Frequently Asked Questions About MacBook Batteries

Many MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air owners want to know how to properly use and maintain their batteries. But there is a lot of bad information online. Learn what to expect from your MacBook's battery, what you should and shouldn't do to prolong battery life, how to tell if there is a problem, how to get a replacement and how much it may cost.

Comments: 27 Responses to “Frequently Asked Questions About MacBook Batteries”

    Laverne Lachapelle
    5 months ago

    Another very useful video, Gary. You might have mentioned that in may Apple laptops replacing the battery is an easy thing to do oneself and that iFixit.com has terrific instructions on how to do so. By the time the vast majority of batteries have failed, your laptop is well out of warranty so no worries about voiding one’s warranty

    Ed Cupman
    5 months ago

    Very interesting video. What about battery usage with iPads? I have an iPad pro that needs charging daily.

    Jo-Ann Fairbanks
    5 months ago

    Gary,
    GOOD stuff. Timely; I just ordered a replacement from OWC for my Early 2011 15” MacBook Pro based on “Service Battery.” (I find the Other World Computing (OWC) video easier (than -iFixit) to see, understand, and with additional important details, like the screws are different lengths…). I’ve received the battery and within the instructions, they include the reminder of doing battery recalibration after instal as well.
    THANKS,
    Fan Jo-Ann

    Volker
    5 months ago

    Does the advice for MacBook batteries also works for iPhone Batteries – does it make sense to plug in the iPhone when in the office and leave it plugged in all the time?

    Deborah Lynn
    5 months ago

    This was so timely for me as I just had to have my mid-2014 13″ MBP battery replaced when it expanded after the back cover was removed to replace the SSD. I was surprised because I only use my MBP at my desktop, and it’s always plugged in, so almost no cycling. The tech guy (not Apple) who replaced the SSD, then the battery, told me I needed to let the battery drain down to about 20% once a week to keep this from happening again. Good to know that’s not true. Thanks, Debbie

    5 months ago

    Deborah: I believe the swelling has more to do with age than with how much you use it. Though both probably contribute.

    5 months ago

    Volker: It is fine to keep iPhones plugged in. Most people do this all night to charge it up, although some believe a bad myth that you shouldn’t. It is rare for someone to keep an iPhone plugged in all day too, considering it is usually in their pocket and goes where they go. But if you can, then sure. You may want to think about a charging pad if your iPhone supports wireless charging to make it easier.

    5 months ago

    Jo-Ann: Sounds like you are lucky and have a MacBook model where it is easier to do it yourself. Some newer models are almost impossible (dissolving glue is involved).

    5 months ago

    Ed: Same basic rules for the iPad.

    5 months ago

    Laverne: They vary greatly in how difficult it is to replace the battery. Some models have you dissolving glue and re-applying adhesive. So I’d carefully check how-to instructions and think about your skills before buying.

    Val Lee
    5 months ago

    As always, fantastic info for us Mac owners. Thanks Gary! And I appreciate the fact you keep to the facts and do not waver or use foul language.

    Peg Vanourny
    5 months ago

    Thanks for this info! I did have the battery swell up on my Mac about a year ago. My Apple store warned me not to try to open it or anything, but to bring it to the store and they would fix or replace it. They did have to send it out and they replaced it. My guy at the Genius Bar told me that a swollen battery had a risk of exploding if I’d opened the case, and they didn’t even open it in the store, but they sent it out. The cost of a new battery is a whole lot less than the cost of a new Mac!

    karle
    5 months ago

    I was having issues with a 2015 MacBook .There was a flashing question mark, unexplained shutdowns, fans running at high RPMs, I came across a report that Apple has a battery replacement program for certain Macbooks. I shut my Macbook down and made an appointment at the Apple Store. They found the battery had swelled and was included in the program. They sent it to Texas. and ten days later, as promised, I have my MacBook Pro back. No charge f bor the new battery. Runs great.

    Anne Burke
    5 months ago

    My husband has enjoyed his iPad AIR for 4 years but in the last few months the battery has been discharging very quickly. From 100% falling to 3% in 20 minutes so now he has to keep it plugged in most of the time. Very frustrating. I believe it’s not possible to replace iPad batteries. I was wondering if the battery could be faulty. What are your thoughts?

    5 months ago

    Anne: You can definitely replace an iPad battery. People do it all the time. Make an appointment at the Genius Bar and they’ll take care of it.

    Maria Rosseeuw
    5 months ago

    Thank you for resolving the many myths re care of MacBook Batteries and for your generosity of sharing your unique knowledge. You make a difference to people’s lives. :)

    Bill
    5 months ago

    Thanks for the video and also timely for me. I went to use my 2010 MacBook Pro two weeks ago after it was sitting for several months (I also have an iMac) and I received the message that the battery needed service. I was able to charge it and it worked ok until I was able to order a new one from OWC. I found that it would work for an hour so and even when just in sleep mode it would drain rather quickly. I just put the new battery in this morning and I am going through the calibration process.

    Margaret Boyles
    5 months ago

    Hi Gary, Re leaving your MacBook plugged into power all the time and your comments “It’s perfectly okay to have your MacBook sitting on your desk charged up to 100%”
    I started doing this a very long time ago when I watched one of your earlier videos suggesting this.
    However when I went to an Apple Shop, the technician said this was not a good idea after looking at my battery cycle reading.
    Now I am confused about whether to leave it plugged in all the time or not.

    5 months ago

    Margaret: What was your battery cycle reading? It should have been lower when compared to doing the opposite, so I’m not sure what the tech could have been complaining about.

    Karl
    5 months ago

    Gary, are all MacBook batteries replaceable? Are there any models where you can do it yourself? Thanks

    5 months ago

    Karl: They can all be replaced by Apple or a tech shop. Very old models have removable ones, so obviously you can do those yourself (you can remove the battery without opening the case). The rest vary. Some can be done by someone with technical know-how. Others involve dissolving and re-applying glue and other issues. Basically, if you know how to do it, then you can do it. Otherwise, I would advise you to have Apple do it. It is one of the cheapest ways to keep an old MacBook going.

    Philip Hurst
    5 months ago

    A very helpful and on-point post. It is good to see some of the “myths” about battery life so expertly dispelled. Thank you.

    Margaret Boyles
    5 months ago

    My battery count tonight is: Cycle Count: 222. I purchased my MacBook on 18th November, 2015. I was following your advice and leaving it plugged in all the time but stopped after the Apple Shop technician told me differently. I cannot recall the date that the technician told me this. Probably at least 6 – 9 months ago I suspect.

    5 months ago

    Margaret: That advice is just wrong. Was that at an official Apple Store or a third-party shop? 222 is not bad for one almost 4-years-old. But the most important thing is to use it as you need it.

    Carol
    5 months ago

    My mid-2015 MacBook Pro is working fine, but says “Service Battery” at 534 cycles. I chatted with Apple support because I wondered whether I had to do something in a hurry, and I was told the message will come up when the cycles reach past halfway to 1000, and I could replace if having trouble. What if I use a longer cable/power supply to spend more time connected, and preserve battery? The tech said that would be a good plan.

    5 months ago

    Carol: if your MacBook battery condition is Service Battery I would get that done ASAP. Using it plugged in when convenient is what you should shoot for.

    Margaret B
    5 months ago

    Yes Gary it was an official Apple Shop in Highpoint in Melbourne, Australia. My battery count is low because I was following your advice for a long time and leaving my computer always plugged in to power. I will now – once again – follow your advice from now on and leave my MacBook plugged in to the power when using it at home (which is most of the time). Thank you for a wonderful informative service that you provide. I so look forward to receiving your weekly eNewsletters.

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