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.

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.

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.


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. This 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:

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 3.34.30 PM copy

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 3.37.39 PM copy

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.

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.


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.


  1. Rudy

    09/20/2015 at 4:50 pm

    Hey Craig,
    Can I use a battery from a 2015 model for a 2012 model. The only reason why why ask is that the mAh capacity for a newer macbook air is 7150 , while the cap for an older is 6700. Let me know. Thanks!


  2. Rudy

    09/20/2015 at 5:13 pm

    Also, as you know the mAh capacity gradually decreases as it’s used. If the older model then decreases below the 6700 mAh cap for the 2012 model would that be okay?


  3. Karen

    11/12/2015 at 11:22 am

    Thanks, this helped. Turns out I do not need a new battery!


  4. Dt mohd

    01/11/2016 at 12:54 pm

    My new macbook 2016, won’t give a tone or ligh when I plug it, is that normal?
    Because i want to know whether my MacBook is charging or not .
    Thank your


  5. misty

    02/01/2016 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Criag, Thanks so much for the article that has taught me something new about my MacBook Pro.


  6. Arata Ishimoto

    03/02/2016 at 3:36 am

    I have a Macbook Air early 2014 el capitan and i bought in Phnom Penh Cambodia in the year of 2014 of December and it was working fine but al of the sudden it shuts down when you unplug it and it wont turn on unless you plug in the charger and here is information of my system.
    Model Information:
    Serial Number: C01435303M0F90MAM
    Manufacturer: DP
    Device Name: bq20z451
    Pack Lot Code: 0
    PCB Lot Code: 0
    Firmware Version: 511
    Hardware Revision: 000a
    Cell Revision: 1200
    Charge Information:
    Charge Remaining (mAh): 6513
    Fully Charged: Yes
    Charging: No
    Full Charge Capacity (mAh): 6513
    Health Information:
    Cycle Count: 304
    Condition: Normal
    Battery Installed: Yes
    Amperage (mA): 0
    Voltage (mV): 8496


    • GG

      06/05/2016 at 10:50 am

      Arata Ishimoto, try “reset SMC” ! I think hold shift control option power when power is off. I have the same problem and I juwy tried this and it is working so far! Some people need new logic board or repair though ;( Good luck friend!


    • GG

      06/05/2016 at 3:00 pm

      I have learned more! The laptop can still turn off when the battery is low. So either the battery is broken, or the motherboard is broken. Using the video card seems to make it turn off easier (Heaven or Furmark), so it could be this video issue recall:


  7. Tammy

    05/09/2016 at 3:39 pm

    Very helpful article! Thanks~


  8. Sarah

    09/12/2016 at 7:15 am

    Thanks this was REALLY helpful!!!


  9. Kathy

    09/22/2016 at 12:43 pm

    This was really helpful. Thank you!


  10. Bernie

    10/12/2016 at 6:12 am

    Thanks for the article, Craig. I use Fruit Juice app (available on the App Store). Let’s me know cycle count for my battery (up to 1248 already for my Macbook Pro 2012), remaining battery capacity (52% 4383mAh) and most important of all, it tells me how long to use my laptop on battery power each day to maintain the battery at best condition possible. I’m getting about 1 hour on a full battery charge, so I guess it’s almost time to shell out $200 for a replacement.


  11. sue

    02/14/2017 at 4:15 am

    Thanks so much!
    You made this very easy to assess–
    going to order a new battery today!!!


  12. Kiki

    02/24/2017 at 5:53 pm

    Wow! Short, sweet and to the point. THANK YOU for the info!


  13. Kiwi

    03/03/2017 at 12:15 pm

    I have one of the very old MacBook pros. It says that there is no battery available and only works when plugged in. I can’t find any info on this computer because it is so old and I am not sure if they even sell the batteries for this computer anymore. Do they?


  14. juan

    03/01/2018 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for you information on how to tell how you battery life is doing. You save me some money.


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