I would like to ship a MacBook Air (M1 model released in 2020) from Japan to South Korea via EMS, but the EMS website says it is not possible to send a machine that has more than 2 lithium-ion batteries.

How many lithium-ion batteries the M1 MacBook Air contain? Also, does the adapter that one finds in the box have any lithium-ion batteries?


The answer is zero batteries in the adapter and the assembled laptop qualifies as UN 3481 product for shipping purposes.

The M1 Air has a built-in 49.9‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery, so it falls under UN 3481, Section II IMP:ELI

To elaborate, you are shipping a computer (portable electronic equipment) that contains one battery with multiple cells and this assembly is regulated differently than loose batteries included in a box (or spare parts for repair of an Air).

Here is the relevant section from a 30 page guide from UPS. Ask your carrier how they define portable electronic equipment if you are not sure if the shipping standard I have quoted doesn’t govern EMS website or staff.

enter image description here

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    I do not understand your first sentence "...zero battery for shipping purposes"; the second part of your answer clearly shows that, for shipping purposes, there is action required on OP part to properly label and ship the device. Perhaps you are referring to the exact question on the EMS or UPS website? To me at least, it was a bit confusing. – Vladimir Cravero Nov 26 '20 at 10:50
  • Hi @VladimirCravero my zero number is basically in response to a wrong wording or understanding that produced the phrase “ the EMS website says it is not possible to send a machine that has more than 2 lithium-ion batteries.” since there is no link to the EMS we don’t know. My advice is to affirm shipping a laptop under UN3481 and the power adapter has zero extra batteries. Does my edit clarify things for you? – bmike Nov 26 '20 at 15:11
  • Oh yes now it is much clearer! Thanks for taking the time to edit your answer. – Vladimir Cravero Nov 26 '20 at 16:06

From the iFixIt teardown of the new Air, it looks like there's 2 li-ion batteries, one on each side.

enter image description here

When I look at the Apple technical specs, it states:

Battery and Power

  • Up to 15 hours wireless web
  • Up to 18 hours Apple TV app movie playback
  • Built-in 49.9‑watt‑hour lithium‑polymer battery
  • 30W USB-C Power Adapter

I take this mean there's a single battery as it's written 'battery' and not 'batteries'. Maybe this is just one battery that's split in two, I don't know. Maybe others here who are more knowledgeable on this can edit this answer to add that info. Either way, I'm sure these are built in such a way as to be shippable to South Korea by major carriers.

I can't find any info on a battery in the power adapter. My guess is that there isn't a battery in there.

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    All of this is true, but in the end, any single Apple product always falls under UN 3481 - see my answer. The answer is zero batteries when you ship a whole device. This is precisely what happens when a definition changes between an engineer and a lawyer and a policy writer. – bmike Nov 25 '20 at 16:02
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    @bmike your answer is better than mine. I'll leave my answer here in case anyone finds it helpful. – fsb Nov 25 '20 at 17:17
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    I should have +1 -it is super helpful and it’s what OP asked, tbh – bmike Nov 25 '20 at 18:49
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    Electrically, it is a meaningless question whether this is "one battery split in two" or "two batteries". (So it's good that the other answer suggests this isn't actually the relevant question.) – Glenn Willen Nov 26 '20 at 3:50
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    Actually, electrically, battery and cell are two different, specific things. A battery is a group of 1 or more cells, so from the picture above it looks like we have two cells, and from the Apple website we can infer that they are part of a single battery. – Vladimir Cravero Nov 26 '20 at 10:46

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