Swapping batteries on a 2011-era MacBook Air

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/13/swapping-batteries-on-a-2011-e.html


Thanks for sharing this! I, too, have the mid-2011, 11-inch MacBook Air which I love! I know the time is coming when I will have to do the same surgery! I upgraded the hard drive, which was harrowing enough. Good to know it is possible to do the battery, too!


iFixit guides are great for doing work like this. You’ll get a clear picture of where every part goes which should reduce the guesswork when you find unexpected damage like this.

In this case it would make sense to go off to the trackpad replacement section to see what the deal is with it.


So… I’m not thrilled about Apple’s latest offerings nor with ChromeOS, which I tried out over the summer and this fall. I have hopes for an un-sucked Macbook of some time this fall, but just in case that doesn’t happen, is there anyone reading these comments who has input on the sweet spot for Macbook Air models? I looked on ebay a lot last spring, but it was almost impossible to find a machine with 8GB of RAM, which is the minimum I’d consider. Do I have any hope of a decent used light machine? Or do I have to live in hope that Apple will release a machine without the recent failings*?

*only one port, funky keyboard are my main worries.

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so, the story starts with how you miss the good old days of batteries, then you complain about a 7 year old battery only having 75 minutes of battery life?

If you have the money, Apple’s (never advertised and poorly known) refurbished and discontinued store should always be your first stop.

In stock right now, you can get a refurbished 2017 macbook air with 8gb of ram and 256gb of storage for $1019.

Also of interest are sites that will alert you when a specific product becomes available on Apple’s refurb store, like this one:


I don’t blame you, but damn - the 12" MacBook would do you just fine.

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So, for the savings of $69, you have swapped the one component that could literally destroy your beloved laptop? Sorry, but using non-OEM power-supplies inside computers isn’t worth the savings.


Which have been in use for more years than I can remember offhand. I got a set of various pentalobe drivers for $2 on Amazon.

As you discovered with any ultra slim notebook, the issue is rarely “just” swapping one part. Anyway glad you got it all working in the end.

FWIW I have the same laptop and mine got MAJOR fat battery right at the end of 2016… I did upgrade to an MBP but kept the 2011 11" MBA and replaced the battery for days when my back hurts. Apple Store charged me about $110 if I recall right.

I think that’s a YMMV situation. Apple has had its own problems with batteries, and I’ve used aftermarket batteries from established retailers for a PowerBook 150, Wallstreet G3, iBook G4, and MacBook Pro 2009 with no incident.

On that last one, I’m very happy because it’s allowed me to continue using my MBP09. If it weren’t for minor hardware limitation keeping Apple from giving it OS updates, I wouldn’t even be considering a newer machine. (And it’s the inability to upgrade that makes me dubious about new machines; I tend to get attached to my hardware.)

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How far back does Apple offer battery replacements?

Paying them (I think $130 for an out-of-warranty battery replacement on a MacBook air) isn’t such a bad deal to avoid some exciting 3rd party battery issues; and to make whatever fiddly breakage might occur during the swap their problem.

If they don’t do the 2011 anymore, though, that’s not really a choice you have. Maybe you can find a new old stock Apple battery; but the provenance of a part that the vendor hasn’t offered in a while tends to be a little murky(plus, even if it has been sitting on the shelf since Apple produced it; rather than being a remanufactured or just fraudulently labelled unit, batteries don’t have great shelf lives).

Does Apple have a defined time period before support declares a product EOL? Does it depend on how quickly successor models were introduced?

IIRC it is generally 5 years but don’t take that as written in stone, I dont work for Apple.

Note I generally get at least 7 years out of their computers. I’m now on a 2011 iMac thats still going strong.

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