Why is my laptop keyboard or touchpad bulging?

Updated: 10/01/2023 by Computer Hope

If the laptop keyboard or laptop touchpad is bulging or swelling, it indicates that the laptop's Li-ion battery is defective. This swelling is caused when the electrolyte that separates the battery's layers changes into a gas. The gas causes the battery to fill up like a balloon over time. As this happens, the batteries enlarge and cause the laptop keyboard, touchpad, or case to protrude or split apart. If you notice this happening, backup important information on your laptop and stop using it to prevent further damage.

Is a swollen battery dangerous?

According to HP (Hewlett-Packard), a swollen battery does not present a safety or fire issue. It results from the generation of gasses per the normal degradation of the battery cell over time.

Although manufacturers like HP work to make the batteries as safe as possible, the battery could continue to swell if left unfixed and cause more damage to the laptop. Also, if the laptop was left somewhere it could be dropped or not handled properly, which may pose a risk.

Replacing a swollen battery

If the laptop is still under warranty, contact the laptop manufacturer for service options. If the laptop is no longer under warranty, you can still contact the manufacturer for repair or take it to a repair shop to have it serviced.

Keep the following in mind when having the laptop and its battery serviced:

  • We recommend an expert technician handle the battery replacement. If the laptop is opened improperly or the battery is not handled correctly or punctured, it can be a fire risk and is hazardous.
  • If the bulging damages the laptop chassis or any other part, additional replacements will be required.
  • If the battery swells too much, it may cause so much damage that it may be cheaper to buy a new laptop.

If you're disposing of the battery or laptop, it must not be taken to a recycling center or thrown away in the trash. Instead, a swollen battery should be taken to a local e-waste center. While being transported, it should also be stored in a container to help prevent it from being punctured.

Is it safe to use a laptop with a swollen battery?

A swollen battery usually does not cause the laptop to stop working. However, it should only be used temporarily to back up important information. After information is backed up, turn it off, and place it in a safe location until it can be repaired or replaced. It's also important not to continue to charge the battery, so keep it unplugged.

My smartphone or tablet is bulging

Any lithium-ion battery-powered device, including a smartphone, smartwatch, ebook, and tablet, can expand or bulge. If you have any bulging electronic device, stop using it, don't charge it, and place it somewhere safe until it can be disposed of or replaced.

What manufacturers have encountered battery swelling?

All manufacturers using Li-ion batteries have had products with battery swelling. These manufacturers include Apple, ASUS, Dell, Google, HP, Microsoft, Razer, Samsung, etc. This problem is not unique to a specific manufacturer; it's the battery.

What causes batteries to swell?

Generally, the battery's age causes most batteries to swell. However, excessive heat and overcharging can expedite the process.