The consumer electronics company said the problems do not present a safety hazard, and MacBook owners could continue using the batteries bought with the machines or purchased separately for backup. The problem batteries were sold between February 2006 and April 2007.
By installing the software fix, owners of MacBook and MacBook Pro systems with Intel Core Duo processors would get extended repair coverage on the battery for up to two years from the date of purchase of the computers.
Problems associated with the batteries included them not being recognized by the computer or the battery not charging when the notebook is plugged into an AC outlet. Also, the batteries could exhibit low-charge capacity or runtime when the battery is in fact fully charged. The battery pack could also appear visibly deformed.
If the battery continues to perform poorly following the software update, Apple is offering to replace it at no charge through an Apple retail store, authorized service provider, or the company's support contact center.
Problems associated with lithium-ion batteries used to power notebooks are not unusual in the industry. Computer maker Acer last week recalled 27,000 Sony batteries that presented a potential fire hazard. Lenovo last month recalled 205,000 potentially dangerous batteries built by Sanyo Electric.
Last year, incidents involving Sony batteries bursting into flames sparked a global recall of more than 10 million batteries used in notebooks from several manufacturers, including Apple, Dell, and Lenovo.