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How to Keep a MacBook’s Battery Healthy: 10 Best Ways

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Last updated: October 5, 2023

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TL;DR

To keep your MacBook’s battery in top condition, manage charge cycles, use the official charger, enable optimized battery charging, and avoid overcharging. Regularly monitoring resource-intensive apps and charging in moderate ambient temperatures further contribute to battery health.

If your battery shows signs of failing, consider resetting the SMC, updating macOS, or seeking battery replacement.

Key Points

  • Avoid charging your MacBook to 100% every time; ideally, keep it between 20% to 80%. Also, don’t let the battery drain completely; start recharging around 20%.
  • Always use Apple’s official charger for safety and efficiency. Non-official chargers can harm the battery.
  • Enable the Optimized Battery Charging feature, which learns your charging habits and reduces the time the battery spends at 100%.
  • Don’t keep your MacBook plugged in all the time. This can lead to battery swelling due to overheating.
  • Periodically check your MacBook’s battery health status in System Settings.

Your MacBook’s efficiency is closely tied to its battery. Maintaining battery health is crucial for uninterrupted and seamless performance. A healthy battery boosts your MacBook’s performance and helps it last longer, making every task quick and easy.

Ever been frustrated by disruptive low-battery alerts? Let’s turn the tables! In this guide, I’ll unveil the best strategies to keep a MacBook’s battery healthy, prolonging its lifespan. Let’s dive in.

Before We Begin

Unnecessary and resource-intensive programs can be a major reason for your Mac’s depleting battery life. To keep such programs in check, use MacKeeper’s Memory Cleaner. It identifies resource-hogging programs and helps you close them.

Check Your MacBook’s Battery Health

Before you start fixing the issue, it’s essential to determine whether your MacBook battery is in good condition or if its performance is being affected. Here’s a simple way to assess your MacBook battery health:

  1. Open About This Mac from the Apple Menu in the top left corner.
click apple icon and select about this mac
  1. Click More Info.
click more info
  1. Click the System Report button at the bottom of the About window.
click system report in general
  1. Select Power from the Hardware list.
click hardware and select power
  1. Look at the Cycle Count to see the number of cycles your battery has experienced.
mac battery cycle count

Typically, Macs have a battery cycle count of 1000. If yours is nearing this number, consider replacing the battery.

For a closer look at your battery’s health:

  1. Go to System Settings in the Apple menu.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Battery in the left sidebar.
click battery in system settings
  1. On the right side, you should see the Battery Health status.
normal battery health

You should see one of the following four statuses:

  1. Normal: The battery is functioning as it should.
  2. Replace Soon: The battery still works but holds less charge than when it was new. It might be time to think about replacing it.
  3. 🔋 Replace Now: Although the battery is working, it holds significantly less charge than before. It’s advisable to replace it immediately.
  4. 🔧 Service Battery: The battery isn’t working correctly and requires servicing.

If your device is still under warranty or you have AppleCare for Mac, battery replacement is free. Otherwise, charges apply at the Apple store.

How to Keep a MacBook’s Battery Healthy

Keeping your MacBook’s battery healthy is essential to ensure your device runs smoothly and lasts a long time. A good battery means your MacBook can do its job well. In the following sections, you’ll learn easy ways to keep your Mac’s battery in tip-top shape.

1. Don’t Charge Your MacBook to Full Capacity

100 percent battery on macbook

Charging your MacBook to full capacity every time can strain the battery, reducing its overall lifespan. I suggest keeping the charge between 20% to 80% for optimal battery health. You can maintain the battery’s functionality and extend the MacBook’s overall life by not always charging to 100%.

2. Don’t Fully Drain Your Mac’s Battery

Allowing your MacBook’s battery to drain fully can be harmful in the long run. It’s good practice to start recharging your device when the battery level drops to around 20%.

This method helps prevent unnecessary strain and issues like the Macbook battery not charging, contributing to the battery’s longevity and consistent performance.

3. Use Apple’s Official Charger

official apple macbook charger

Using Apple’s official charger ensures your MacBook receives the right amount of power. It’s specifically designed for your device, promoting both safety and efficiency.

Non-official chargers can be inconsistent and potentially harmful, risking damage to your battery and reducing its overall lifespan.

4. Enable Optimized Battery Charging

Optimized Battery Charging learns your daily charging routine and slows down charging to ensure the battery spends less time at 100%. This intelligent feature prolongs the battery’s overall lifespan by reducing the stress associated with staying at full charge for extended periods.

You can enable this feature in the MacBook’s settings. Here’s how:

  1. Open System Settings from the Apple menu.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Select Battery from the left sidebar.
click battery in system settings
  1. Click the i button next to Battery Health.
click the i button next to battery health
  1. Toggle on the Optimized Battery Charging option.
toggle on the optimized battery charging option

As I previously mentioned, it’s optimal to maintain your battery level between 20% and 80%. However, Optimized Battery Charging doesn’t prevent your battery from exceeding 80%, it postpones it.

5. Don’t Leave Your MacBook Constantly Plugged In

plug in your macbook

Constantly keeping your MacBook plugged in can lead to a condition called “battery swelling” due to overheating. It’s beneficial to let the battery cycle between discharging and charging. Cycling the battery helps maintain its responsiveness and health, ensuring your MacBook remains efficient and reliable.

You can check if your MacBook is charging and leave it plugged until it’s charged. But once it’s charged, unplug it and don’t plug it again before the battery drops to 20% or 30%.

6. Don’t Leave Your MacBook Unused for Long

If a MacBook is left unused for extended periods, the battery could lose its charge and capacity. Regular use maintains the battery’s functionality and helps identify any potential issues before they become significant problems. So, using your MacBook regularly to keep the battery active and healthy is essential.

7. Half-Charge Your MacBook for Long-Term Storage

50 percent charging on macbook

If you plan to store your MacBook for a long time, you should charge it to around 50%. This helps maintain battery health and prevent loss of functionality. A half-charged state is ideal for preventing battery swelling or complete discharge, ensuring your MacBook is ready to use when needed.

8. Charge Your MacBook at Moderate Ambient Temperatures

avoid extreme temperatures

Extreme temperatures can adversely affect your MacBook’s battery. Charging your MacBook at a moderate ambient temperature is optimal to maintain its battery health. Doing so prevents overheating and safeguards your battery’s lifespan and performance.

9. Close or Disconnect Power Hogs

Being vigilant about closing high-energy apps and disconnecting power-hungry peripherals can significantly extend your MacBook’s battery life. Adopting these habits maintains optimal battery health, ensuring a more efficient and prolonged MacBook experience.

Here’s how to go about it:

a. Lower Screen Brightness

Reducing your MacBook’s screen brightness lessens energy consumption, preserving battery life. Dimming the screen when working in well-lit areas can significantly affect how long your battery lasts.

Here’s how to lower your Mac’s screen brightness using Mac keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Press the F1 key to decrease the brightness.
macbook pro f1 key
  1. Press the F2 key to increase the brightness.
macbook pro f2 key

Alternatively, you can use the brightness slider in the Control Center (macOS Big Sur and later):

  1. Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar and find the brightness slider.
  2. Drag the slider to the left to lower the screen brightness.
display brightness slider in control center

b. Kill Keyboard Backlight

While keyboard backlight is useful in low-light conditions, it can be energy-draining. Turning it off when not necessary is a practical step towards conserving battery life.

Here’s how to turn off the keyboard backlight on Mac using keyboard keys:

  1. Look for the F5 and F6 keys on the keyboard. They usually have symbols that represent keyboard backlight brightness.
  2. Press the F5 key to decrease the keyboard backlight brightness.
macbook pro f5 key
  1. Press the F6 key to increase the keyboard backlight brightness.
macbook pro f6 key

You can also adjust keyboard brightness in System Settings:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click Keyboard and adjust the Keyboard brightness slider to reduce the keyboard backlight brightness.
click keyboard and adjust keyboard brightness slider

c. Disconnect Wi-Fi and Bluetooth When Not Needed

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, when left on, continuously search for connections, consuming more power. Turning them off when not in use can save significant battery life.

To turn off Wi-Fi, click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and toggle off the Wi-Fi switch.

click the wi fi icon in the menu bar and toggle it off

To turn off Bluetooth, click the Control Center icon in the menu bar and click Bluetooth.

click bluetooth in control center

Then, toggle off the Bluetooth switch.

toggle on bluetooth in control center

d. Unplug Unused Peripherals

connect a usb drive to your macbook

Peripherals like external drives and USB devices consume power when connected to your MacBook. Disconnecting them when not in use can help conserve battery life. Regularly unplugging unused peripherals is a straightforward method to maintain your MacBook’s battery efficiency.

e. Close Resource-intensive Apps

Certain applications are more resource-intensive than others and can quickly drain your MacBook’s battery. Regularly monitoring and closing these apps when not needed helps preserve battery life.

Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Memory Cleaner to kill resource-intensive apps:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Open MacKeeper and click Memory Cleaner under the Performance tab.
select memory cleaner under performance
  1. Click Open.
click open in the memory cleaner
  1. Select Apps & Processes in the left sidebar.
  2. Hover your mouse over an app and click the small x that appears next to it.
select apps and processes and hover your mouse on an app click the x
  1. Click Quit on the pop-up.
click quit to end the app

This will close the memory-hogging app.

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides freeing up RAM on your Mac, MacKeeper can perform various Mac optimization tasks, like deleting duplicate files, uninstalling unwanted apps, and blocking annoying ads on Mac. Read my detailed MacKeeper review to learn more about its amazing features.

If you don’t have MacKeeper, you can use Activity Monitor to close unwanted background processes. Here’s how to use Activity Monitor to kill background processes on your Mac:

  1. Open Activity Monitor by going to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.
open activity monitor in utilities
  1. Identify the background process you want to close by browsing the list or using the search box at the top-right corner.
activity monitor search bar
  1. Select the process you want to close to highlight it and click the X button in the top toolbar.
click x in the top bar to close a program
  1. Click the Quit button in the confirmation window to terminate the selected process.
click quit on the activity monitor pop up

10. Update Your macOS

Regularly updating your macOS ensures you’re running the latest features, security patches, and optimizations. These updates often include improvements in energy efficiency and battery management, which can prolong your MacBook’s battery life.

Here’s how to update your macOS on Mac:

Before updating your macOS, back up your data on Mac to ensure you don’t lose valuable information if something unexpected happens during the update.

  1. Before proceeding, ensure your data is backed up, then connect your Mac to a stable internet connection. Select your preferred network by clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.
click the wi fi icon in the menu bar
  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click General in the left sidebar and select Software Update in the right pane.
click general and select software update
  1. If an update is available, you’ll see an option to download and install it, usually represented by an Update Now button. Click the Update Now button to initiate the download.
click the update now button
  1. Upon completion of the download, the macOS installer will launch automatically.

Be aware that your Mac may restart several times during installation.

  1. After the installation, your Mac will reboot with the latest macOS version.

What Should You Do If Your MacBook’s Battery Is Failing?

If your MacBook’s battery is failing, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further complications. Here are several steps you can take to rectify the situation:

  1. 🔌 Avoid Overcharging: Don’t leave your MacBook plugged in constantly, allow the battery to cycle between discharging and charging.
  2. ☁️ Backup Your Data: Since a failing battery can lead to unexpected shutdowns, regularly backup your important data to avoid any loss.
  3. ⚙️ Reset the SMC (System Management Controller): Resetting the SMC on your Mac can resolve battery-related issues. This process varies slightly depending on your MacBook model, so make sure you follow the correct instructions.
  4. 🔄 Update macOS: Ensure your MacBook is running the latest version of macOS, as software updates can sometimes fix battery issues by improving energy efficiency and management.
  5. 📞 Contact Apple Support: If your MacBook is still under warranty or covered by AppleCare, contact Apple Support for guidance. They can conduct further diagnostics and recommend the best course of action.
  6. 🔧 Battery Replacement: If your MacBook is out of warranty and the battery is confirmed to be failing, consider replacing the battery. You can do this through Apple’s official service channels or authorized service providers to ensure a safe and reliable replacement.

Prolong Your MacBook’s Battery Life

From managing charge cycles to optimizing settings and staying updated with the latest macOS versions, each step plays a crucial role in sustaining your MacBook’s vitality. Remember, a healthy battery is the core of your MacBook’s functionality.

Here are a few more tips to help you monitor your Mac’s battery health, and enjoy an uninterrupted, high-performing MacBook experience:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How often should I calibrate my MacBook’s battery?

    You should calibrate your MacBook’s battery approximately once every one to two months. Regular calibration ensures the battery’s reporting system provides accurate readings, maintaining optimal performance and prolonging the battery’s lifespan.

  2. Can I use my MacBook while it’s charging?

    Absolutely, you can use your MacBook while it’s charging. It is perfectly fine and won’t harm the device. However, be mindful that this might slightly extend the charging time as the system allocates power to run applications in addition to charging the battery.

  3. Is it harmful to use a MacBook with a charger connected all the time?

    Yes, it is harmful to use a MacBook with a charger connected all the time. Keeping your MacBook connected to the charger constantly can be detrimental to the battery’s health. It may reduce the battery’s lifespan by hindering its ability to hold a charge over time.

  4. Should I turn off my MacBook every night to save battery life?

    No, it’s not necessary to turn off your MacBook every night to save battery life. However, periodically shutting it down or restarting can help maintain its performance. Using energy-saving modes and managing your settings effectively can also contribute to optimizing battery life without daily shutdowns.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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