How to know if it’s time to replace your MacBook battery

Compared to other laptops, MacBooks are known for their longer battery life. Even with extensive daily use, you can work on your Mac for hours without worrying about running out of battery.

However, even the best technology loses performance over time. As your Mac gets older, you’ll notice the need to charge it more often. For some people, having to be with the charger at all times is not an issue, but others may find it more difficult. Not to mention how frustrating it can be for your Mac to unexpectedly die while on an important task or in an online meeting.

If you’ve been using your Mac for a while and are worried that your battery is dead, there’s a way to know if it’s time to replace your MacBook’s battery.

Does your Mac need a new battery?

Before you decide to replace your MacBook battery, here are a few things that you should pay attention to.

Your Mac keeps dying

Battery menu with warning about replacement

The first (and most obvious) sign that your Mac needs a new battery is when your computer keeps dying even though you charged it not too long ago. When you first buy your Mac, you can spend hours working, watching videos, and playing games on a single charge.

If it now seems like you’re constantly looking for a charger to keep your Mac running, chances are your computer needs a new battery.

Your Mac is overheating

There can be many reasons why your Mac is overheating. Sometimes it’s just the result of daily use. But sometimes overheating can be a sign that your Mac’s battery is failing and you need to replace it soon.

You get a service battery warning

Service battery warning

The worst and most reliable sign that your Mac battery needs to be replaced is if you get a service battery warning. If you get a warning in the drop-down menu where you normally see a percentage in the top right corner of the screen, it means you can’t extend the battery life and it’s time to buy a new one.

How to check your battery health

Even if you haven’t received a battery service warning, you should check the health of your battery before it’s too late. Your Mac has a utility that can help you better understand when you can expect your battery to run out.

Check your Mac's battery health

To check the health of your MacBook’s battery, click battery icon in the menu bar (the percentage icon in the upper right corner of your screen). If it says Condition: Normalthat means everything is still working properly and you don’t need to worry about the battery.

However, if you receive one of the following messages, it means that your battery is not as good as new and it’s time to start looking at alternatives.

Your Mac’s battery is working properly, but charging less than it did when it was new.

The battery is in good working order but charges significantly less than when new. You can continue to use the battery until you replace the MacBook battery without harming your computer.

The battery is not working properly and you may or may not notice a change in its performance or the amount of battery it holds. Take your computer in for service. You can continue to use the battery before it was tested without harming your computer.

Someone holding a laptop with a battery icon above it

Unless you get Service battery Warning, your computer is not in imminent danger. Moreover, Replace soon This condition means that your battery will last for a while before you have to replace it.

“Soon” Exactly how far?

If your battery status indicates anything other than Normal, there is no reason to panic but check the current number of cycles instead. Cycles means the number of times you use up your Mac’s battery and then fully charge it again.

According to Apple, the batteries of modern Macbooks can last through 1000 cycles before starting to age. After those 1000 cycles, your battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original power.

That means you can safely continue to use the battery after 1000 cycles, it will gradually lose power. You can use your Mac System information tool to find out the exact number of cycles your computer is in.

How to check your current cycle count

  1. Click Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
Apple menu
  1. Hold Options (Alt) Key.
System info menu
  1. Option System information from the top of the drop-down menu.
Hardware side menu
  1. From the menu on the left, below Hardwareoption Power.
Power menu
  1. Then search Information about battery > Health Information > Calculate cycle. The number next to it will be your Mac’s current cycle count.
Calculate cycle

At my current cycle count of 1482, my battery is at Replace soon status. That still gives me time to figure out if I want to replace the battery or buy a new MacBook later.

Time to replace your MacBook battery?

Replacing your MacBook’s battery may seem like a trivial task at first. However, a good battery is what makes your Mac portable and ensures its best performance.

In some cases, you should consider replacing your Mac entirely. However, a new type of battery can go a long way and save you a decent amount of money. In case you’re not ready to spend at the moment, check out our guide on what you can do to extend battery life on your Mac without replacing the battery.

What is the current battery status of your Mac? Are you considering replacing your MacBook battery, or would you rather buy a brand new Mac? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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