MacBook Pro Battery Replacement - Timing

Good afternoon!

My wife’s 2017 MacBook Pro has been complaining for some time that the battery needs to be replaced, and I have a Genius Bar appointment for tomorrow. (The Apple Store is conveniently only a couple miles from the house.)

Having never done this before – I’m a lifelong desktop guy – does anyone know the timing on this sort of operation? Do they generally have the batteries and do the repairs in-house and while you wait? Or will they take it and send me away for a day (or two, or five) and then notify me when they’ve gotten it done?

(I know for iPhone battery replacements they do it while you wait, and for iPad screen replacements they swap for a refurb, but I don’t know about laptop work.)


Dave Scocca

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Both the 13 inch and 15 inch MacBook Pros are “VIntage” products so you may have a wait of a week or so while they get parts.

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At this point it’s hard to recommend a battery replacement on an almost 7 year old machine unless budget is really a limiting factor. With an Air at 999 or 109o depending on M1 or M2…that really seems the way to go and either will far outperform a 2017 MBP and have a better display.

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This is a special case. It’s officially my wife’s laptop–but since Covid we’re both WFH and she uses her work-issued Windows laptop (which occupies her desk) for almost everything. Right now she uses the MBP rarely for one or two things for volunteer activity, I use it when a kid is home sick or something and I need to Remote Desktop to my work VM from somewhere other than my desk (where my Mac Studio lives), and the 9YO uses it to run Minecraft Java Edition (he usually uses Bedrock Edition on his iPad, but sometimes he wants to do something he’s seen on YouTube that’s only in JE). At this point, $250 to keep it functional for another year or two is probably worth it.

In a year or two, we’ll likely assess needs and buy another laptop. But we’re not up for that now.

I had the battery replaced on my 2015 MBPr 2 years ago. They sent it out but it came back quickly. My magsafe was so hot to the touch while charging you could nearly get burned on it and I’d complained about it to them in the past, and they just kept replacing my chargers. The battery was the problem. And I’m still using the machine.


Apple repair orders often say 3-5 days but that is highly subjective and dependent on a number of factors.

Before I write my own recent anecdote, I would strongly encourage you to check and capture your system specs and battery values before bringing the laptop to Apple. Open APPLE > About This Mac and take a screenshot. Click “System Report…” and take another screenshot. Click “Power” from the left-hand column and screenshot that info. Send/copy those screenshot files to another device for reference. Among other things, you can later compare the “Power” specs to confirm there is a new battery installed (look at “Cycle Count” on the right side. It should be a single-digit number.)

Also do a full backup as they require the original SSD is installed before they will do anything. If you are running a macOS version that is NOT the latest or final supported version, and do not want it updated, you need to tell them. Be sure they put that on the repair order and tape a note to the lid with any details or directives.

When you get the laptop back, if you have time, ask to test the ports, headphone jack and speakers before you leave the store. You can also do this at home, but be sure you do so and also that all keyboard buttons are working. Verify your system and important apps are opening correctly.

To install a new battery, Apple will have to swap out the entire top case including keyboard (but not the display/lid). Since 2013, MacBook Pro batteries are glued onto the top case. A foolish design flaw.

I had a 2014 MBPro battery replacement ($200) done last year at the Stanford Apple Store. Took 3 days to get an appointment. Took 8+ days to get the part after I brought the laptop to the Apple Store. Took another 5-6 days before the laptop was ready for pickup (partly due to some communication issues).

Apple refused to estimate the repair timing or order the part in advance, even though I provided the model, serial number and said we were paying specifically for this procedure. I had to make an appointment, show up and then everything started cold from there. The repair order showed an estimate of 3-5 days.

The real unfortunate part was that on pick up of the laptop, there were obvious mistakes. The minor one was the use of incorrect screws for the lower, rear plate so they stuck out a bit and scratched any surface. I fixed this myself with spares. The not-so-minor issue was that the right side ports were completely dead (USB and HDMI). Either the repair tech forgot to reconnect that cable, or something was damaged. It would have taken 30 seconds to test those ports, but they did not. There was also clearly damage or a short in one of the speakers.

I wanted to add to this - I have a thread on my own experience 2 years ago too.

I brought the machine in for an estimate, but brought it back home to get the bootable backup done and setup a spare machine to work on. Meanwhile they had to repair order ready to go and the battery was ordered. I will say it was done very quickly once I brought it in - something like 2 days.

My problems started when I picked it up. I got it home and could see where they’d wiped the screen down leaving streaks. Due to the different lighting between the store and my house, it wasn’t really obvious in their lighting. Remember this was back in 2021 where they heavily cleaned anything coming in due to covid - and maybe they still do.

While I got the sideways marks off the monitor, there was still a whole section that was a mess. I brought it back in (all this in mid-December which is a crazy time to be at an Apple Store if you don’t need to be!). When I went back to talk about the screen they ran a single use very wet wipe over it and I actually tried to stop the guy, saying I’d never used anything wet on the screen because I thought you weren’t supposed to. I’ve always regretted not picking up one of those packets, and 2 days later they were gone from all the tables.

They said the screen was delaminated and that it had been that way when I brought it in.

Long story short, it took a chat with a lawyer, a couple more visits and a really nice manager who took the time to get on the phone with Cupertino to discuss my situation. They had two pictures they took upon intake but they were not very good. I had random pix as well that we compared to. They eventually claimed my monitor had minor traces of delimitation in two very tiny spots on an edge in their pictures (which I could never see). When I got it back it was virtually unusable. They replaced it but it wasn’t fun.

They had noted every nick and scratch on the machine and had me sign off on it, but when pressed they said delimitation was “wear and tear” and that’s why it wasn’t on the waiver. If they had seen it I’m not sure why they didn’t try to sell me a new screen while they had it. I suggested they change their policy on that and the manager agreed.

I truly believe it was wiped down with something not compatible with the screen. I had cleaned the screen with a cloth before I brought it in but they always did that extra wipe before they touched it.

Weirdly, I recently had what looks like a bad pixel show up. It’s actually a pixel-sized raised area and I have no idea what it and am afraid to poke at it too much.

Also on a semi-related topic, I picked up a 27” Cinema Display last week, and when I met the guy to buy it, I could see swipe marks from where he cleaned it before meeting me. Yes I had flashbacks. It seems ok so far. I don’t think it’s retina though, just glossy.

Anyway my advice is, besides a backup, to ask them more than once if they noted everything wrong with the machine including wear and tear items.



Update: dropped the MBP off at the Apple Store Tuesday morning around 10:30. UPS returned the fixed laptop to me Thursday afternoon around 2:45. Everything seems to be in working order. That was impressively fast!



Yay!!! When I got the email that mine was back, I actually wondered why I spent the time to setup the backup machine. And I did mine the same time of year so I found it really impressive that it was returned quickly during the holidays.

Enjoy the new battery :)

Good to hear both of your experiences went so well. Hope for the best, plan for the worst (just in case). :thinking: