Upgrade your battery
f you bought a laptop computer, chances are you want to be able to use it away from the mains at some point, so when the battery in your MacBook charge begins to droop, you might feel a bit peeved. Replacing the battery altogether, though, can be easy, depending on which model you have – and if it’s not a model that you can easily slot a new battery into or you don’t feel comfortable getting your hands a bit dirty, Apple can help you out.
(You can get an idea of the health of your battery with an app such as coconutBattery or FruitJuice – it might be that your battery itself is actually in pretty good shape technically, and that the only reason you’re getting short battery life is because of apps gobbling up your CPU. Check Activity Monitor or an app such as iStat Menus.)
Let’s start with those Macs that have self-contained batteries that you can just pop in and out – broadly, iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks and MacBook Pros prior to the Retina models. With these models, all you have to do is source a replacement battery – a small number are available from the Apple Store, but you
Imight have to opt for a third-party option such as from macsales.com – and then pull out the old one (sometimes after taking off a covering plate) and insert the new. And happily, it’s with these older Macs, whose original batteries will long since have worn out, that you’re likely to see the biggest, quickest difference, and it might just be that spending a hundred quid on a new battery means you’ll get your laptop back and so don’t need to drop ten times more on an entirely new machine. Newer Macs, sadly, have a sealed battery that can’t just be popped in and out like these. If you want to replace it yourself, the first thing you should do is browse the replacement guides on ifixit.com to see how big a job it is. For some models, it’s achievable with a little patience, but for others it’s a long and involved process, and unless you feel up to the challenge or enjoy tinkering with computers, you’re probably better off paying someone to do it for you. The good, news, though, is that the someone you can pay is Apple, or an Apple Authorised Service Provider.
If you have a model with a sealed-in battery (MacBook Air, MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009 and I upgraded the batteries on two MacBooks (a 2009 Unibody and a 2010 Pro), using third party cells rather than Apple’s own. They were a third of the price – £30 instead of over a hundred – but worked just as well. It gave my old laptops a much-needed life
extension! later), or MacBook Pro (Early 2009 and later) book it into an Apple Store and they’ll replace the battery for you. The charge isn’t small, but it’s not much dissimilar from the cost of Apple’s old selfcontained batteries, and the labour is included. Expect to pay £109 for a MacBook Air or nonRetina MacBook Pro, £149 for a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and £169 for a MacBook Pro with a Retina display. And this really is a battery replacement; it’s not like you might have seen with an iPod or iOS device where if they ‘replace’ a component – they reach into a drawer and pull out a new, reconditioned unit and swap them over. That’s good here because it means your data and any customisations you might have applied to your Mac will remain – though as always, you should have a backup, anyway. (A similar service exists for iOS device batteries; it’s £59.)