Some Apple laptops can overheat so much they are unsafe, the company has warned.

It asked all owners of affected computers to stop using the MacBook Pros and return them.

"Apple today announced a voluntary recall of a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units which contain a battery that may overheat and pose a safety risk," the company said in an urgent note to customers. "The units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and can be identified by their product serial number.

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"The recall does not affect any other 15-inch MacBook Pro units or other Mac notebooks. Because customer safety is a top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using affected 15-inch MacBook Pro units."

It directed users to a special webpage that will allow them to check whether their computers are affected.

The recall comes a year after a battery issue was found with some 13-inch versions of the MacBook Pro. Despite the recall, the problem only involved expanding batteries and was not seen as a safety concern.

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