How to Check If You Need a New MacBook Battery

If your MacBook is getting a bit aged, you might notice that performance has taken a hit, but your battery might be suffering even more. Here’s how to check if you need a new MacBook battery.

You may think that your old MacBook is simply just aging when you discover that the battery can only last an hour or so on a full charge, and you’re most certainly right, but don’t think that the entire laptop is suffering from the poor performance, as it may just need a new battery, which can be replaced fairly easily at an Apple Store or other computer shop.

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With that said, just because your battery is about to join the heavens doesn’t mean that you need an entirely new MacBook. In fact, the internal components in the MacBook tend to last longer than the battery powering them, so if the battery in your MacBook finally does go kaput, you might think that your entire laptop is dead, when in fact it might just need a new battery.

If you’re someone who likes to do some preventative maintenance and you think that your MacBook battery might actually be slowly dying, here’s how to find out if you need to replace it.

Look at the Charging Cycles

One good indicator of whether or not your MacBook battery is on the edge of dying is taking a look to see how many charging cycles it’s been through.

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Before we get any deeper, it’s important to know what a charging cycle is. One full cycle is using up all of the batteries power and then recharging it to full. That counts as one cycle.

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Furthermore, if your battery goes down to 50% and then you recharge it, and then do the same thing the next day, that also counts as one cycle (instead of two cycles), which means that depending on how often you use your MacBook, a cycle could take a few days to complete.

Batteries can only support so many cycles before they go bad, which is why they degrade over time. On Apple’s support website, it lists what the cycle count is for its MacBooks, so most newer MacBook Pros and almost all MacBook Air models have a cycle count of 1,000.┬áThis means that the battery can go through 1,000 cycles before it’s expected to finally crap out and die — some last longer and some not so much, but 1,000 is the rough estimate, so to speak.

To check how many cycles your MacBook’s battery has been through so far, follow these simple steps:

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Go up to the Apple logo in the menu bar up in the top-left corner of the screen and click About This Mac.

Next, click on System Report.

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In the left-hand sidebar, select Power. This will bring up various information about your MacBook’s battery, including capacity and some other general tidbits that you don’t really need to know. Scroll down a bit until you see Health Information. Under that, you’ll find Cycle Counts.

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As you’ll see on my Macbook, I’m over 700 cycles in on my late-2013 MacBook Pro, which is a bit steep for how young my laptops still is, but that’s mostly because of how long I let my MacBook go between charges, as I usually end up recharging it every day.

For you, this number may be lower or higher, depending on you use your MacBook, but if it’s getting close to that 1,000 mark, keep a closer eye out on your battery, as it may need replaced soon.

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How Much Does a New MacBook Battery Cost?

If your MacBook is out of warranty when you need to replace the battery (which it most likely will be), Apple can replace it for $129 for the MacBook Air and the 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro.

That’s actually not a bad price at all, but it gets more expensive with other models. For instance, the new 12-inch MacBook and all MacBook Pro Retina models are $199 to replace the battery, and 17-inch MacBook Pros (remember those?) are $179.

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Those prices are a bit steep, but that’s how much you’ll pay if you have Apple do it directly. Of course, that’s not the only option, though. If you want to save a bit of cash when replacing your MacBook’s battery, one great place to buy replacement batteries is Other World Computing, which sells batteries for older MacBooks, up to 2011. You can get one for as low as $79 for a 2008-2009 MacBook Air.

Most replacement batteries, though, can be had for around $100. Unfortunately, the newer MacBook models are a bit more nailed down than older ones, which means that you probably shouldn’t DIY the battery replacement on a newer MacBook, so let Apple do that for you, but if you have an older model, the replacement should be fairly painless.

And if you need a tutorial on how to replace the battery in your MacBook, iFixit is a great resource to rely on, with guides for almost any MacBook model.