MacBook Pro "Service Battery" warning -- advice?

Looking for someone who’s “been there done that.”

My 13" MacBook Pro with Retina, early 2015 (model MacBookPro12,1) is working fine but I see the “Service Battery” warning:


which Apple’s Help interprets as:

Service Battery: The battery isn’t functioning normally, and you may or may not notice a change in its behavior or the amount of charge it holds. Take your computer in for service. You can continue to use your battery before it’s checked without harming your computer.

Apple charges $199 but I can get third party replacements from reputable suppliers like OWC/Newer Tech ($79) or iFixIt ($110). But the sites all say this is a difficult job (which I believe I can do since I have a lot of hardware experience).

Anyone have this experience and recommendations? For now, I am going to muddle along until the battery life is really a problem, and then…??


Those sites are right; this is a pretty involved repair. If you’re going to keep this machine for a while, I’d spring for the Apple cost. I would imagine the battery will only go downhill from here, but that may be a slow process.


I second @ismh 's suggestion. I’ve worked on several unibody MacBooks. I stuck to dealing with screws and cables after one “fight to the death” with Apple adhesive.

While I agree with the comments, your “I have a lot of hardware experience”, was my thinking as well.

SO, I went ahead and did it (with an iFixIt kit).
It WAS a PITA, and DID take quite a while, BUT
It works! All buttoned up, no extra cable or screws

Of course, your mileage may vary, however, it’s not impossible, especially if you have a lot of hardware experience.

Outstanding! Glad everything worked out.

Great replies, thank you all.

Interesting that on one of the sites, many of the customer reviews on the page say “easier than I expected.” And I’ve done this before with iPhone batteries, a Kindle screen (which was VERY difficult), and other laptop upgrades of various sorts.

Even so, the upside is I only that I save maybe $120 (minus an hour of my time) (plus the fun and challenge); the down side is I get a new MacBook. :grin:


I have replaced 3 batteries in rMBP (2x 2012, 1x2013) and done all sorts of work on our iMacs (2011) including graphics card repair. First time you do any of these is with trembling fingers and it takes a long time. But that changes quickly with the 2nd, 3rd etc. repair.

The batttery replacement for the rMBP is made difficult because of these being glued in. The recommended manner to remove the batteries is by using a desolver fluid - iFixit provides this including goggles and gloves. This fluid needs to be dripped and drizzeled just in the area you are working in and you should not let it spread. I did not like this, too easy to make a big mess. Instead I (strongly) recommend to “saw” the batteries out by means of a strong cord you slip underneath.

You would need a strong, thin cord (home depot, marker line will do fine). Cut a 2-3 foot piece hold the ends with both hands, slip the middle part under one of the battery sections and start moving it back and forth while applying some pressure. I found the easiest to do this is by pulling the cord towards me while making the sawing motion. You may use gloves because it will start to cut into your hands.

I can assure you, this sounds a lot more difficult then it really is. I had my first battery out in 30 minutes, no fluids nor goggles needed. The iFixit batteries I use are very good and with proper charge/discharge management now over a year later show close to original charge and some even better.

But if it does sound difficult, I would not waste time on any other method/site and just go to Apple with it. More money but their service is outstanding.

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Depends on whether you’re comfortable doing the repair yourself. If not I myself would choose to pay for the repair to be done by Apple. Just to be sure I could use it for a further 5-6 years.

I did it to my MBP /Retina. I got everything through ifixit & thankfully sprung for a magnetic sheet (has a writing surface too) to keep all my screws in place. I numbered every step & put the screws related to the step performed. Helpful when putting it all back in.
Read all the comments too & watch the video once before doing. Don’t fret over time, work at a pace you know will bring the best outcome.
I totally was fascinated doing this & chose a time I was most alert to “perform surgery.”
No regrets at all! Utterly unbelievable how our MBPs our designed!
Good luck if you do this!
Oh, if you have cats like me, choose a time they’re least likely to be interested in joining in.
I learned this the hard way replacing my mom’s iPhone battery. That’s another plus for the magnetic sheet as their leap on the table conveniently was where all the parts lay!

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If you have Apple replace the battery, it comes with a One Year Warranty. You may also end up with a new top case (keyboard/trackpad) as part of the repair.

Also if they break something, they will fix it at no cost to you!

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Also, going to Apple for the repair means there’s always the chance they’ll do it for free. I had the same “service battery” light on mine and it wasn’t under warranty, but they replaced it free of charge anyway. Was SUPER nice of them. No guarantees—and I can’t remember why they did it for me for free—but can’t discount that possibility.


I have the same machine and I got the same alert last week. I’m planning on replacing this computer next summer, so I’m sort of waffling on whether I should bite the bullet and take it in for repair.

There’s a benefit to MacBooks having bad keyboards! When my 2016 MacBook Pro was showing the “Service Battery” warning, I was able to get it replaced through the keyboard replacement program free of charge, saving $300.

The “Service Battery” warning is showing on my 4-year-old MPB. I suppose this will cause me to accelerate getting the new MPB that I budgeted for this year.

Meanwhile, until I get the new device, I assume that running the machine solely from the power adapter will mitigate the risk of the machine being completely non-functional.

Is that a valid assumption?


I think it is (and Apple’s explanation said as much). I am mindful, however, of a much older MacBook I had. When the batteries went bad, they would swell, warping the chassis. Not permanently, as it turned out. Haven’t heard of that happening in recent times so I think I’m just being paranoid.

Anyway, you can get the battery replaced. I was surprised to find that Apple will do it for less than all the third party repair places. Way cheaper than a new machine, of course. And it is not a trivial job so I would have Apple do it.

Dental floss? That’s what they use to remove the badge from an automobile.

Battery swelling is still a thing. (And it’s a good thing, because the other option is a fire.)

I discovered my mother’s MBPro had swollen batteries a few months ago (it rocked slightly on the table when typing). Took it to Apple to replace it (I do not want to deal with removing what I know is a damaged battery!). They agreed that the battery needed replacing & sent it off.

Then they discovered a new problem requiring replacing logic board. I said “no thanks” now I’ve got it sitting on a shelf waiting until I can wipe it and recycle it.

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By the way, the screen that pops up from the battery indicator explains:

Service Battery: The battery isn’t functioning normally, and you may or may not notice a change in its behavior or the amount of charge it holds. Take your computer in for service. You can continue to use your battery before it’s checked without harming your computer.

And mine does seem to be working. Runs at least several hours. So, no urgency, apparently.

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