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Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 01:24 pm PT (04:24 pm ET)

MacBook firmware updates address inadvertent battery shutdown issue

Apple on Wednesday rolled out updates across its entire MacBook lineup to fix a problem that would cause the laptops' batteries to fail after a certain number of charge cycles.

Software Update


While the three updates released for the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and MacBook were designated with different version numbers, each targeted an issue where a notebook's battery would shut down or fail altogether after being charged more than 1000 times.

It is unclear how many users were affected by the problem, but Apple claims it was a rare occurrence.

On the company's Support Communities webpage, there are multiple forum threads dedicated to battery issues like those addressed in Wednesday's update, with users reporting failures with as little as 100 charge cycles. A charge cycle is described as a full discharge and recharge. An example of a full cycle would be a user draining their battery completely during a session and plugging in to recharge. Alternately, if a user discharges the battery to 50 percent and recharges fully, then repeats the process again, it counts as one cycle.

While battery life varies from model to model, many MacBooks produced since early 2009 are rated to last a maximum of 1000 cycles. For more information on a specific model's life expectancy, visit Apple's support webpage regarding battery cycle counts.

The MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.6 weighs in at 666KB, while the MacBook Air SMC Update v1.8 and MacBook SMC Firmware Update 1.5 come in at 982KB and 494KB, respectively. Owners can download the firmware through Apple's Support Downloads webpage or through Software Update.