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

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.

mbp 15 retina
Due to a severe constraint of top case assemblies with glued-in 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 a Retina display. The policy doesn't apply to any 13-inch MacBook Pro, any Late 2011 or older MacBook Pro, any Late 2013 or newer MacBook Pro, any MacBook Pro without a Retina display, or any MacBook Air.

Secondly, the MacBook Pro must be in need of 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. Under the "Health Information" section, the condition should say "Service Battery" or an equivalent status.

As a rule of thumb, the battery should typically have a full charge capacity below 80 percent, which can be estimated with a tool like coconutBattery. The battery's charge cycle count may also be a factor. Only Apple's diagnostic test will ultimately determine if the battery requires servicing.

Since the process appears to differ on a case-by-case basis, each customer's mileage may vary. 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, Spain, 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. Booking a Genius Bar appointment through the Apple Support website is recommended.

Update: In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple has informed Genius Bar employees and Apple Authorized Service Providers that it is actively working to rebuild worldwide supply of top case assemblies with batteries for Mid 2012 and Early 2013 models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Apple's memo says, effective July 26, service inventory of top case assemblies with batteries are now available for new repairs. The directive adds that MobileGenius, the service and support tool that Genius Bar employees use on the iPads they carry around, has stopped presenting messages about delayed repairs.

For all new repair requests, Apple advises Genius Bar employees and Apple Authorized Service Providers to order the necessary inventory. Apple advises its service providers to inform customers that the inventory should arrive within 15 business days of the part order, corresponding with early August.

Apple's memo today appears to mark the end of the company offering outright exchanges for newer MacBook Pro models. Many users on MacRumors and Reddit have confirmed Genius Bar employees are now informing customers that battery inventory is available in 15 business days as instructed.

It's unclear if Apple Stores will honor exchanges initiated prior to July 26 that are still being processed.

Related Roundup: 14 & 16" MacBook Pro
Tag: GSX
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

BornAgainMac Avatar
68 months ago
Neat. Those older Macbook Pros have a built-in Dock on the side.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
indiekiduk Avatar
68 months ago
they'd have to pay me extra compensation to take a touch bar model as replacement!
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
im_to_hyper Avatar
68 months ago
How many of ya'll are now quickly scouring eBay???
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
camnchar Avatar
68 months ago
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.
I'm sure they have tons of them lying around.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
liamsterbins Avatar
68 months ago
Can confirm this and was likely one of the first to be given this exchange back in May. It wasn't until a week after I sent in my computer for a battery replacement (that was supposed to be 3-5 days total) that they informed me of the supply constraint and that a program just launched so that I could get a newer refurbished computer for the same cost of the battery.

In my case though a week turned into nearly a month after they repeatedly messed up and lost the computer.

Needless to say my 2012 rMBP turned into a 2015 rMBP with double every spec except the CPU which was still improved. Free of charge. I was disappointed in Apple for such a horrendous experience but in true Apple fashion they went above and beyond to make it right.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
winglet69 Avatar
68 months ago
I find it interesting how some people are upset they didn't get a free new laptop when they went to get their battery replaced. Something they previously didn't know was even a possibility is suddenly their "right".

This truly is the age of entitlement. It's a bit sickening, really. :confused:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...