What’s a Good Battery Cycle Count for MacBook Pro?

The battery in your MacBook Pro is an important aspect of your computer’s health and operating capacity. Critical components like these are designed to function for a long time under normal circumstances. Technology over the years has really come a long way and laptop batteries today can hold a charge for far longer than similar batteries did 10 years ago.

Even though your MacBook’s battery can last a long time it is still a battery. And that means that it simply won’t last forever. Over time, the overall power of the battery begins to diminish and eventually it can wear down and need to be replaced. The ability of your battery is dependent on the number of cycles it goes through in its lifetime and by keeping track of this, you can estimate how long your battery will last.

What is the Battery Cycle?

A battery cycle is the complete process of charging your battery completely and then using all of the power until it’s no longer operating. Every time you charge your battery to 100% and then use the battery power until 0%, that is 1 battery cycle. There is an estimated number of total battery cycles that your MacBook Pro has until it needs to be replaced. After going through around that many battery cycles, the battery will begin to slow down and not function as well.

Just like any other type of battery, the one in your MacBook Pro will not last forever. After time, it will begin to not hold a charge for as long as it did when new. These batteries will still last a long time but after you go through an estimated amount of battery cycles you will notice worse performance out of your battery.

How Many Cycles Can MacBook Battery Go Through?

The estimated number of cycles your battery can go through before needing to be replaced can vary by the model and year of your MacBook. The average number of cycles is 1000 but can be as low as 300 for older model computers. Check out this chart from Apple to get an estimate on how many battery cycles your battery is designed to go through. Keep in mind that these are only estimates and each battery can vary.

According to Apple,

The MacBook Pro battery is designed to hold 80% of its total charging capacity for at least these estimated battery cycle count numbers.

After the cycle count limit is reached, your battery will still most likely hold a charge and be able to function, it just won’t hold a charge for as long as it used to. Sometimes this dropoff in performance can be dramatic.

Another thing to keep in mind is that 1 full battery cycle is from complete charge to complete battery drain. Most of us don’t always let our batteries die completely or often don’t charge them all the way up. This means that one full battery cycle could happen over the course of several days of average use. One battery cycle takes longer to complete than you might originally believe.

How to Determine Battery Cycle Count

It’s really easy to figure out how many battery cycles your MacBook Pro battery has gone through. This is a good thing to know so you can keep track of the information and have an idea of when you might need a new battery or to troubleshoot a reason why the computer’s performance is being affected. Knowing how to determine the total battery cycle count is important if you want to keep up on normal maintenance of your computer.

  1. Hold the Option key down and then click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your computer screen.
  2. Click on System Information.
  3. Then click on Power from the menu on the left-hand side and you’ll see a menu display like this pop up:

    Image courtesy of Apple
  4. If you look under Health Information you will see Cycle Count: followed by a number that indicates the total cycle count number for your computer.

How To Determine Battery Health

Another thing you will want to pay attention to in addition to the cycle count is battery health. If you look in the above image, you will see it list Condition under the cycle count. It then says Normal. In this instance, the battery is operating normally with a small total cycle count so everything should be operating just fine. This condition could come up as any of these:

  • Normal – your battery is functioning completely fine and there is nothing to address.
  • Service Battery – something is wrong with your battery that needs attention and you should bring it in to a repair or service location to diagnose.
  • Replace Soon – the battery has most likely gone past it’s estimated cycle count. It will still be functioning but not holding the charge that it once did and should be replaced soon.
  • Replace Now – The battery’s charging capacity is wearing down quickly and should be replaced soon. It couldstill be working but chances are it doesn’t last long without being plugged in.

There is a way to quickly and easily check on the condition of your battery instead of going into the System Information menu. Simply click on the battery icon in the menu on the right-hand side of your screen and you will see a couple of pieces of key information regarding your battery. This will tell you your battery condition as well as the percentage of remaining life. You can also access this information by following the steps in the section above.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the cycle count for your MacBook Pro’s battery can help you determine when it might be time to replace it as well as give you an understanding of the overall health and performance of the computer. It’s an easy maintenance task to keep track of every once in a while and a good skill to learn that should be no problem to remember.

How many cycles does your battery have?

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