Your old MacBook Pro's battery could catch fire — here's how to check if it's OK

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Apple announced this week that it is issuing a voluntary recall on its 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display. According to the company, some units of the laptop contain a battery that can overheat. While we've all had our laptops run hot at some point — specifically when there are more than 30 tabs open in Google Chrome — Apple warns that in this case, the batteries can get hot enough to "pose a safety risk."

Overheating batteries are no joke, and there has already been at least one example of what happens when an at-risk MacBook Pro's battery goes unchecked. Earlier this month, musician White Panda shared a video of his 2015 MacBook Pro going up in flames from what he called "normal use." The artist said there was a small explosion that occurred just before he started filming. His machine can be seen with smoke billowing out of it. The outer shell of the machine appears to have cracked from the internal explosion and the scorching battery burned through part of the case, leaving parts of the silver body charred black. While White Panda confirmed no one was hurt in the incident, he noted on Reddit that the battery explosion was enough to trigger both smoke and CO alarms in his home.

The last thing Apple wants is a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 situation on its hands. Back in 2016, Samsung ran into an issue where the batteries in its popular line of smartphones exploded with surprising frequency — though any phone explosion is probably too many. In one case, one of the devices exploded on a plane and ended up grounding the flight before take off.

Apple clearly wants to avoid anything like that happening. Here's every you need to know about the recall and how to find out if your MacBook is affected.

What models of MacBook Pro are affected?

The recall specifically focuses on the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display that was first introduced in May 2015. According to Apple, affected models were sold "primarily between September 2015 and February 2017."

Apple said that no other model of the MacBook, including the 13-inch MacBook Pro model that was released the same year, is currently believed to be experiencing this issue.

How do I find out if my MacBook Pro is affected?

Apple is determining the affected models via serial number. The company has set up a support site where you can enter the serial number and find out if your machine is a part of the recall.

To find your serial number, click on the Apple menu marked by the Apple icon on the upper-left corner of your MacBook Pro's screen. Then click About This Mac. This will open up a screen that will tell you the model of your machine. If it is "MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)," you will want to check the serial number listed in the same dialog box. Copy the serial number and enter it on Apple's support page to find out if your laptop is part of the range of affected devices.

What do I do if my MacBook Pro is part of the recall?

First and foremost, stop using it. Apple is encouraging people using devices that may have the faulty battery to cease use entirely until the battery can be replaced.

Apple is offering to replace the battery for free on affected machines. There are a couple options for going through the replacement process, but no matter what you choose, your laptop is going to end up at an Apple Repair Center.

You can either choose to find an Apple Authorized Service Provider located near you and take your MacBook Pro to them, make an appointment at an Apple Retail Store to have them handle the machine or contact Apple Support to arrange to mail your laptop directly to the company. In all three of these cases, your laptop is going to be sent to an Apple Repair Center, where the battery will be replaced. Apple warns that it could take between one and two weeks for you to get your laptop back.