. It took me about an hour to finally get it open and pry the defective battery cell out, but it worked.

    Start off by removing the black lining that runs over the battery cells (just tear it off, you won’t be putting it back on) and wedging a knife or anything sharp in between the connector area where the connector comes out of and move your way towards the end of the battery pack, not around the corner. Just keep wedging and using force to break the seal open to access the battery cells. You won’t need to pry open the entire top case of the battery pack, just enough to get access to the cells that need replacing, it seems that most people have a problem with the left-most (the one right under the trackpad) cell, in my case, it was the top cell.

    I had to remove the pregnant cell since the unibody Mac battery cells seem a bit different that those depicted on pictures of pre-2009 MacBooks, so I wasn’t going to screw around and just cut the cables to the cell and removed it entirely. The packs are held together in two, one on the top and one on the bottom, so once you’ve removed the top lid enough to get access to the cables connecting the packs, just use a credit card to wedge and remove the adhesive between the top and lower cells.

    Mind you, this WILL leave your battery looking pretty terrible as you’ll most likely end up breaking some plastic not from the seams, but close to them, so you won’t be able to just clip it back together normally. I used a bunch of electrical tape to tighten and firm the pack back up, had minor difficulties pushing the pack back in the laptop, but after some harder taping and using just a bit of force to push it back in, it went in and everything seems to be working, the battery is charging, the trackpad works flawlessly and I’m using 5 cells instead of 6.

    PS! Be careful when prying the case open and START AT THE CONNECTOR, it’s practically impossible to start anywhere else and you might end up jamming your knife/tool into a cell instead, the connector is far away enough not to pierce anything vital.

    You might also get some sparks when cutting the cables loose I used a knife to saw them off at first, when I switched to scissors, it worked well), at first it startled me for a second, but apparently, it’s nothing to worry about as the author mentioned, as well.

  39. Mike Penny says:


  40. scottbohlen says:

    I work for a school District and have a LOT of these bloated batteries… so I found your blog super helpful! I have also found that taking apart the battery shell is easiest with a black stick and a heat gun. Quickly heating one side on high then sliding a “black stick” under and moving back and forth will aid in popping it and not bend it out of shape. Do both long sides and then the one end where the lock engages. The electrical connector end seems to pop on its own once lifted from the locking end. I then figured out to unfold the side of the envelope of the cell and simply cut into that fold… it allows the gas to escape and doesnt cause a spark hazard. Then push out the gas bubble and repeat on the other bloated cells. This also works well with the cells that in the lower set, underneath the top set. Use a very small scissor to slightly cut into that fold on the side front corner.
    For the batteries with the screws… use a T5.. and similar procedure as above.

    • David says:

      Thanks Scott – I think you’ve offered the best solution for opening the batteries without screws. Glad this has been of assistance!

  41. Mike Penny says:

    Having done these cuts and reassembled the batteries, how did well did they perform afterwards?

  42. Christopher Mitchell says:

    David, right? This is Christopher Mitchell, and I had swollen battery problems of my own. I did like you instructed, and of course, paid heed to your warnings about the noxious gases. I only poked holes in four of the silver envelopes that were visibly swollen. I don’t what’s going to happen, but for now, this has fixed the problem of my trackpad’s performance. I just wanted to thank you for the helpful instructions that you provided. (And marvel at the fact that this isn’t happening with just me, but others too, and that this is a blatant defect in Apple’s product.)

    Thank you very much!

    – Christopher Mitchell

    • David says:

      Pleasure, Chris, glad it helped. A few people have asked how long this ‘fix’ works for, so if you feel like reporting back in a couple of months, that’d be great. (Mine worked for three weeks before the computer was stolen.)

      • Christopher Mitchell says:

        I have ask you something, and it’s really minor. What kind of tape did you use for the holes in the silver envelope? I used black insulation tape for the holes, but lately, I’m thinking that is really not going to be enough.

        Which is why I took out the battery and checking things over again. Again, the obvious reality is that I will be left with no choice but to replace the battery in its entirety- that future is imminent.

        Reply whenever you can. And thank you for taking the time to read this.

        – Christopher Mitchell

      • David says:

        Hi Christopher,

        I used ordinary stationery-type sticky tape/Scotch tape. I think insulation tape is probably fine. The idea (I have no idea if this actually works) is not to provide a perfect seal, but to provide a one-way seal. In other words, to permit a slow release of whatever new vapours may be emitted by the battery, while minimising the amount of oxygen that enters. I cant think of an improvement on your current arrangement. Hope this helps.

  43. Martin says:

    I’m an idiot. Don’t ever try what I did yesterday. My MacBook battery looked liked it was going to explode and I didn’t have a torx screwdriver to take it apart. I just pinched a few holes into it using a knife… what followed was sparks, huge amount of smoke… I threw the battery on my balcony praying my neighbors wouldn’t call the fire dept, it started burning, the plastic parts melted down…
    Then I bought a new battery and I googled your blog… I wish I wasn’t stupid and read your advice before :/

    • David says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Martin! A useful cautionary tale, with quite a lot of entertainment value. 😉 Though I’m sure it was alarming at the time.

  44. Arkonova says:

    Please everyone STOP doing that right now! Pinching holes in a lithium battery is just one of the best ways to start a violent fire and burn your house down. What happened to Martin above is simply obvious!

    Even if this trick works temporarly, you are taking a very strong risk for it to catch fire anytime after.

    Seriously PLEASE STOP! And dispose* of any swollen or deformed lithium batteries as soon as possible. (*No, not in the trash! Go to an Apple Store or your local batteries collection point)

    • David says:

      Hello bossy boots. As I’ve always said, this is a fix to be undertaken with some caution, and should probably be regarded as temporary. But the fact is, this post has been read by literally tens of thousands of people, and no-one has come back to report that their house burnt down.

  45. nadiaface says:

    My track pad broke down in pieces, so I thougtht id remove the top layer, and tiny metal particles came out of it and it also cut my thumb a bit, does anyone know if its toxic? im worried some of those particles might be inside my thumb.

  46. Dave says:

    If anyone is worried about the harm from releasing all those potentially-toxic gases into the atmosphere (!), realize the problem stems from a lack of clearance between the bottom of the laptop (i.e. the swollen battery) and the surface it’s sitting on.

    First thing to do is check if the rubber feet are missing from your laptop (as mine were) and get replacements; or simply get 4 rubber washers from the hardware store and super-glue them to the corners of the bottom of your laptop.

    Problem fixed!


    • Dave says:

      Oh, this is a replacement battery for a 17″ MBP 4,1 (Early 2008, the pre-unibody model) which I schmoozed for free from an Apple Store about three years ago, and was befuddled when the track-pad started acting up a few days ago. Then I remembered the exact same symptoms from few years ago, when the original battery started to swell as it got older.

      This replacement battery is a few years old, and shows 414 cycles, and shows 2 hours run time available when fully-charged (down from 4-5 hrs max, IIRC, when it was new).

  47. Bob says:

    I’ve got a 2009 Macbook Pro 17″ and I did this as well. You just gotta be careful you puncture only the plastic to release the gas. On the 17″ macbook battery there were 2 pockets I had to puncture. The second one I guess I wasn’t careful enough and it did cause a very small spark so what Arkonova says is true, it can be dangerous. But I taped the holes back up and so far my macbook is working fine and my trackpad is clickable again.

  48. Valda Redfer. says:

    I just tried a similar fix on the battery for my 2007 white MacBook. (I hadn’t read your blog, my info was from a video on YouTube.) My battery case had no screws, but the aluminium cover was easy to remove anyway. The battery had been swollen for quite a long time, so maybe the pressure alone had prised the cover away. Anyway, I discharged the battery before removing it, and used a wooden chopstick to pierce holes in the silver envelopes. That worked: no drama, no visible puffs of gas, just a sharp smell when I pressed down on the silver envelopes to squeeze out any residual gas. The battery is still a bit swollen now (I only did the packs on the upper side), but it’s a lot slimmer, and no longer presses against the tracker pad. It seems to be charging up OK.

  49. Pingback: Swollen MacBook Battery – Possible Fix | Koray Alkan

  50. zellerzeller says:

    You should amend your safety disclaimer. As following your fix might blow someone up someday…
    Lithium is flammable, and it is potentially explosive when exposed to air and especially to water. As swelling occurs due to the overcharge, native lithium is already deposited in the cells. Opening them is the same as playing Russian roulette.

  51. James Burk says:

    Thanks for the fix. I have a 7 year old MacBook Pro 17 inch and I just pried off the battery cover and stuck the battery pack and it works fine. This is after 775 cycles so this is an old worn out battery but hey it is charging again and seems to be working. Thanks for the tip! I will let you know if it ever blows up LOL!

  52. Testy says:

    Just pierced my swollen battery using the following method:
    Donned overalls, rubber gloves, goggles and mask.
    Put battery (top and inner cover removed) inside a large plastic bag outdoors.
    Squeezed centre of swollen plastic membrane untll corner is inflated, then pierced horizontally through plastic membrane. Remove from bag. Replace top cover leaving inner cover off.

    • Roberto Quinto says:

      Not only my macbook pro battery, my iphone 3GS also swollen to the degre that crack the polycarbonate back cover, and this one is not so easy to replace. I just waiting my iphone 5S to swollen, then will try with a pin.

  53. Kristi Berlt says:

    My favorite part is that it’s now a “thing” at the Apple Store. “Yea so after your battery cycles x number of times it swells and has to be replaced. Pretty standard.” In what universe is this standard??

  54. m.casto says:

    This thread has probably been long forgotten but it nears answering my question… Im wondering if I can simply switch out the covers on the white and black batteries to get a color matching macbook and battery?

  55. CDavis says:

    I have a 17″ MacBook Pro purchased August 2007. The battery swelled up once several years ago–trackpad stopped working–and local Apple store replaced it, no charge. Now that battery has swollen to the point that both sides–opposite corners top and bottom–have popped open. I removed it carefully as it appeared to be leaking slightly. Prior to finding it in this shape, the laptop was running very hot, almost too hot to touch at the back where the screen is hinged to the keyboard. My question is whether it is worth it at this point to purchase another battery for this machine. Will it give me several more years of use? Apple no longer offers service to “vintage” machines; Mac Pros, who are located near me and service the iMacs in our TV studio at school, are also not permitted to look at these machines–a ruling that came out of Apple last fall. My machine looks like new and might benefit from a new hard drive as well, but I would like to make as educated a “guess” as possible before putting several hundred dollars into this old machine. When you consider the cost of a new one, however, several hundred for a couple of years doesn’t seem too bad.

  56. Carlson Flabian says:

    My MacBook battery just got all fat too after I left it in the car (dumb) and so I pricked it and it stopped doing anything and so I bought a cheapo from Amazon for $20 and it fits perfectly and no one knows the difference. It was cheaper than the torx driver set. Even if it only lasts two years I am way ahead but thanks for the idea it was worth a shot.

  57. Yohann says:

    Simply place it in the freezer, I also take no responsibility for any harm to you or your electronics

  58. C.J. BECK says:

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida Apple Store still passing around this Kool-Aid but I wasn’t swallowing. The problem must be global as they keep to the same mantra others report above. Only 191 cycles so it’s this consumer’s fault the battery presses on the trackpad. “Should have discharged to zero charge twice a month. Should not keep charging. Not a fundamental flaw of Apple design to accommodate how consumer uses the product.” Thought the track pad was sticking by itself at first. I used a spot of Joba Joba oil to ease the track pad. Apple Store sees the “liquid…omigod, we can’t touch that!” Now they won’t change the battery for $129.00 and want $800.00 to send the Mid-2009 MacBook Pro to third party vendor. Apple is now Big Brother. YOU SHALL OBEY. Steve Jobs must be spinning in his garage.

  59. ozkrtech says:

    I can confirm this worked with an iphone 5 swollen battery, it was pushing the screen upwards and after this procedure was implemented (without sparks or anything) i put a tiny dot of crazy glue evenly spread on the hole. and its as good as new. The screen is flat once again.

  60. joek says:

    what seems to work for me without any piercing etc. is to just gaffer tape the battery into the battery-space rather than using the lock. this means the battery isn’t in so tight so the trackpad isn’t affected but it still works fine. not sightly but functional.

  61. manoj kumar maharan says:

    If mobile battery or laptop battery gets swell up.If we remove the upper paper or plastic cover of battery,we will find a metallic pack.Mainly at the + or – terminal front u will find small curved hole seen,then try to rupture that portion with nail or tools that can make hole.but be carefull that u should not let the tool go inside the battery will make short circuit which will cause fire and battery will be dead.then again press the battery so that gas will come out and becomes normal.

  62. Julia says:

    Are there any people willing to give an update on their batteries? How long did the fix last? I have the mid-2009 MBP 17″ so the cells are encased behind the black plastic (I guess)?

    I tried sweet-talking, and just plain reasoning with the Apple people to give me new free batter7and no luck at all. Same baloney “build that way safety feature” — which I expressed is a totally laughable excuse and they should just admit their error. How can something that’s damaging the laptop case, trackpad and whatever else be a safety feature? How can something that is swelling lithium be safe?
    I’m tempted to purchase a new battery but I will keep this one and recycle on my own. But really I’d like to poke it and see if I can resurrect it.

    I’d like to learn if you did this and all is well. or not.

  63. Julia says:

    Also, are there any Canadian suppliers of these batteries (as in not apple)? The few stores I considered purchasing from no longer ship lithium batteries across the border…

  64. Kyra Kennedy says:

    Is there a class-action lawsuit somewhere? Tens of thousands? Sounds like a recall level to me. And should Apple be responsible for how the user uses the product? Well, should they not be responsible for producing a product that will not fail after somewhat a short life, and potentially in a dangerous way? I think that is what should be. Apple is definitely big brother, I hate my new iPhone (I resisted for a reason and now my hunch has been confirmed) and I constantly wonder what it could be doing to my brain. I feel the same way when i use the laptop. Is it cooking me? I’m here because my 17″ MBP also had the battery bloat. I would never have thought of that, I had no idea why how the trackpad could have moved like that. Also, yes, i remember that some of the little rubber washer thingys on the bottom are missing. But if those little rubber thingys provide enough clearance on the bottom to prevent this battery bloat issue, then it seems that when they fail, the battery fails? And if all it takes is one pull on a surface with pressure to jostle those little nubs loose, much like the track pad for the desktop model — and i have successfully reinserted those many times — if that is the singular issue? then those are some very expensive rubber nubs on the bottom of laptops! also, they didn’t mention that to us at the Apple store, or on the phone yesterday — also, yes, complaints complaints about the Apple lack of service — the run around on the phone, the time it takes to try and make a Genius bar appointment? good luck if you have moved and don’t have your paperwork with you with the serial number. it’s a little like somewhere awful — which is all around. so sad. what’s happening to humanity? i wish cellphones and laptops were never invented. i wish humans could just realize there is a ‘top’ — an that we have already reached it — then we can all work on trying to get along better with the rest of our time here. rather than worrying if our asses are going to be burned by the Apple in our pocket, like the teenage girl in Philadelphia. or if our batteries will spontaneously combust as we sleep because we didn’t know the battery was supposed to be ‘run down twice a month’?? really? is that a rule? because i didn’t know that. so thank you for your blog, thank you everyone for participating in it and helping to inform me, i personally appreciate it. but Apple got our money. i will never buy Apple again.

    • Paul says:

      Hi Kyra. I feel exactly the same about Apple…and mankind. I’m old enough (44) to remember the days when Apple was an innovative, struggling, fantastic company, producing wonderful computers way ahead of anything else (yes, I know Steve Jobs stole the ideas from Xerox). Their profits were pitiful and the threat of bankruptcy was an everyday presence at Apple. But that seemed to bring out the best in them – they were forced to create products that a select few would happily pay a premium for – not because they wanted to show off to their friends, or it was just the latest ‘thing’, but because it was a truly great product. I’m talking about the 1990s, when Windows was almost as hopeless and pathetic as Windows 8, and Macintoshes were just fabulous. Anyone who didn’t want to spend a day installing printer drivers, and had the extra cash to spare, would buy a Mac, and just plug their printer in and print.

      From the late 1980s until recently, I exclusively used Macs for work and home. I remember seeing someone on a PC typing a letter, and asking why they’d used all those different colours. They replied something like “Oh, blue is bold, red is italic, green is a serif font”. I was amazed that the majority of people were struggling with this total crap world dominated by PCs, where WYSIWYG was many years behind Macs. I did not know the concept of “What you see is NOT what you get” until I’d seen that pitiful PC.

      It is such a shame how Apple now just churn out total and utter crap, and even sadder how moronic people queue round the block to just lap it up. The longevity of this post and its comments is testament to the shoddy workmanship and cost-cutting that are hallmarks of modern-day Apple. How we all hate you, Apple.

  65. Steve Jobbed says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that I didn’t fall for Apple’s master plan back when Steve Jobs took over. When I saw the direction back to proprietary from conventional, I knew what they wanted to accomplish. They were fortunate to benefit from first mover advantage and sucked in millions of people who didn’t realize that an investment of Apple is painfully expensive to stay and to leave. Your iTunes music was your being shackled to Apple.

    Many years later and Android and Windows 10 are surprisingly good. In fact, Android is far superior to Apple when it comes to just drag and drop and it just works. Or you will find an app that works. Paying twice as much for Apple products which are lagging behind Oppo, OnePlus, Samsung and numerous other manufacturers is why non-Apple users continue to laugh. The Apple Watch – who on earth would buy a watch that can’t even tell time for one full day? Only the Apple sheep, and they would be willing to pay a stupid premium on a product that would be high even if it worked. But like the Apple Watch’s dismal performance, this exploding battery is expected behavior that should wake up people interested in Apple products to a terrible choice. Buy an Android or Windows product at half the price, equal if not better performance, and don’t worry about internal batteries like you would with an Apple device.

  66. Green says:

    Steve ROBBED!

  67. Green says:

    Wednesday, November 11, 2015 9:26:43 AM

    Question: “I wonder how many Apple customers are dealing with this.” -Swollen Battery impairing track pad function

    Answer: Few…why?….because when the trackpad issues pop up the GENIUSES tell you-“YOU NEED A NEW TRACKPAD”…only $45. plus installation….get it???
    APPLE HQ: …”never mention the 800 lb. Gorilla under the keypad!”….to the SHEEPLE.

    There is another possible fix…worked for me….took out the battery…would have a piece of cake…if APPLE had not hidden… on purpose… the last screw holding in the battery….I wrongly assumed there was glue holding it….NOPE those nasty A.H.s hid one last screw under a die cut label…cut especially to protrude over the last screw and hide it!


    Once the track pad is exposed…from under the battery…there is a large screw…centrally located on the track pad which…if you turn it gently and …not too much.. will bring back the sensitivity.

    Chalk up one for the SHEEPLE and none for APPLE…no $300. dollar bill for track pad, battery and installation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. George Schliermaaker says:

    When I still worked for a major manufacturer of smart phones, we did this on occasion. The BIG problem was that 50% of the time it would ignite the electrolyte in side the “silver bag” and there is NO way of putting it out. Once started it would burn inside the bag and under water.

    The electrolyte is very flammable.

  69. I’ve heard of people doing a variant of this to “de-gas” packs ready for disposal, apparently its safe if the cells have all been discharged below 2V as negligible energy will then be present.
    The cell thus treated is normally put in salt water and left for 48 hours then is relatively safe because the layers are then saturated with water and chemically inert.
    The big problem is the escaping gases are hydrogen, hydrogen fluoride (toxic!) and possibly methane from carbon electrode degradation.
    Also for resealing the pack I found that Kapton tape is pretty good but again please be aware that this is incredibly dangerous as it creates a weak point for water vapor and oxygen to get in.
    Oxygen + flammable gases = KAF*CK*NGBOOM !

  70. PhD says:

    I have a slight bulge on my 13 inch 2012 MBP A1278 with A1322 battery. The bulged areas have a flat black paper covering and of course my track pad can’t be clicked. Is this flat black paper part the part I should try puncturing? What about just putting it in a freezer for a day and then reinstalling it after it reaches room temp? Since mine is apart now, please excuse the obvious question but will the MBP work, plugged in without the battery installed? I’m appealing to Apple tomorrow for a new battery but not holding my breath since I’m out of warranty. Thanks!

  71. David says:

    I can’t be sure, but I think it should work without battery while plugged in. Not familiar with the MBP but I suspect the part that you want to puncture, if you decide to go that route, might be below the flat black paper.

    • PhD says:

      I found it will still work without the battery but at half the processor speed. I just bit the bullet and found what’s claimed to be a genuine OEM one on eBay (it even says ‘Designed by Apple in California’ on the photo of their battery) for $35 so I’m giving it a shot. There can’t be that many battery mfgs in China – it all seems like a big scam. Whether or not you pay $29 or $99 I’m starting to believe that it’s the luck of the condition of the particular battery that you get as to how good it works out for you. I had some eBay bucks so it ended up costing me $20. I’ll be looking at it and testing it carefully when it arrives. Thanks for your help!

  72. Paul says:

    Interestingly, I had a similar problem with the battery in my Samsung S4 Android phone. I’d bought the phone secondhand. I thought I’d managed to bend the phone from having it in my pocket (the whole thing looked bent). But then I took the battery out, only to find that it was swollen, like my MacBook Pro battery (that was what originally brought me to this post a couple of years ago). Luckily, the phone returned to its correct shape after I removed the swollen battery.

    I suspect it’s not the original Samsung battery, but a knock-off. A while ago I bought another, “100% genuine Samsung” battery from eBay (it is, too, a knock-off, and unsurprisingly the eBay seller is no longer registered). So I’m using that at the moment. I wonder if that will swell, too?!

  73. Lauren says:

    I came across this blog in hopes of finding an easier solution to my issue. Although for me it is my iPhone 5, apparently a common issue. So common that there was a recall but that time has come and gone for me. Had anyone attempted this procedure on a cell phone and had any luck? I assume the Li-ion batteries in a cell phone are of a similar nature to that of a laptop or notebook. This is the second iPhone that has swollen battery, the first was fixxed with the help of the “fix your phone” guys in the kiosk after a $120 bill, I wasn’t sure if it was worth trying to de-swell it in my own or just suck it up and spend the money on a new battery and possibly screen (possibility of being bent due to compact space).

    • Bob says:

      It is not worth it to try this on your phone’s battery. I change batteries myself on my iphones, it is not very difficult to access the battery. You just have to be careful when you lift the screen up because the top part of the phone is where the cables are connected. I usually use the top part of the phone as a hinge but don’t go past 90 degrees. Then you unscrew the plate holding the cables in place, pop off the cables, then remove the screen. I think $120 is quite a bit to replace a battery, especially when phone batteries are so cheap, you can get a genuine OEM battery with tools for less than $20. Check out for instructions. People used this piercing method because laptop batteries, especially Macbook batteries are expensive brand new. I used this method once but that was it. After that I bought grade B genuine batteries for a cost savings, these batteries would function almost as new but have a couple broken screw holes. Anyway, I hope this info helps.

  74. Pingback: Macbook Just Went Black - AllIphoneTips

  75. ikurusan says:

    does it not work to simply remove the battery and run on cable power? thnx

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