What actually harms the MacBook battery and what extends its lifespan

The MacBook battery ensures that you can use the Apple notebook on the go. But the rechargeable battery gets weaker and weaker over time. Certain circumstances and influences favor this. Still other actions ensure that the accumulator lasts longer. Below you will find tips and tricks for a longer lifespan for the laptop battery. So you know what actually harms the MacBook battery and what extends its lifespan - accordingly you save yourself from studying endless forum threads on the subject;)

You can read here what actually harms the MacBook battery and what extends its lifespan. When can I charge to 100% charge? Which charging status is recommended when you're out and about? How important is cooling? Answers here!

You can read here what actually harms the MacBook battery and what extends its lifespan. When can I charge to 100% charge? Which charging status is recommended when you're out and about? How important is cooling? Answers here!

Never fully charge the laptop battery

Of course, this is not a tip for getting through the day longer, because with less battery charge the device can of course be used for a shorter period of time. However, you should keep the battery charge of the MacBook - and generally mobile devices with a battery - between 40% and 80%. This tip is one of the most difficult for the daily workflow, because you don't want to constantly look at the battery indicator in the menu bar. However, in the long term it ensures that the battery stays "healthy" and does not run out of power so quickly. If you go for the 40 to 80 percent mark instead of fully charging and discharging, you can triple the efficient charging cycles of the battery.

Other factors referred to at Battery University, of course, are also the charging voltage and other values. With a charge of only 65% ​​at 3,9 V, up to 4.000 charging cycles are assumed. If you speak English, take a look at the very informative report!

It also helps not to keep the MacBook in a bag or case while charging. This can cause the MacBook to overheat. This in turn can affect the charging capacity - the battery will not last as long.

There are also a few tips and tricks to ensure that the battery does not discharge too quickly during use and that the MacBook can be used for a long time. Many settings can be optimized so that the MacBook can achieve its maximum performance. It is worthwhile, for example, to adjust the screen brightness to the circumstances. If the environment is dark anyway, like it is in a plane, you don't need full screen brightness. Otherwise, if you don't need it, you can deactivate the WLAN (by the way, it also helps a lot if you procrastinate with YouTube and Co.). The same applies to apps, which like to run in the background and quickly let the battery indicator go to zero. In addition, you should remove connected devices if possible, especially if you are using the MacBook to charge. The same applies to SD cards that are not currently required.

More tips on how to keep the MacBook Pro running longer can be found in this article: 11 tips for battery life.

Does that mean I can't leave the MacBook online?

Now you are probably wondering what laptop use looks like in the home or office. After all, if you have connected peripherals, a network, storage media, a monitor and so on, the battery drains properly. It is more convenient to leave the power supply on and keep the charge level at a constant 100%. Don't worry: you can do this without worry. Because continuous use of the power pack and keeping the battery at 100% only corresponds to a single full charge. This is at least the case with modern laptops, smartphones and tablets with smart power control. A current Apple MacBook does not lose battery capacity and lifespan per se if it is operated continuously on the mains, says iFixit.

The memory effect is often used here. If the battery is charged early, the battery would allegedly lose its charging capacity. However, this relates more to nickel-cadmium batteries. Meanwhile, so-called lithium-ion batteries are used in all portable Apple devices. The memory effect cannot be determined with this type of battery.

Nevertheless, Apple recommends not having the device permanently connected to the network. Here, too, the reason is the lithium-ion battery: in order for it to perform well, the electrons in the battery have to move back and forth. They don't do that with permanent network operation.

Never, never, never leave fully discharged!

Anyone who uses the laptop on the go to cope with a full workload knows this: the battery runs down far too quickly, and the last 10% are used with greater concentration than ever before. And whoops, the device switches itself off because the battery simply can't anymore. This can damage the battery of the MacBook, but also the iPhone, iPad and other laptops, smartphones and tablets to such an extent that the battery capacity can be reduced to up to 250% of the initial value after only 73 charging cycles (from strong discharge to fully charged). This is also discussed in the Battery University source mentioned above. For the iPhone X as well as other iPhones and the iPad, you can take a few system tricks with you for longer battery usage: Extend iPhone X battery life.

Incidentally, a charging cycle means charging the battery from 0% to 100%. But also charging the battery twice from 50% to 100% each is a charging cycle.

If the charging cycles promised by Apple are "used up", this does not mean that the battery is broken overnight and no longer works at all. Much more, your capacity will gradually decrease and the MacBook may have to be charged more often than before.

Avoid heat, heat and load when the battery is fully charged

So you should never completely discharge the battery of the Apple MacBook. And you should only allow a charge of 100% if it is network operation. But then, when the battery is fully charged, you should make sure that the device is cooled enough under load. When editing large graphics or videos, rendering, or simply running a lot of different apps at the same time, the processor and other components can run hot quickly. The internal fans then rarely keep up. If the full battery is warm or hot, this will damage its capacity and service life. In addition to working in an air-conditioned room, in the shade instead of in the sun and so on, here are some other tricks for a cooled Mac laptop: Heat wave - this is how people and MacBook stay cool.

Extreme temperatures should of course be avoided during normal operation. In this case, temperatures of over 35 degrees would be extreme. This will likely exceed the recommended battery temperature. The batteries are currently designed so that the device will not charge over 80% if this recommended temperature is exceeded. Temperatures of less than 10 degrees that are too cold can also affect performance in the long term. In Germany in particular, these extreme temperatures are less likely to be reached or at least will not last for months.

Correct storage: battery charge and temperature

With regard to the heat in the entire device and thus in the battery during use, you should also consider the time after use. Because if you turn off the Apple MacBook, it doesn't cool down suddenly. Therefore, leave the display open for a while to cool down and only then folds the laptop completely. According to the first cited source, there are also a few important values ​​for storage - i.e. for longer periods of non-use of the device. In addition to a battery charge of approx. 50% (as shown here) the temperature is also important.  A series of measurements showed the following results when 40% charged lithium batteries were stored for one year:

  • 98% of the original charge still at 0 ° C
  • 96% of the original charge still at 25 ° C
  • 75% of the original charge still at 60 ° C

Caution: If the MacBook is stored for more than six months and not used, it should be charged to around 5% every 6-50 months.

Sounds obvious, but is often disregarded: If the device is not in use for a long time, it should be completely switched off and not in energy-saving mode or the like. The outside temperature can also have a negative effect on the battery if it is stored for a long time. Therefore, temperatures above 30 degrees should be avoided and the environment should be dry. Maybe it helps to imagine the MacBook is chocolate. This must also not be stored too warm or cold.

Replace laptop battery if below 80% health

In the above linked article by iFixit it is shown that a laptop battery should be replaced when its "health" falls below the 80 percent mark. That was or is the critical mark after which Apple replaces iPhone batteries. Because below this value, the battery not only takes longer to charge. The measurement and display of the actually available capacity also deteriorates, so that the user-side verification becomes unreliable. Of course, iFixit also points this out because the repair professionals sell the right sets for battery replacement, including replacement battery and tools.

Alternatively, one could see if it helps to update the MacBook to the latest software. The updates for this often include improved energy-saving features that will benefit you.

Measure values ​​under macOS: Apps that display MacBook data

Here in the blog you will find ideas and tests of various apps and tools for status reporting on the Mac. How hot is the CPU running? What is the temperature of other components such as the graphics card? How is the battery doing? And how fast are the fans rotating at the moment? You can check all this and more with the following helpers, some of which are free and some of which are subject to a fee:

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4 comments

  1. Robert says:

    Amazing, so far I've always tried to use the battery from 100% down to zero, now the 40/80 rule comes. Well, if it helps?
    Is there perhaps an app that "warns" me when 40 resp. 80% charge level has been reached? I found it here: "https://apps.apple.com/de/app/battery-monitor-health-info/id836505650?mt=12" "Battery Monitor: Health, Info". It's free, a bit chatty, but draws my attention to unplugging or plugging in the charging station I choose. None of the other, even paid, apps do that.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Robert! Thanks for the tip with the battery care app. I didn't know them yet. I use FruitJuice, but I think it costs something.

  2. Anonym says:

    Hi,
    can't find anything on the internet: can the battery of the MB Air 2019 be replaced or not? How about the memory?
    Thanks in advance!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Anonymous! I'm leaning out of the window without knowing the facts, but I'm relatively sure that this MacBook cannot be replaced by myself. There hasn't been a MacBook for years that you can do this yourself. The MacBook Air 2019 would be the only exception. But maybe someone has a real idea and can write something about it. : D

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