Unlock the Meaning of the MacBook Battery Cycle
Intro what is MacBook Battery Cycle
A MacBook battery cycle is when your MacBook’s battery goes through a full charge, from 0% to 100%. Every time this happens, it counts as one cycle. MacBook batteries can only go through a certain number of these cycles before their capacity starts to decrease.
When you use your MacBook, its battery goes through charge cycles. A charge cycle doesn’t necessarily mean you use up all the battery’s power in one go. For instance, if you use half of your MacBook’s charge one day and then fully recharge it and do the same thing the next day, it counts as just one charge cycle, not two.
How to check your MacBook Battery Cycle
Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your Mac. Then, select System Preferences and click on System Report. From the list of menu options on the left, choose Power. You’ll find your battery cycle details and battery health here.
Does the Battery Cycle Count number make a difference?
Most of Apple’s modern laptops can go through around 1000 charge cycles before needing a new battery. Batteries have a limited number of charge cycles before they’re expected to perform less effectively. Once you hit that cycle limit, it’s a good idea to replace the battery to maintain performance.
However, sometimes a battery can still work well after 1000 cycles, depending on its Full Charge Capacity. The Full Charge Capacity of a MacBook battery tells you how much power it can hold, measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). A higher Full Charge Capacity means the battery can store more power, allowing your MacBook to run longer on battery. This capacity decreases over time as the battery health declines with more charge cycles.
As shown in the picture above, when the battery was new, its Design Capacity was 7150 mAh, but after years of use, its Full Charge Capacity is now at 3265 mAh. This indicates that the battery health is at 45.7%, which is considered very weak. It can’t hold a charge for long, estimate that it will power the MacBook for only about 30 minutes. A healthy battery’s Design Capacity should be 80% or higher.
Pro Tip 1
The default Apple operating system, macOS, doesn’t display the battery’s Full Charge Capacity and Design Capacity in the System Report. However, you can get this information by downloading a free app called “Coconut Battery.”
Pro Tip 2
Some so-called “experts” suggest that you should only charge the battery up to 80% to extend its lifespan. However, charging up to 80% and then unplugging the charger actually leads to more frequent charging, increasing the battery cycle count. This can result in faster degradation of battery health and reduced capacity to hold power.
Pro Tip 3
Apple’s macOS now includes a Battery Charging Optimization feature. It analyzes your charging and usage habits to help extend battery life and health. Make sure to keep this feature turned on.
If your battery capacity is weak or you’re considering a replacement and want to learn more about battery replacement, click here.
Conclusion to MacBook Battery Cycle
To extend your MacBook battery’s life, take steps to reduce the battery cycle count. You can do this by keeping your MacBook plugged in using the correct W MagSafe adapter, utilizing battery optimization features, limiting charging, avoiding extreme temperatures, lowering screen brightness and using energy-saving modes.
However, if your MacBook is consistently connected to a power source, your cycle count may be low, but the battery health could still be weak. To address this, if your MacBook is frequently connected to power, unplug it once a week and let the battery drain to 20%. Then, recharge it back.
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