Sources: MacBook Air battery replacements take only minutes

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Due to its ultra-thin profile, Apple's new MacBook Air was designed with an integrated 37-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery that is not user-replaceable. Though this has caused some initial concern amongst potential adopters, AppleInsider has learned that the replacement process is quite trivial.



According to people familiar with the new-generation notebook, there are no special tools or knowledge required to swap out the MacBook Air's battery, which Apple has billed its "thinnest ever" in a product. Instead, the process requires a single size-0 type phillips screwdriver and some diligence.



Once flipped upside down, the MacBook Air's bottom cover is easily unscrewed and removed, providing immediate access to the battery cavity. From there, the battery can be unscrewed from the chassis with the same screwdriver and unplugged from the circuit board with a simple tug -- it's not soldered to the board.



The entire process, according to those in the known, can be completed by any service technician in as little as three minutes.



For its part, Apple has announced its intent to offer a MacBook Air Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Program, which promises authorized replacements for US $129. The mail-in repair process normally takes 5 business days, the company says.



Given the simplicity of the upgrade, however, it's possible that Apple will in time offer the service on-demand at its retail stores. Similarly, third parties could also offer in-home do-it-yourself kits should they be able to acquire battery cells that meet Apple's standard for the MacBook Air.



More high-quality photos (1, 2) of the new MacBook Air.



There's no word, however, whether the latter process would void the notebook's warranty in Apple's eyes. In the meantime, the company recommends MacBook Air users follow these instructions for optimizing life span and battery life.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 222
    I prefer this over a removable battery, when yours degrades and you goto buy a new one you may as well wait a few minutes while they install it for you.....no biggie.
  • Reply 2 of 222
    This certainly seems to negate one of the major complaints about the box...people were imagining a nightmare scenario where an old battery would require going without the unit for days. Turns out if you can use a screwdriver you can do it yourself in minutes.
  • Reply 3 of 222
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    If the battery replacement is so easy, why doesn't Apple sell replacement batteries as a Do It Yourself kit? I don't think people are upset at having to use a screwdriver, not as much as they are upset that Apple will only allow their technicians to do it.
  • Reply 4 of 222
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    Trivial or not a user replaceable battery is vastly superior. Apple can design a thin laptop, but cannot design a user replaceable battery? What's wrong with this picture? I'm not up for the utter rubbish about how Apple could not incorporate it into the design. Rubbish.
  • Reply 5 of 222
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The entire process, according to those in the known, can be completed by any service technician in as little as three minutes.[/url][/c]



    You mean, ..."to those in the know"...\



    I believe that is the correct saying of that expressions...
  • Reply 6 of 222
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    Trivial or not a user replaceable battery is vastly superior. Apple can design a thin laptop, but cannot design a user replaceable battery? What's wrong with this picture? I'm not up for the utter rubbish about how Apple could not incorporate it into the design. Rubbish.



    User-replaceable anything costs more to design and manufacture, and takes up more room.



    As someone who, in the past seven years of laptop use as my primary machine, has never owned or used a second battery, I find the uproar over this to be bizarre. Are there folks who *need* this feature? I'm sure there are. But they're really not that high a % of the market, as I see it.



    Because, you know, it killed the iPod.
  • Reply 7 of 222
    ajmasajmas Posts: 552member
    All that is missing now are some pictures of the MacBook Air innards so we can all get a feel of how easy the battery is to change. Well that, and I would be curious to see how the thing is engineered



    Kickaha: The only times I have needed a battery replaced was when I was when Apple did a battery recall. If this ever happened to the MBA, then the cost of opening the box would be Apple's. So yep, I don't have a need to pull ot the battery all the time.
  • Reply 8 of 222
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post


    User-replaceable anything costs more to design and manufacture. Period.



    It's already overpriced so what's a few more dollars? Besides, it would may the unit more salable. And Apple can sell you spare overpriced batteries, so what's the issue? Period.
  • Reply 9 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    You mean, ..."to those in the know"...\



    I believe that is the correct saying of that expressions...



    You mean, ..."of that expression"...
  • Reply 10 of 222
    foobarfoobar Posts: 103member
    So the process is no harder than, say, upgrading your RAM...



    Oh man. I remember that one. It took forever to even find a fitting screwdriver for the MBP. A Philips 0 will absolutely destroy the screw. Believe me, I've tried. You need a Philips 00. And even with that the screws were inconceivably tight.



    I'm glad I upgraded to the max, as the latch is probably shut for eternity with the damage I've done to it.
  • Reply 11 of 222
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post


    Because, you know, it killed the iPod.



    So now we're comparing the iPod to the MacBook Air when it comes to batteries? A wee bit of a stretch? Just a wee bit? Since when do I do business on my iPod? I cannot help but think that there Apple shills among us.
  • Reply 12 of 222
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I knew it would be very simple to change! Now, they just need to release an external battery with a MagSafe power cord pass-through.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    If the battery replacement is so easy, why doesn't Apple sell replacement batteries as a Do It Yourself kit? I don't think people are upset at having to use a screwdriver, not as much as they are upset that Apple will only allow their technicians to do it.



    One could argue that Apple is then responsible for any damage to the innards caused by the replacement. It's better this way, anyone who can do it will do it, but how often has anyone changed a battery in a notebook?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    It's already overpriced so what's a few more dollars? Besides, it would may the unit more salable. And Apple can sell you spare overpriced batteries, so what's the issue? Period.



    It would also add bulk and perhaps weaken the structure. You don't think they experimented with removable batteries?
  • Reply 13 of 222
    Useful piece, thank you.



    However, the links on the apple.com/batteries/ page to post iCal battery 'exercise reminders' are broken. Nice idea, lousy execution.



    For this 100% Apple user, whose three purchases of Apple products in 2007 all suffered failures (iPhone earbud clicker, Airport card in the MacBook, Airport Extreme 'n' router) it is yet another reminder that Apple is sacrificing quality control for sales. Hardly a long term customer loyalty plan. I realize I am a sample of one, but none of my many Apple hardware purchases in the years through 2006 suffered failures.



    A little less hype and a little more attention to detail would go a long way, Apple. I really do not want to return to the Evil Empire.
  • Reply 14 of 222
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    This may be trivial for a customer that lives next door to an Apple Store, but it's a big, huge, gigantic pain in the ass for people that don't have one anywhere near them. It must be shipped to Apple, and they're without a laptop for 1-2 weeks.



    If it's so incredibly easy, why didn't Apple just make it user serviceable? Because they have created a whole new revenue stream with battery replacement. This in no way benefits the customer and in every way, benefits Apple



    Lame.
  • Reply 15 of 222
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    This may be trivial for a customer that lives next door to an Apple Store, but it's a big, huge, gigantic pain in the ass for people that don't have one anywhere near them. It must be shipped to Apple, and they're without a laptop for 1-2 weeks.



    If it's so incredibly easy, why didn't Apple just make it user serviceable? Because they have created a whole new revenue stream with battery replacement. This in no way benefits the customer and in every way, benefits Apple



    Lame.



    Apple didn't do it to make money. They did it to cut down on engineering and manufacturing costs, and to reduce the size and weight.



    While you are correct, that having to send any item in for repair is a pain, this is not to be one's main machine. Honestly, how many people will be sending it in to Apple for a battery replacement. How many times have you purchased replacement batteries for new computers. Most people buy new computers well before their battery ever fails.
  • Reply 16 of 222
    So it's "user-replaceable" like the "brakes" in my car. If I can go to an Apple Store and get it replaced in a half-hour, then that's enough time to enjoy a latte while I wait. Ok by me.
  • Reply 17 of 222
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I knew it would be very simple to change! Now, they just need to release an external battery with a MagSafe power cord pass-through.





    One could argue that Apple is then responsible for any damage to the innards caused by the replacement. It's better this way, anyone who can do it will do it, but how often has anyone changed a battery in a notebook?







    It would also add bulk and perhaps weaken the structure. You don't think they experimented with removable batteries?



    Does the $129 require an AppleCare warranty, on top of the price?
  • Reply 18 of 222
    Quote:

    So now we're comparing the iPod to the MacBook Air when it comes to batteries? A wee bit of a stretch? Just a wee bit? Since when do I do business on my iPod?



    I do business on my iPhone and its battery is not user replaceable. Ditto Air.
  • Reply 19 of 222
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Does the $129 require an AppleCare warranty, on top of the price?



    No, $129 is the out-of-warranty price. If the battery fails while under warranty, the price is $0.
  • Reply 20 of 222
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Does the $129 require an AppleCare warranty, on top of the price?



    No. You aren't paying for the service, you are paying for the replacement battery. Whether it's a 12" iBook battery or a 17" MacBok Pro battery, Apple charges $129 for all it's Mac batteries.
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