Causes and Precautions of Swollen, Exploding MacBook Pro Batteries

After a few days since Apple recalled 2015, 15” MacBook Pro batteries, we all seen that these MacBook Pro users experienced swelling batteries, burns, smoke, and the battery catching on fire. But in this article, we’ll go in-depth on how MacBook batteries swell up, what to do if you encounter a fiery battery explosion and how to safely dispose or handle the battery.

Causes Of Exploding MacBook Pro Batteries

Photo via NeoGAF 
To start it off, there are many factors that can engorge and ignite a MacBook Pro battery. They depict of overcharging your MacBook, leaving it in an extremely hot space (such as a car glovebox), physical damage and fake, counterfeit, non-Apple batteries. Overcharging a MacBook Pro battery can incur distress in the cells, causing an overreaction named “outgassing”. This causes the battery to form noxious gases inside the membranes and layers, which creates a harmful pocket of gas inside it.

Impact on the MacBook can cause the battery to engorge as well. This includes punctures to the battery and accidentally opening it. When the outer layers of the lithium battery are opened, air can react with the battery contents, which turns into harmful gases enough to incinerate the battery. This can cause the battery to catch on fire.

Next, your MacBook Pro can explode if you leave it in hot temperatures. Leaving your MacBook in scorching heat such as a car glovebox and a room without ventilation, windows or fans can cause heat to pack into the internals, potentially causing the battery to heat up and explode. So when you go to work, don’t forget to carry your MacBook with you!

Lastly, a counterfeit, defective and non-Apple battery can lead to explosion and many battery problems. This means that the battery may not be able to utilize its own ions to power the MacBook, lack overcharge protection and drain very easily. That’s why you should always get your MacBook Pro battery replaced by a trusted, gentle and genuine Apple Genius at your local Apple Store.

What To Do When Your MacBook Pro Battery Explodes

Photo via iFixit
Now let’s move on to the next section of what to do when your MacBook Pro battery explodes or gets swollen. When you see a weird, burnt smell coming from your Mac, separation from the chassis, popping noises and smoke, it means that your MacBook is catching on fire. Stay out of your MacBook Pro when it explodes, put sand on it until the flames lessen off. If you accidentally punctured the battery during a repair procedure on your MacBook, remove the battery and put it in a fireproof container such as a metal container or bucket filled with sand. Take your MacBook Pro outside and let the fumes escape until the smoke dies down. After you spend at least a few minutes outside trying to get the smoke out from your MacBook, go to your local Apple Store and see an Apple Genius IMMEDIATELY. They’ll take care of your MacBook Pro, replace the MacBook or replace the battery. These options depend on the severity of the damage and warranty.

On the other hand, if it’s just the casing misaligned, unusually bent, separated or the battery appearing bloated, then you have a swollen battery. You have to remove the battery and replace it as soon as possible before it swells up more and explodes. This can all be done at your local Apple Store, by booking a Genius Bar appointment on the Apple website. Your Genius will replace the battery, trackpad and any other parts that are damaged within the bulged up battery.

Disposing of, Handling and Safety of MacBook Pro Batteries

Now you’re done dealing with the flames and smoke seeping out of your MacBook Pro, right? But if you’re deciding to throw the swollen battery away and replacing it yourself, then there are some precautions to the handling, disposal, and safety of exploded batteries.

Safely handling a MacBook Pro battery throughout repairs prevents injury to yourself and to your Mac. This includes wearing safety goggles and gloves to prevent these harmful battery chemicals from contacting your skin, which causes burns. Never puncture or open up a battery, because it can ignite and explode! Always drain your MacBook Pro to at least 20% or below so you’ll have a lesser risk of battery fires. Never put water on an exposed battery in repair procedures, because it can react to battery ions and explode as well.

If you’re disposing of a battery, regardless if it’s swollen, exploded or not, then never dump it in the household trash, a compost pile and a recycling bin. All of these things go through environmental processes, which can potentially explode the lithium-ion battery and ignite in the processing facilities. In addition, your battery can also harm the environment and cause a hazardous disaster in the facility.

The best thing to recycle your MacBook Pro battery is to recycle your MacBook Pro to a local e-waste center or trade in your MacBook Pro at your local Apple Store for an upgrade to a newer MacBook. These places can safely deal with hazardous materials in iOS devices and Macs, such as batteries and many more. You can also get Apple Store credit if you trade in your exploded MacBook at an Apple Retail Store.

To sum it up, MacBook Pro batteries are considered hazardous parts and it should be handled, treated and disposed of carefully. If your MacBook Pro battery swells up, ignites or explodes, take it outside, let the smoke and flames dissipate, put it in a fireproof container and see an Apple Genius IMMEDIATELY for a battery replacement and further evaluation. On the other hand, MacBook Pro batteries can ruin the environment if it’s disposed at local waste centers!

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