MBA: How long does your battery last?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Felasco, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Felasco Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    I'm shopping for a new Macbook Air, and am amazed by Apple's claim that a battery charge lasts up to 12 hours.

    I would very much appreciate your real world field reports. How long is your MBA battery charge lasting?

    I'll be using a MBA to type text and work with videos, which I'm guessing are sort of best and worst case scenarios as far as power consumption goes. Your reports and speculation in either of these scenarios is most welcome.

  2. copa macrumors member


    Nov 8, 2013
    12 hours is easy. I regularly get more than that. It really depends on your usage though
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I get fantastic battery life on my 2013 11" MBA. Have never really run it all the way down, but 12 hours is certainly in the right ballpark, depending on the settings and software you use.

    Editing video will suck it down much faster though, rendering kicks the fan into high gear. I'll bet you'll only get 3 hours or so like that. But I have been ripping my large DVD collection and currently have 130 full length movies in iTunes on my MBA (I have the 512gb SSD). Was on an international flight yesterday and watched my movies for about 5 hours. It was showing 59% battery capacity after that.

    At home in the evenings, I often browse the web, check e-mail, maybe work on a spreadsheet and watch my ripped movies for about 4 hours. Battery life typically shows 70% plus at that point. Now I turn the display way down, maybe about 4 dots on the scale, and have the keyboard backlight at the lowest level. But that's as bright as I want in a darkened room.

    If I do these kinds of things for an hour, the battery level still shows around 97-99%. It's funny - I can work for quite awhile on battery before it even drops below 100%. The screen on the 11" MBA is very bright, so turning it way down isn't much of a compromise unless you're in really bright room.
  4. Felasco thread starter Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Many thanks for your replies.

    This is very helpful, appreciate it. That sounds like 10-12 hour battery time if viewing (but not editing) videos. If just typing text, sounds like 12+ hours. That's excellent and all I need.

    Related question: Once the battery is run down, roughly how long does it take to recharge it? Does longer battery up time mean longer recharge times too?

    I assume the battery is easily user replaceable, just as it is with older MacBooks?

    I just bought a new battery for my mid 2009 MacBook. Pretty pricey, $130 I think. The brand new battery lasts only 2-3 hours when watching video. I think I should have saved my money, and invested it in a new MacBook instead. One lives, one learns....
  5. Indy89 macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2009
    None of the current MacBook lineup includes a user replaceable battery including the current classic MacBook Pro I'm afraid.
  6. teffers macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2013
    United Kingdom
    Use mine 0730 to 1600 at work and I go home with 30-50% left at the end of the day.

    Ocassional / moderate use, mainly internet (it's my secondary laptop).

    If you start hammering it then the battery drops pretty fast though (as you'd expect).
  7. Felasco thread starter Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Uh oh.

    So what does one do when the battery ages and starts to die? Take it in for service? Buy a new Mac?
  8. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    Well, bear in mind that 'user serviceable' means even the biggest technophobe could do it. Anybody else with an ounce of sense and a screwdriver can of course replace most parts:
  9. Felasco thread starter Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Um, anybody with an ounce of sense would not pull apart their $2000 lap top unless they are a skilled tech. :) A $200 laptop, well, ok.

    It would be helpful to know if the new MacBook batteries can be replaced, and if yes, approximate cost. Many thanks to any who know this and can make a report.
  10. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2011
    Well, obviously if your battery dies before the warranty is up, take it to Apple to replace. Otherwise, that IS a $200 laptop you'll have in your hand.
  11. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    My 13" lasts a really, really long time. I don't even worry about it. Ends up getting charged every 3-4 days like my iPad.
  12. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    With 50% screen brightness and running a windows 7 VM full screen around 8 hours.
  13. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    The 2013 model has terrific battery life (both the 11" and the 13").

    On my 13" MBA, I'll easily get 10-12 hours a day, (whereas the 2012 11" used to give me around five, maybe six, hours). Actually, the 13" MBA is wonderful, as it means that I can work all day, portably, without having to worry about battery power ebbing away, and without having to transport peripherals.
  14. iphone1105 macrumors 68020


    Oct 8, 2009
    On my 2013 with moderate useage I see around 12-13 hrs of work time, which is great!
  15. Felasco thread starter Guest

    Oct 19, 2012
    Ok, it seems we've demonstrated that the run time of the battery really is what Apple says, which is great. Hats off to Apple for this accomplishment. Sounds perfect to me, recharge the battery while sleeping, and don't think about it otherwise.

    Could we address these issues next?

    1) Roughly how long does it take the new batteries to be recharged? About the same as older laptops? More time? Less?

    2) When the battery ages and performance drops, what's the solution? It sounds like most of us will have to take the Mac in to a repair shop or Apple store to have the battery replaced. Right? Any idea what this might cost?

    I'm asking because I just bought a new battery for my 5 year old MacBook, and it cost $130 I believe. And that is just for the battery, no labor, because as you know the older batteries can be easily replaced by the user.

    If the new batteries which are better are also more expensive, and a tech is required to install them, the cost to replace a battery might be considerable. Just hoping to have some idea of that cost going in.

    Thanks as always.
  16. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    Microsoft Land

    I easily get 10-12 hours from my 13" 2013 i7/512/8GB MBA using WIFI, Safari, Office, email, etc compared with 5-6 on either my 2011 and 2012 MBAs (not upgraded to OS10.9). I usually keep the brightness turned down to <50% unless I need it brighter, then I turn it up so I can easily see screen. I have yet to run out of juice during a long day and it is GREAT to leave the pack and brick behind!

    Battery recharge is very fast-- certainly no slower than other MBAs I have had but never timed it. Ask Apple.

    I really have not seen much degradation in battery life in my older MBAs in the 2 and 3 years I have owned them. How much does it cost? I have never had to do it. Ask Apple.

    Great machine if it meets your needs. It is perfect for me-- the laptop I have been after for more than 12 years has finally arrived.
  17. Boyd01, Mar 10, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I've never timed recharge either, but it seems fast. I would guess a couple hours when it's run most of the way down.

    I have a 2008 15" MacBook Pro and two weeks ago the battery totally died with no warning. Before that it was getting less than an hour. I only use that machine for ripping DVD's at this point (since it has a DVD drive). I can do that on external power, but it's really easy to accidentally knock the magsafe plug out and that could be bad while writing to disk. Maybe I will crazy glue it in place. ;)

    No way I'm going to spend money to replace that battery - I checked Apple's Store and you're right, the replacement is $130. That would be like throwing money down the drain IMO. Something else is just going to die on that machine at this point. It's had a long useful life but all good things must come to an end one day.

    I had a 2011 13" MBA and got maybe 6 hours runtime on it with settings similar to my 2013 11" MBA. I saw very little run time degradation when I sold that machine to a friend last summer. Just spent the past week visiting that friend and she uses it all the time, no battery problems yet after more than two years.

    I'm not gonna worry too much about the battery dying in my MBA, will probably want to upgrade before that happens anyway. But you're over-thinking this. You can see replacement costs on Apple's site here - click on "Battery Replacements". It's $129 for the 11" and 13" MBA - same as you paid for your antique MBP. ;)

    Get your new computer and enjoy it.

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