Apple says a battery fault could cause some MacBook Pros to catch fire - and is offering to replace batteries on affected units free of charge.

"A limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and product eligibility is determined by the product serial number," the company said in a statement this morning.

"Customer safety is always Apple's top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge."

Buyers should visit apple.com/support/15-inch-macbook-pro-battery-recall to see if their model is affected, and for details on product eligibility and how to have a battery replaced, free of charge.

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To confirm which model you have, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen, Apple says.

If you have "MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)," enter your computer's serial number on the program page to see if it is eligible for a battery replacement.

The affected laptops are a previous-generation design, and are not the same models as the current MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Those computers have a "butterfly" keyboard which has been criticized by Apple users for being unreliable, and those computers are currently covered by an Apple service program that replaces the keyboard for free if it starts malfunctioning.

Battery issues are not uncommon in consumer electronics. The most famous example of a recall associated with overheating batteries was Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which caught fire because of issues with its batteries.