inducecurrent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2020
4
1
Some background: this was a launch-day machine that I ordered right after the press release back in 2018, see screenshot for config details.

My usage pattern is that this machine is plugged in 98% of the time, and then it is mostly plugged into an external display in clamshell mode. I run some heavy developer workloads so I find that I only end up getting 2-3 hours of battery life if unplugged, so I'm rarely working with the machine on battery (plus it gets too hot to comfortably use on my lap). The battery probably gets fully discharged once every 60 days or so, and I don't think too much about cycling the battery, it tends to only happen by accident.

I have to say that I'm quite surprised by the very poor lifespan of this battery, I only have 185 cycles on the battery after near-constant daily use. I'm wondering if any battery wizards or anyone else experiencing the same issues could help me out by answering a few questions. I'd consider my usage pattern to be pretty normal – but who knows.

- Is this a totally normal lifespan to expect from this battery?
- Is it just my usage pattern that could have helped improve the life of it?
- Should I be religiously doing a full battery cycle every 30 days?
- Does this sound like a defective battery unit?
 

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Last edited:

Falhófnir

macrumors 603
Aug 19, 2017
5,263
5,891
I seem to remember some 2018 models have a battery issue, but I can't remember if there's a specific service program for it? Definitely worth speaking to Apple though, they might well give you a warranty replacement as they say it should retain 80% over 1,000 charge cycles.

 
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inducecurrent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2020
4
1
Definitely worth speaking to Apple though, they might well give you a warranty replacement as they say it should retain 80% over 1,000 charge cycles.

Thanks for the insight. It looks like I might have to shell out the £199 (!) for a battery replacement as the site states "The one-year warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery." – it's no longer in warranty and no AppleCare+ here 😞

I'll take it in after my M1 Air arrives and I'll update the thread if anything interesting comes up!
 
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bzwanenburg

macrumors newbie
Jan 3, 2021
1
1
I have exactly the same problem as you, MBP 15" 2018, similar use case, only ±5600 mAh remaining after 180 cycles. I've tried a lot of different things (SMC reset, disabling battery health mgmt, doing several cycles) but nothing seems to work... Please let me know if you find anything / hear anything from Apple!
 
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inducecurrent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2020
4
1
Quick update for anyone following: I've finally received my M1 Air so I've started the repair process. I've spoken to Apple to arrange a mail-in. I don't know if at this point I'm going to be charged, but they have said it may take a month or more at this point for it to be fixed (due to backlog of mail-in repairs). Looks like there's a bit more waiting to do...
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,954
8,084
Send the MBP to Apple and let them do the replacement.
Pay the 199 if required -- it's actually a very reasonable price for what you get.

I would rethink HOW I used the charger in your case.
My suggestions for use with the replacement battery:
- every 3rd day, take it OFF the charger and "run down" the battery to about 40-45% of charge. Then reconnect it.
- at night, pull the charger out of the wall. Do this whether you shut down or just let it sleep all night. In the morning, plug the charger back in.

My opinion only.
Others may disagree.
Some may disagree vehemently.
 
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Christopher Kim

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2016
320
257
It feels like anecdotally, you're seeing a lot more of these kinds of issues with the 2016 - 2019 generation of MBPs (both 13" and 15/16"). I think the pandemic which has caused a large number of people to have to work-from-home, means a lot more ppl working in closed-clamshell (or lid open) into an external display with MBPs plugged in all the time. Feels like (again totally anecdotally), that the batteries in the recent generations of MBPs are more prone to battery degradation when plugged in all the time, than pre-2016 generations.

I haven't had any issues with my 2016 13" MBP (also release-day) but I've gotten a new battery / top case 1.5yrs ago (when I got my butterfly kb replaced). So when my WFH life started back in March, I took some small precautions to hopefully maximize battery longevity (while in my mind, balancing not being too difficult), given I'm running closed-clamshell into external monitor.

- As @Fishrrman suggested, I unplug my MBP as soon I finish my workday (it's just a routine now, I set to sleep, and then unplug)
- I leave it unplugged until the next morning when I'm starting work
- Whenever I need to use my laptop during evenings / weekend, I use it on battery "like a laptop" to allow for some battery usage
- My 1.5yr battery on coconutBattery showing 79 cycles, 98% capacity

Some may argue it's not necessary, but with enough of these stories out there, this feels like a very small amount of work on my part to potentially avoid battery issues down the road.
 
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jadraker

macrumors newbie
Oct 24, 2018
21
6
Santiago, Chile
Use AlDente. It let you limit charge from 0 to 100% even when plugged in. I set mine to 65%. Lithium battery are ok above 20% and below 80%.

 
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FNH15

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2011
474
472
Just chiming in here - I have a 2018 15 inch in the original mid-tier config (512/16/4GB 560x). I think the heat of the Intel chips are to blame - mine will routinely crest 70-80ºC in my normal workload (Zoom + Excel + Safari). By far the worst Mac I’ve ever owned - it’s the best advertisement for the M1 machines!

My service battery message has been present since one of the point updates to 10.15. Battery life is abysmal.
Here’s CoconutBattery & my machine specs - owned since 9/2018:
Screen Shot 2021-02-19 at 7.05.14 PM.png Screen Shot 2021-02-19 at 7.08.51 PM.png
 
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inducecurrent

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2020
4
1
Update: it's finally in for repair at my local Apple Store, looks like I will be paying the £199 for a new battery. However, Apple did make a point of saying this includes a top-case replacement as well, due to the nature of how the battery is attached to the case (not sure if this is unique to the 2018 models or not). Hopefully this brings a new lease of life to the computer by removing the crumbs and such that had built up under the keyboard over the years.

Apparently I don't qualify for consumer protection (at least in the UK) because it's been more than 2 years since the purchase date of the computer. I'll probably just resell it once the battery is fixed having had more than few issues with this computer over its lifespan and jumping ship from Intel ASAP seems like a sensible idea to retain resale value.

As @FNH15 said, I think the heat had something to with the degraded battery (although this has not been confirmed). I have never experienced heat anything like this on my 2013 Pro which, if memory serves, didn't get hot at all by comparison and retained a pretty good level of charge even after 5 years of use.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,954
8,084
I'd pay the 199.

For that you not only get a new battery, but the whole top case which includes a replacement keyboard (which is also a problem on these).
 
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FNH15

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2011
474
472
Update: it's finally in for repair at my local Apple Store, looks like I will be paying the £199 for a new battery. However, Apple did make a point of saying this includes a top-case replacement as well, due to the nature of how the battery is attached to the case (not sure if this is unique to the 2018 models or not). Hopefully this brings a new lease of life to the computer by removing the crumbs and such that had built up under the keyboard over the years.

Apparently I don't qualify for consumer protection (at least in the UK) because it's been more than 2 years since the purchase date of the computer. I'll probably just resell it once the battery is fixed having had more than few issues with this computer over its lifespan and jumping ship from Intel ASAP seems like a sensible idea to retain resale value.

As @FNH15 said, I think the heat had something to with the degraded battery (although this has not been confirmed). I have never experienced heat anything like this on my 2013 Pro which, if memory serves, didn't get hot at all by comparison and retained a pretty good level of charge even after 5 years of use.

I have the same experience comparing my old 2013 15” retina to this machine - heat was never really an issue with the old one. The heat will also kill the display if used in clamshell mode for extended periods of high heat - look up the orange spots issue with this gen for more info - I had the display replaced under warranty for this issue.

Can’t wait to dump Intel as well. The M1 is faster than the 8850H and yet is cool and silent. Just waiting for an AS Mac with 32GB RAM...
 
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