Do I have to keep my MBP charged all the time?

Alexander_JY

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 9, 2018
14
2
Hi Y'all,

I've been having this question for a long time. I bought the latest version of MBP last December. To maximize the longevity of my battery, how often should I keep my MBP charged? Is it healthier for my battery to keep it plugged in all the time?

I asked one of the customer services staff who told me I should keep it charged all the time, but there are opposite opinions in some online posts. It's only been a few months but my cycle count is already 52. I also heard that when it reaches 1000 the battery would be close to useless. It feels as if a countdown of the number of days left for my battery which makes me really anxious.

What about my iPhone, iPad Pro, and apple pencil? Thanks!
 

jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,007
2,476
SF Bay Area
Hi Y'all,

I've been having this question for a long time. I bought the latest version of MBP last December. To maximize the longevity of my battery, how often should I keep my MBP charged? Is it healthier for my battery to keep it plugged in all the time?

I asked one of the customer services staff who told me I should keep it charged all the time, but there are opposite opinions in some online posts. It's only been a few months but my cycle count is already 52. I also heard that when it reaches 1000 the battery would be close to useless. It feels as if a countdown of the number of days left for my battery which makes me really anxious.

What about my iPhone, iPad Pro, and apple pencil? Thanks!
See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201585

I don't keep mine plugged in all the time. Never have. And I never obsess about battery life. Just don't like leaving things plugged in. FWIW I have had my unit since Summer 2018 and have 24 cycles. I don't use it every day though.

I never had to replace a battery in a MacBook Pro. But if you do the Apple service charge to replace the upper case assembly (battery, trackpad, keyboard, and the aluminum case your hands rest on) is around $170 (out of warranty) So while not trivial, pretty inexpensive.
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,031
548
In my experience with perhaps 15 various MB's across 15 years (personal, family, work) batteries last about 3-5 years. At one extreme, my daughter's 2011 MBA went for 1000+ cycles across 4 years - plugged in only when she was below 10%. At the other, my wife's 2012 MBA went 3 years with 250 cycles - she kept it plugged in nearly all the time. Leaving it plugged in has advantages (fully charged when needed, and brighter screen by default). But several Apple techs have told me that leaving it plugged in full time will diminish the life of the battery. I keep mine plugged in when I am sitting at a desk with a charger, but otherwise not plugged in. About every 4-6 weeks I run it down below 10%. The battery turned 5 years old last month (late-2013 15-MBP). Best to follow the link recommended by @jerryk.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,732
1,983
I wouldn't worry about it, I would just use it.
For the first two years my MBPro was plugged in much of the time. In the last 6 months or so I've changed the way I use it and now it spends a fair amount of time running on battery. Perhaps a 40% battery 60% powered split.

Personally I think that 3 years from the battery is good. Anything more than that is "free time".

Battery degradation is not linear and is not based purely on cycles. 300 cycles over 5 years and 300 cycles over 6 months are not the same thing.

One thing I am careful of is heat and cold. I don't charge my devices when they're very cold or very hot. With the extreme cold of winter and heat of summer I let me devices come to room temperature before charging.

I'm coming up to 3 years and on just over 200 cycles. Though perhaps 75 of those have been in the last 4 or 5 months.
 
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F23

macrumors member
Jan 4, 2014
98
30
I have a 2014 rMBP. My cycle count is 90 after 5 years. The key is to keep it plugged in when using. Unplug overnight. That's it. Perfect battery after many years.
 

BuCkDoG

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2013
535
178
I personally leave mine plugged in most of the time but have never ran into a battery issue ever. Also its pretty inexpensive to just replace the battery as well I think like $169.00 which includes the keyboard and trackpad too since its all one assembly.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,696
4,025
As others have said, the impact of charging the battery in certain patterns will be absolutely marginal across the life of the device. I certainly wouldn't go out of your way to charge it in a certain way, keep it plugged in constantly etc. The only vaguely non-intrusive and possibly beneficial advice I can give is try to stick between 20-80 percent as much as possible, with the occasional cycle from 100 to 0 and back to 100 to recalibrate the charge meter.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,365
703
The key is to keep it plugged in when using. Unplug overnight.
That is completely unnecessary, and will do no better in promoting good battery life than simply running on battery when needed and plugging in when available. There is no "formula" or "process" needed to preserve battery life. Just use it.
The only vaguely non-intrusive and possibly beneficial advice I can give is try to stick between 20-80 percent as much as possible, with the occasional cycle from 100 to 0 and back to 100 to recalibrate the charge meter.
Draining to zero and back to 100 does absolutely nothing for calibration, and Mac notebooks no longer need any battery calibration.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,696
4,025
Draining to zero and back to 100 does absolutely nothing for calibration, and Mac notebooks no longer need any battery calibration.
It's possible this is no longer the case, but it was Apple's advice for a number of years.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,365
703
It's possible this is no longer the case, but it was Apple's advice for a number of years.
Draining from 100 to 0 and charging back to 100 was never recommended by Apple as calibration. The calibration process (which only applied to Mac notebooks with removable batteries) was more detailed than that. Calibration has never been required for Mac notebooks with built-in batteries. http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=9875442&postcount=23
 
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F23

macrumors member
Jan 4, 2014
98
30
That is completely unnecessary, and will do no better in promoting good battery life than simply running on battery when needed and plugging in when available. There is no "formula" or "process" needed to preserve battery life. Just use it.

Draining to zero and back to 100 does absolutely nothing for calibration, and Mac notebooks no longer need any battery calibration.
Just sharing my experience. 5 years and 90 cycles is pretty great.
 

JamesTheMac

macrumors newbie
Mar 10, 2019
13
6
UK
I shouldn’t worry too much, for two reasons. One, of you keep it plugged in most the time, but say use battery 10%-20% of the time, that should be enough to keep the ions in the battery active enough. But even if it doesn’t... come year 2 or 3, the butterfly keyboard would have likely failed and need replacement and you’ll end up with the cycle count being reset to 1 or 2, when you receive a new top case / keyboard / trackpad / battery assembly.

Following 1 key failing on my keyboard, mine was ‘helpfully’ reset just after 2 months.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
4,700
5,733
California
Draining from 100 to 0 and charging back to 100 was never recommended by Apple as calibration. The calibration process (which only applied to Mac notebooks with removable batteries) was more detailed than that. Calibration has never been required for Mac notebooks with built-in batteries. http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=9875442&postcount=23
My guess is that the poster you quoted is referring to this? I remember this back in the day. I realize it isn't exactly saying drain to calibrate, just made me remember the page. :p

https://web.archive.org/web/20111130152358/http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html

From November 2011 (not there anymore):
Use iPhone Regularly.PNG
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,365
703
My guess is that the poster you quoted is referring to this? I remember this back in the day. I realize it isn't exactly saying drain to calibrate, just made me remember the page. :p

https://web.archive.org/web/20111130152358/http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html

From November 2011 (not there anymore):
That article doesn't refer to Macs, but to iPhones, which didn't require the battery calibration that older Mac notebooks did. Also, battery calibration was never recommend to preserve or increase battery life; only to make the battery readings more accurate.
 
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