PhotoThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned certain Apple MacBook Pros from commercial aircraft, branding them a potential fire hazard.

The decision follows Apple’s warning that some lithium batteries in the computers posed a fire risk and issued a recall. The FAA said once it was informed of the recall, it alerted airlines to be on the lookout for the laptops and to keep them off aircraft.

The regulatory agency also urged airlines to refer to 2016 guidance about electronics with recalled batteries. The FAA says the laptops with the batteries were not to be allowed in aircraft cabins nor in cargo holds in stowed baggage.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency was first to issue a safety warning about the laptop batteries, informing airlines in early August that devices with recalled lithium batteries must be switched off and not used during flights.

The Apple laptops subject to the ban are a variation of the 15-inch MacBook Pros sold between September 2015 and February 2017. The affected machines were recalled in June after Apple said a limited number of the older machines could “overheat and pose a fire safety risk.”

Free replacement battery

Consumers who own one of the affected MacBooks will get a free replacement battery. To determine if your machine falls into that category first check to see which 15-inch MacBook Pro you have. 

From the Apple menu, choose “About This Mac” and check to see if your model is MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch, mid 2015. If you have that model, enter your computer's serial number to see if it is eligible for replacement.

“If your MacBook Pro is eligible, please stop using it and follow the instructions to have your battery replaced,” Apple said in a statement.

Replacement Process

Apple has provided the following instructions for battery replacement:

Choose one of the service options below to have your battery replaced. In all cases, your device will be sent to an Apple Repair Center for service. Your MacBook Pro will be examined prior to any service to verify that it is eligible for this program. Service may take 1-2 weeks.

  • Find an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

  • Make an appointment at an Apple Retail Store.

  • Contact Apple Support to arrange mail-in service via the Apple Repair Center.

Be sure to back up all data before taking your MacBook Pro in for service.

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