Get help with your Mac notebook battery

Learn how to optimise the life of the battery in your Mac notebook, fix battery issues and get service.

Optimise your battery life

Your notebook's battery life depends on your computer's configuration and how you're using the computer. Here are some settings and steps you can take to get the most from your computer’s battery.

Check Battery preferences

The Battery pane in System Preferences has settings to help improve the battery life on your Mac notebook. To view Battery settings, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Battery or Energy Saver, then select the Battery tab. 

Battery System Preferences window battery options

The example above is from macOS Big Sur. Some features such as Automatic graphic switching and Power Nap aren't available on all Mac notebooks or versions of macOS.

For maximum battery life, use the following settings:

  • Turn on “Slightly dim the display while on battery power”. This setting lets your Mac adjust the display brightness to 75% when you unplug the computer from power.
  • Turn off “Enable Power Nap while on battery power”. This setting prevents your Mac from checking for mail or other iCloud updates during sleep which improves standby time.
  • Turn on "Optimise video streaming while on battery”. This setting lets high dynamic range (HDR) video play in standard dynamic range (SDR) while on battery power, which uses less energy.
  • Turn on “Automatic graphics switching”. This setting lets MacBook Pro models with multiple graphics processors automatically switch between them to maximise battery life.

Adjust display brightness

By default, your display automatically adjusts the brightness to conserve power. If you turn off automatic brightness, you should turn it back on later to preserve battery life. To set the brightness automatically, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Displays, then turn on ”Automatically adjust brightness”. Learn how to adjust your brightness manually.

Check battery health

You can check the health of your battery in Battery preferences or the Battery status menu:

  • In macOS Big Sur, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Battery, select Battery in the sidebar, then click Battery Health.
  • In macOS Catalina or earlier, hold the Option key and click the battery icon in the menu bar to reveal the battery status menu.

You'll see one of the following status indicators:

  • Normal: The battery is functioning normally. 
  • Service Recommended: The battery's ability to hold charge is less than when it was new or it isn't functioning normally. You can safely continue to use your Mac but you should take it to an Apple Store or Apple Authorised Service Provider to get your battery evaluated.

To get service on your battery, contact Apple.

In earlier versions of macOS, the battery status might display Replace Soon, Replace Now or Service Battery if your battery holds less of a charge than when it was new or needs to be serviced. If the battery's lowered charging capacity is affecting your experience, get your battery evaluated at an Apple Store or Apple Authorised Service Provider.

While some third-party apps report on battery health conditions, the data reported by these apps may be inaccurate and isn't a conclusive indication of actual diminished system run time. It's best to rely on the information reported in the battery health menu, described above.  

Diagnose battery issues

Learn how to check your hardware, identify apps or features contributing to high energy use and resolve charging issues.

Run diagnostics

A great place to start when troubleshooting battery issues is the built-in diagnostics that are available on your Mac notebook. Learn how to use Apple Diagnostics on your Mac.

If you don't find any issues with Apple Diagnostics, read on for more information about troubleshooting your battery.

Check the battery status menu

The battery status menu shows you how much charge your battery has and whether it's currently charging. This menu is on the right-hand side of the menu bar:

macOS Big Sur menu bar with battery menu open

The battery status menu also tells you if your display or any apps are using significant energy. Also consider closing any apps that are listed to save battery power.

If you use optimised battery charging in macOS Big Sur, you'll see additional information when your Mac is connected to power, such as whether charging is paused or when your battery will be fully charged. If charging is paused and you need to have your Mac fully charged sooner, click Charge To Full Now.

Resolve charging issues

Get help with other issues such as if your Mac won't recognise a power adaptor or charge to 100%.

If your Mac isn't charging

Confirm the correct wattage AC adaptor for your computer. A power adaptor rated for a lower wattage than is required for the system might not reliably charge the computer. If you're not sure which power adaptor to use with your computer, learn how to find the right power adaptor and cord for your Mac notebook.

For more help, learn what to do if your USB-C power adaptor isn't charging your Mac notebook. If issues persist, shut down your Mac, close the display for 30 seconds, then try to charge again. Or if you have an Intel-based Macreset the SMC.

If your Mac won't charge to 100%

If you use optimised battery charging in macOS Big Sur or use macOS Catalina or earlier, occasionally the battery may not display a full charge (100%) in macOS, even after the power adaptor has been connected for an extended period of time. This behaviour is normal and helps prolong the overall life of the battery.

If charging is on hold and you need your Mac to be fully charged sooner, find out how to resume charging.

Servicing the battery in your Mac notebook

MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers with built-in batteries should only have their batteries replaced by an Apple Authorised Service Provider or at an Apple Store. Attempting to replace a built-in battery yourself could damage your equipment, and such damage is not covered by warranty.

Some older Mac notebooks have removable batteries that you can replace yourself. Contact an Apple Authorised Service Provider or an Apple Store for assistance with servicing a removable battery.

Battery warranty information

Your Apple One-Year Limited Warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. If you purchased an AppleCare Protection Plan for your Mac notebook, Apple will replace the notebook's battery at no charge if it retains less than 80 per cent of its original capacity. If you don't have coverage, you can get the battery replaced for a fee. 

Understanding batteries in Mac notebooks

MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers come with lithium polymer batteries to provide maximum battery life in a compact space. To understand battery technology and battery life, it's good to know common battery terminology:

  • Cycle count: Batteries are expected to function for a certain number of cycles. This number represents the sum of total and partial discharge cycles throughout the life of the battery. You can see the cycle count limit for your computer by reviewing Determine battery cycle count for Mac notebooks.
  • Full charge capacity: Measured in mAH (milliampere-hours), this refers to the amount of power the battery is capable of containing, less the energy required to shut down the device. This number lowers as the battery becomes depleted with usage and age.
  • Remaining charge capacity: This number represents the current amount of power left in the battery as measured in mAh (milliampere hours). Using the computer when not connected to AC power will cause this number to lower as power is depleted from the battery.
  • Defective: Batteries are considered defective when they stop working due to a defect in materials or workmanship, or due to a manufacturing defect. Defective batteries are covered under Apple's one-year limited warranty and extended service contracts.
  • Load: The amount of activity being performed by a task or tasks. Certain power-intensive processes place a heavier load on the battery and result in a much-reduced runtime per charge.

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