More battery misery - This time affecting Apple users

More battery misery - This time affecting Apple users

Summary: Apple is recalling 1.8 million lithium ion notebook batteries after receiving reports of nine units which seriously overheated, resulting in two users receiving minor burns.

TOPICS: Hardware

[Updated: August 26, 2006 @ 2.35 pm]

Apple narrows down the serial number range if the batteries recalled.  For more information see:


Apple is recalling 1.8 million lithium ion notebook batteries after receiving reports of nine units which seriously overheated, resulting in two users receiving minor burns.

This is the second biggest recall in U.S. history, coming a little over a week after Dell recalled 4.1 million lithium ion batteries for an identical issue (which, coincidentally, was the biggest recall in U.S. history) because of a similar fault.  This recall affects the iBook G4 and Powerbook G4 series, sold between October 2003 and August 2006 (these use PowerPC CPUs made by IBM Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc).  The recall does not affect the MacBook and the MacBook Pro.

At the root of this recall again are lithium ion batteries manufactured by Sony.  The recall involves 1.1 million systems sold in the U.S. and 700,000 sold overseas.

Here are the details that I currently have:

The recall is for batteries used in the following notebooks:

  • 12 inch iBook G4
    Battery model number: A1061
    Battery serial number: ZZ338 to ZZ427, 3K429 to 3K611, and 6C510 to 6C626
  • 12 inch PowerBook G4
    Battery model number: A1079
    Battery serial number: ZZ411 to ZZ427, and 3K428 through 3K611
  • 15 inch PowerBook G4
    Battery model number: A1078 and A1148
    Battery serial number: 3K425 to 3K601, 6N530 to 6N551, and 6N601

How to identify a recalled Apple notebook battery

If your system is affected you should stop using the battery immediately!  Remove the battery and contact Apple for details of how to get a replacement (you can continue to use the notebook using the AC adaptor).

Apple contact details:

Topic: Hardware

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  • What if

    There was already damage and you can't identify the battery?
    • Then ...

      ... I guess you know the battery was one being recalled ... :-)
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • No really, I'm serious

        My apartment burned down and I had one of those systems. This happened on August 3rd of this year
        • Have the Fire Dept ...

          ... sugegsted that the fire was started by your laptop? I can see why you're wondering if it's the cause!

          Was your notebook plugged in at the time?
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
          • NO

            The fire department can't tell WHAT caused the fire. The only thing that they can tell me is that *I* didn't start the fire and that because there was no suspicion of arson then they will not be doing a thorough investigation. It was burned THAT badly. I did NOT know an apartment could go up that fast but believe you me it went up like a tiki torch. What amazes me about my town is that they will spend over 2 million dollars to try Michael Jackson, and then let him get away scott free, but they can't spend a few thousand dollars to inspect everything?
          • Yeah , true ...

            ... glad you're OK though.
            Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Did you register the computer when you bought it?

      Perhaps from the serial number they can trace the battery that was supplied with it.
      tic swayback
      • I believe so

        I'll have toi wait and see what happens with Apple
        • Hope it goes well for you ...

          I'm interested in knowing how this works out for you ... my email address is
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
          • Thanks

            And I will. Mine is
  • ZOMG!11!

    This is an abomination!
  • Battery recall

    I continue to be dumbfounded by the number of users who have created unsafe conditions and are passing the blame off onto the battery manufacturer. The instances I have seen of over heating batteries were caused by UNSAFE USERS who were not careful in placing the batteries in the cavity of the laptops. These batteries were poorly designed when the engineers failed to take into account the brutish and forceful ways of users. The terminal contacts should have been placed in such a manner as to not be in a position where things(food, dust, paperclips, staples ETC) could lodge in the small areas between contacts and then replaced into the units. These Lithium-Ion cells are quite powerful and can hold a tremendous amount of power. When foreign matter gets across the contacts, they will heat up quite quickly and melt the seperators between contacts. Both DELL and APPLE failed to take into account that most but not all users are totally unaware of proper handling. Numerous external power modules will get pretty warm when charging and shorts across either battery terminals or terminals in the laptop itself will result in spectacular failures. What strikes me as very hazardous is the users failure to recognize this and pull the plug or unmount the batteries in question. The photo of a laptop sitting on a table with flames issuing forth makes me wonder how long they let it smoulder before the flames broke out and why no one unplugged it before it reached that point???
    • I know what you mean

      People are ignorant of the power that a big Li-Ion battery holds. Abusing one is asking for trouble. Similarly, allowing a notebook to overheat is a bad idea, because given all those unstable compounds inside a battery, it's possible for things to go wrong in a big way.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Just my 2? worth . . .

        I suspect the problems started with the 'lay-in' battery
        arrangement, as from what has been suggested re: foreign matter
        finding its way into the battery well and on to the contacts. I does
        appear that the 'end-load' type (like the G3 Wallstreet/Lomabrd/
        Pismo variants) had much less (if any) issues. Mind you, this is pure
        specualation on my part and I have no idea on the physical layout
        of a Dell unit. Any one have any better insight on this?
  • laptop battery

    I bought a replacement battery for my iBook about a month ago from and it works great. Is there any reason to think that a replacement laptop battery would be any worse than the manufacturers, in this case Apple?