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How to check your MacBook's battery health

Is your MacBook telling you something?

13-inch MacBook Pro
(Image: © Future)

Laptops in Apple's MacBook series have been designed to last many years through regular use. If there's one piece of hardware that might need to be replaced in that time, however, it's the internal battery. 

Your computer's battery only lasts a set number of cycles that vary depending on your MacBook model. When those cycles are exhausted, and your computer reaches the maximum cycle count, you'll start to notice a drop in battery performance. 

Eventually, you'll need to decide whether to continue using the laptop through corded power only or purchase a new battery from Apple. 

It's all about cycle count

Every time you use your MacBook, its battery goes through charge cycles. One cycle is when you use all of the battery's power. An important point to understand is you don't exhaust a cycle count each time you charge your computer's battery. 

For example, if your MacBook battery is at 40% and you recharge it, you still have 60% left on the current charge. The next day, you charge the battery at 50%, which leaves 10% in the cycle. In this case, you've gone over two days before exhausting one cycle. 

In another example, you charge your MacBook's battery at 50% on one day and 50% on the next. Here, it took two full days to exhaust one charge cycle. 

As you continue using your MacBook, the battery's charge capacity will slowly diminish. As it does, a charge cycle won't last as nearly as long. When the device reaches maximum cycle count, it should retain up to 80% of its original charge capacity, and it will go down from there.  

Battery cycle count on Mac

(Image credit: Future)

Find your battery cycle count and health

To find the cycle count on your MacBook, hold down the 'Option' key while clicking on the Apple menu at the top left. Choose 'System Information'. Under the 'Hardware' section of the 'System Information' window, choose 'Power'. You'll see the current cycle count under the 'Battery Information' section.  

In this same section, you can also find the battery condition and its current maximum capacity percentage. If the battery condition is anything but 'Normal', you should contact Apple Technical Support. 

Maximum cycle counts

Apple has a running list of maximum cycle counts for each MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro version. More recent MacBook models have a maximum cycle count of 1000, while earlier models have a count from 300 to 500.

It used to be you could replace the battery in your MacBook; those days are long over. When the time comes to purchase a replacement, contact Apple Support

Bryan M Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 14-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!