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Is the battery indicator on your MacBook Pro growing more and more inaccurate by the day? If so, recalibrating the battery can help. You can do it by draining the battery and then recharging it to 100%, although this process differs depending on your Mac’s model year.
Hi, I’m Devansh. Recently a friend who owns a mid-2012 MacBook Pro told me how his Mac would switch off even if it had 20% battery left. I recommended that he recalibrate his battery, and that solved the problem!
In this article, I’ll show you the exact steps to recalibrate your MacBook Pro’s battery. Then I’ll also talk about charge cycles, three tips to maximize battery life, and some common questions.
If your MacBook Pro’s battery has been buggy as of late and you want to bring it back to normal, keep reading!
Steps to Recalibrate MacBook Pro Battery
The benefits of battery calibration differ between old and new MacBook Pro models. In the case of older models, calibration is more important since those Macs can’t do it automatically.
On the other hand, new models don’t benefit from it as much. Nevertheless, if you wish to recalibrate your battery, here is the process for both.
New MacBook Pro Models
For new MacBook Pro models (post-2012), all you have to do is let the battery run down to 0% until it shuts down. Then, plug in the charging cable and charge it to 100%. Once complete, the battery will be calibrated successfully.
Old MacBook Pro Models (2006-2012)
If you own a MacBook Pro from 2006 to 2012, the process for recalibrating your battery is more complex. However, as I said before, it’s important to do it on these Macs too. So, follow along.
Step 1: Charge the MacBook Pro to 100% until the small indicator light on the charging jack turns green.
Step 2: Keep it plugged in and charging for the AC adapter for two hours. You can keep using it during this time as you would every day.
Step 3: Once the two hours are up, unplug your MacBook Pro from the AC adapter and keep using it on battery power. Use it until the low-battery alert comes on at 5%. If you’re doing important tasks, be sure to save your files. When the battery has been depleted, your MacBook Pro will shut down automatically.
Step 4: Now, wait overnight (or five hours), and then charge the battery to 100% again. Pat yourself on the back; the battery is now recalibrated!
Techformative has uploaded a great video on YouTube to guide you through this process.
Once you follow these steps, that’s pretty much it. From now onwards, you should see more accurate battery readings. Plus, if you have other errors like random system restarts or crashes, this could fix those too.
The Importance of Charge Cycles and Battery Life
Now that you know how to calibrate your battery for both old and new MacBook Pro models, let’s dive deeper into battery life and cell aging. One important point to remember here is that as you use your MacBook Pro, it goes through charge cycles.
Each MacBook Pro has a maximum charge cycle limit, the number of times the battery can go from 100% to 0% and back up again. To check your MacBook Pro’s current charge cycle count, click on the Apple icon in the Menu bar, hold the Option key, and click on System Information.
In the menu tree, go towards the Power section.
This will tell you if your MacBook Pro battery is in optimum working condition or not. Usually, it takes around 500 to 1000 charge cycles before the battery starts going below 80% of the original charge capacity. It is generally at this point that most MacBooks require calibration, especially older ones.
If you want to check the maximum cycle count for your MacBook Pro model, you can find it here.
Top 3 Tips to Maximize Battery Efficiency
Apart from those facing technical issues like restarts, most people will calibrate their MacBook Pro’s battery to improve efficiency. That’s great by itself, but here are some extra steps you can take.
1. Manage Hardware
The first step to optimizing battery usage is lowering the usage of in-built features. You can dim the display and keyboard brightness, turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when not needed, and disconnect extra peripherals that might be taking up power. Check this page by Apple for more tips.
2. Optimize CPU Usage
Just click on the battery icon in the menu bar to identify apps that are taking too much power from your battery.
If you’re not currently using the apps displayed under ‘Using Significant Energy,’ be sure to quit them. You can also visit Activity Monitor if you want to dive deeper. It’ll give you a detailed breakdown of how all active apps are consuming system resources.
3. Adopt Better Charging Habits
One fact you should know is that most MacBook Pro models use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries perform best at around 20% to 80% charge with minimum stress. Fortunately, there is a simple way to implement this in your MacBook Pro. Head over to System Preferences (System Settings on macOS Ventura and above) and click on Battery.
Now, go to the Battery section in the sidebar and enable the Optimized battery charging option.
As noted above, your MacBook Pro will become aware of your daily routine and optimize charging accordingly. In addition, if you’re interested in keeping an eye on your battery health, check out apps like Coconut Battery, Battery Monitor, and Battery Health 2.
You’ve learned almost everything you need to know about battery calibration and cell degradation. Now, let’s discuss some questions you might want to learn more about.
Is battery calibration worth it?
For older MacBook Pro models (2006-2012 models), yes. It’s a great way to refresh your battery, iron out any errors, and make the on-screen indicator more accurate. For newer models, not so much. However, if you’re facing many battery-related issues, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
What is SMC?
SMC stands for System Management Controller, and it is responsible for controlling how your Mac manages power. Resetting it could solve some battery-related issues. If you own an Intel-based Mac, you can read about the process here. For Apple Silicon-based Macs, you just need to restart your Mac while it is connected to the power adapter.
Is it possible to replace your MacBook Pro’s battery?
If you’re still facing various issues after following the steps for recalibrating your battery, getting a replacement might be the way to go. Be sure to get in touch with Apple Support. It’ll cost around $199 if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty, but they’ll test your model first before giving you a final service fee.
Thanks to Apple’s excellent software and hardware, many people have labeled battery calibration as a thing of the past. However, it’s still worth trying out if you have any battery issues and your on-screen battery status is always inaccurate.
I hope this article guided you through the calibration process in a productive way and answered all your queries related to the topic.
Did calibrating your MacBook Pro’s battery solve any issues for you? Please let me know in the comments!About Devansh Kamdar