Tech for Troglodytes: Replace your Macbook battery?

Have an older Macbook in need of a new battery? Have you replaced a laptop battery on your own? How did it go?

My 2013 Macbook Air is a workhorse. It’s been all over the world, reliable and powerful. The time came though, as it does for all laptops, to change the battery.

How did I know? It no longer held a charge the way it used to. Sometimes it shut down unexpectedly, and would only boot up again when connected to a power source. Also, it told me:

A check on line confirmed Macbook Air batteries last about five years. Mine was almost seven.

The battery for my first (circa 2007) Macbook could be popped out of the case and easily replaced. Not Macbook Air. Its battery is inside the case and secured by 15 tiny screws. I’d been warned by Apple pros this is a job for experts. So, I called experts.

Ten tiny screws outside, five more inside holding the battery in place

Online sources said expect about a $130 charge to replace a battery, so, forewarned, I called the Simply Mac store in town. They left me on hold so long I gave up. The MacTonic Apple support shop answered their phone, and said yes, they’d replace the battery, but they were pretty busy. They could get it back to me in a week.

A week?

My machine is so old the “N” has worn off. Did I really need an expert?

Replacement batteries online range from $35 to $75. I ordered one in the mid-range, with a two-year warranty. It arrived, together with specially-sized screw drivers.


It was easy. Online videos demonstrate exactly how to do it. Here’s the one I used. It took about ten minutes. The machine booted right up, and is holding a charge just like it used to, seven years ago.

Battery disposal was easy at a local tech recycling facility, NextStep.

NextStep Recycling: the coolest business in town

If you have an older Macbook Air and want to replace your battery on your own you need:

  1. A new battery and custom screwdrivers (they should come together as a set), available on line
  2. Good light
  3. Reasonably steady hands
  4. 15 minutes
  5. A place to dispose of the old battery

Note: Replacing the battery on your own can invalidate your warranty, if you have one.

That’s it. Go forth Troglodyte, and replace.

I wonder if I need an expert to replace the N?


  • That is excellent to know! I’m past my warranty on my regular MacBook, so if this happens to me, I can probably find my way to a YouTube video like you did. I’m sorry that you didn’t have a good response from MacTonic, but don’t give up on them. They are Jedi knights, a whole different level from SimplyMac, and they don’t charge much. I haven’t gone anywhere else since my techie son said not to go anywhere else. 🙂


  • As a Troglodyte I’m happy to know how to do this, but afraid to try. I’m sure I would lose track of one of the little screws. However, this is a fabulous article. Thanks!


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