How to store Apple notebook computers and their batteries

Learn the best way to store your Apple notebook computer based on the type of battery it has.

It's important to store Apple notebook computers properly for extended periods of time to avoid battery damage. For example, schools that don't use their Mac notebook computers during a summer vacation period should store them properly during this time.

When you read about your computer's battery below, keep these things in mind:

  • The environmental temperature affects the storage life of any battery. Cool environments are best, and are assumed for the estimates below. 
  • All storage times are based on starting with the battery charged to 50%. 
  • For computers with removable batteries, you should remove the batteries and store them in a cool location. 
  • For computers that have non-removable batteries, you should either charge or drain the battery until 50% of the charge remains. If you plan to store the computer for longer than six months, charge it to 50% every six months that it remains in storage.

For additional information, see Apple's batteries website.

MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air

Current Apple notebook computers use lithium ion batteries.

Storing Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Batteries

  • 1 to 2 months - Battery should still have enough charge to operate the computer
  • 3 to 12 months - Battery might be in a low-power state and require 20 minutes of charging with the original power adapter before use
  • 12 months or more - Battery can still be charged, but might have lost some capacity

It's best not to leave a lithium ion battery in a low charge state (<20%) in a sleeping notebook for more than 48 hours. This might deplete the battery beyond a recoverable state or leave it in a state where the battery might not be recognized by the computer.

If a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro battery isn't recognized after being fully drained, see About Mac notebook batteries for more information.

iBook and PowerBook

Older Mac models use a variety of battery types. Check the label on the battery to find out which battery type your computer has.

Storing Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Batteries

  • 1 to 2 months - Battery should still have enough charge to operate the computer
  • 3 to 12 months - Battery might be in a low-power state and require 20 minutes of charging with the original power adapter before use
  • 12 months or more - Battery can still be charged, but might have lost some capacity

Storing Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries

  • 1 to 2 months - Battery should still have enough charge to operate the computer
  • 3 to 12 months - Battery might be in a low-power state and require 20 minutes of charging with the original power adapter before use
  • The Portable Intelligent Battery (NiMH) has improved charging abilities. A fully charged battery has a 6-month shelf life. If the battery is discharged in sleep to the point that the computer shuts down, the computer can stay in this state for 6 weeks.

Storing Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) Batteries

  • 1 to 2 months - Battery should still have enough charge to operate the computer
  • 3 to 12 months - Battery might be in a low-power state and require 20 minutes of charging with the original power adapter before use

Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Batteries

  • 1 to 2 months - Battery should still have enough charge to operate the computer
  • 3 to 12 months - Battery might be in a low-power state and require 20 minutes of charging with the original power adapter before use
Published Date: