Take Care of Your MacBook's Battery to Extend Its Life

Updated on November 10, 2017
Kevin Alan Blake profile image

I love Apple devices and enjoy giving tips on how to use and maintain them.

Apple MacBooks are known for having an extensive battery life. This is thanks to the innovative technology that Apple is using. But even the best things come to an end. Sooner or later, the battery will degrade. In addition, there are some factors that might accelerate the battery degradation. Some examples include constant system overload, high temperatures, and excessive battery usage.

If you want to keep your MacBook's battery alive and well for a long time, be sure to check its health regularly. This can be done either via third-party apps like coconutBattery or via System Information in the macOS X itself. Here's how you do it.

  1. In the menu bar, click on the Apple icon and hold the Options key until you get the updated functions list.
  2. Once you're done with that, get to the System Information section. You can also get to the System Information from the Utilities folder or through the System Report.
  3. In the System Information window, choose the Hardware category and the Power option. There, look for the information stating Cycle count and Condition—it's located in the right part of the tab.

In terms of battery life, the cycle basically means draining the battery from 100% to 0%. Even if the drain is split between two recharging procedures (say you go from 100% to 50% and then recharge before going to 50% again), it counts as one cycle. The number of cycles left for the battery is essential as every lithium-ion cell has a limited cycle count. After they run out, the battery performance will drastically change for the worse.

Different battery models have various lifespans. If you're worried about wearing out the cycle count too fast, be sure to check the Apple battery life chart to determine how much time your power cells have left.

Quick Checking for the Battery Status

In case you're not worried about cycle counts, you can simply check the battery status from the battery icon in the menu bar. There are four battery status indicators ranked from the perfect condition to potential malfunctioning:

  • Normal.
  • Replace Soon. This one will appear when the battery is getting near the end of its lifespan.
  • Replace Now. This will show up when the battery performance drops to 80% of its initial level.
  • Service Battery. This is when the battery starts malfunctioning. You should have the battery checked out as soon as possible.

What Should You Do If Battery Is Failing?

If your MacBook is still under its one-year warranty, it's obvious that you should take it to the Apple Store to have the battery serviced or replaced. If the warranty has already expired, you will have to pay a fee for the same service. However, it is definitely worth it. Not only is using a faulty battery tiresome, but it can also seriously damage other parts of your MacBook.

In case your MacBook is very old (as well as the battery), the best solution would be replacing the device with the new one. This might seem like an expensive deal, but trying to repair an old Apple laptop might cost you even more in the long run. In some cases, the cost of the battery can go up to $150, which probably makes up most of its net value.

Simple Tips for Better Battery Health

The degradation of the battery is inevitable, but there are some general recommendations for extending the battery life and health.

  • Be sure to actually use the device while charging. This will help to reduce the cycle count.
  • The perfect operating temperature for the battery ranges between 62°F to 72°F (16°C to 22°C). Do your best to avoid extreme temperatures.
  • In order to save the battery from heat trap, remove cases while charging your MacBook.
  • Updating the software could also contribute to improving the battery health as updates often include features that save energy, therefore extending the power cells' life.
  • In case you store the device for a long time without turning it on, avoid charging the battery to full capacity. 50% would be more than enough for the proper battery state.
  • Keep your MacBook in a cool, moisture-free environment at a temperature lower than 90°F (32°C).
  • Adjust your MacBook settings to keep the energy consumption at a lower level. Check out the display brightness and decrease it to a comfortable level. Customizing the Energy Saver settings might also contribute significantly to increasing the battery life.

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