New MBP user - How often should I charge?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by onne2slick, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. onne2slick macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    I know, it may seem like a silly question to ask, but for me it's not.
    I've read on threads before, where new macbook users, just like me, ask this question. It's a laptop I know, you charge it when you have access and you don't charge it when you don't.

    I don't travel a lot. My MBP is like a home computer to me, where I ALWAYS have access to my AC power. So, when do I charge this? I know it's reccommended to cycle laptops, and calibrate once a month. But, if I use my MBP at home, should I plug in the charger when I reach about 20% 40% 50% 60% ? etc, etc? :confused: Or is there another alternative option I can follow by? My goal is just to keep it healthy, and yes I know.. i'm suffering from anxiety. This 'new macbook anxiety'

    I purchased my MBP last week, and according to coconutbattery, my current battery capacity is at 5607 - 97%, it was 98% yesterday, and 96% earlier today.. what's the deal here? :(
  2. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    If you can have plugged in...plug it in.

    Using the battery is bad for it.

    Live by these two and your MBP battery will love you.
  3. onne2slick thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    I'm so confused. I'm getting mixed answers for this. MAJORITY, of the people on this forum told me it's important to cycle your macbooks, and use it's battery - not using AC power as frequent.
    People are even showing off their pride with the enormous amount of cycles they have, like they will win a prize or something...

    Why would using the battery be a bad thing, that's what it's for is it not? What's the support for this?
    I've asked people at the apple stores as well, and they're giving me mixed answers.. this is so frustrating
  4. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    Using a battery involves chemical reactions that are very slightly less than 100% reversible. That means every time the 'discharge' reaction occurs, the reverse of it, 'charging' is not guaranteed to put the battery at the point before it all started. There are by chemical byproducts that get left behind etc.

    Apple does recommend you do drain the battery once a month. I don't do this, because draining the battery to 0% is very bad for it.

    The one thing that is guaranteed to maintain your battery: keep it warm (room temp, say 20˚C) and don't use it when you can plug it in.
  5. raxafarian macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2007
    Using the battery is not bad.

    You don't want to needlessly go through battery cycles but don't be afraid to use it.

    If you have it plugged in all week I would pick a day and run it down 1/2 way or so and then charge it back up. If it's almost always on AC power I'd also perform the battery calibration procedure every month or two. I perform the calibration every other or third month when I think about it.

    The new batteries are supposed to get 1000 cycles before dropping below 90% capacity (I think those numbers are correct).

    Two things are the hardest on batteries:
    1. Constantly draining it to zero
    2. Never cycling it (always on AC)

    The calibration procedure is on apple's site.
  6. onne2slick thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    So, according to the link you have provided (thank you!) it says

    1 cycle (the full charge of your battery) every day will retain a maximum charge above 80% of the original for about 10 or 11 months. After this point, you will begin to notice that your battery no longer has the same amount of charge that it used to.
    1 cycle every weekday (or 5 cycles per week) will last for about 14 months before the battery's maximum charge dips below 80%.
    3 cycles every week will last for about 2 years before the battery's maximum charge dips below 80%
    2 cycles every week will last for about 3 years before the battery's maximum charge dips below 80%

    So, Sammich (above poster) is correct in saying that it's best to use your MBP on AC, majority of the time right? Because the link you have provided says 2 cycles a week will approximently last 3 years before dipping below 80%
  7. raxafarian macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2007
    Those numbers are for the old batteries: 80% capacity and 300 cycles.

    The new batteries are supposed to last 1000 cycles before dropping below 80% capacity so now you're looking at over 9 years at 2 cycles a week.

    Let's define "majority of the time". If you plug your laptop in and never use the battery that's almost as bad as constantly draining it to zero. If you plug it in most of the time but still go through a cycle or two a week... that's fine.

    It's a battery. It's made to provide power. Just use it without abusing it. Apple will cover the battery if it falls below specs. I just got 2 new batteries under applecare for my old MBP because they were less than 80% capacity with 175 and 180 cycles.
  8. onne2slick thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    Oh, okay.
    So, what i've been doing so far is basically using it's battery until 60-70% and then charging it up again - repeating it atleast twice a day.. which I guess it's bad? - It added up to 6 cycles so far within 5 days. So, it's approximently 1 cycle a day. Which is bad right?

    So, I should use AC power more often, and 1-3 cycles weekly? :eek:
  9. henry72 macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2009
    New Zealand
    Use the battery is NOT bad!!!!!!!!!!!

    I use it almost everyday, except Sat & Sun. My health is between 97-100%
    99% mostly :D

    Recommend you calibrate every week if you're always on A/C power

  10. Eric5273 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2009
    New Jersey
    Just don't leave it plugged in 24/7. There is nothing wrong with leaving it plugged in while you are using it, but if it's fully charged, then unplug it when you turn it off. And perhaps once per week or every other week, just use it on battery for a while to keep the battery healthy.
  11. onne2slick thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    How do you guys charge your battery? Or when, or how often.

    I think i'm gonna just do 2-4 cycles a week from now on - and for the rest run on AC. :confused: okay?
  12. onne2slick thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2010
    How many cycles do you go through a week?
  13. Sankersizzle macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    guys, i also have a brand new mbp, so i see where you're coming from. however, i feel like you guys are needlessly overcomplicating these laptops. here is my philosophy -i use the laptop with the charger when i'm at the desk (where my charger is). when i want to use the laptop somewhere other than my desk, i unplug it and take it with me. then, when i return to my desk, i plug it in again. when i go back to university in the summer, i will do the same for every class.

    it is important to remember that you own the macbook, it does not own you. stressing about 1% health over 3 years is gonna give you grey hair or something. if my battery ***** the bed a few months earlier than it could have lived, that's okay by me, as i got to use my lappy the way i wanted.
  14. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    I know my first reply was too short, but it really boils down to those two points: using the battery does run it down...eventually. So plug it in if you can.

    They aren't hard and fast rules, your battery won't die, just plug it in if you can but if you can't it's not the end of the world.

    That the guy above me said, it's a TOOL, just use it. Apple's batteries are rated for far longer than the possible use life of the laptop anyway.

    Not sure what you're trying to say here. But even if it's off, you should leave it plugged in, UNLESS you're leaving it off for a long period or more than a month. In that case leave it about 2/3 full, and in a warm place.
  15. btrav13 macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2010
    I have had my MBP for 3 months now and am at 30 load cycles. My original battery capacity was 6900 and its now at 6901 LOL. I usually take this thing with me to work every day but don't actually use it at work every day. Sometimes I do, sometimes it just sits all day. When it's at home, it's plugged in. I only plug it in at work if I'm doing something intensive and it's going to drain my battery while I'm still using it.

    So I'm living by the rule of using it on AC while I'm at home and using it on battery while I'm out. So far, this has worked out fairly well.
  16. lukester macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2009
    I am not happy about my battery situation. I use it mainly plugged in but try to run it on the battery every so often and run it down to calibrate it every couple of months.
    the result? 93 cycles and 80% health.. stinko..

    I am getting a new laptop and certainly want better results than that.
  17. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  18. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    My experience. I almost always have my laptop plugged in.

    The battery gets used 0-3 times a week (usually 1 to 2). It's been like this for the three years I had my previous macbook (I just bought a Pro)

    Coconut battery says my old macbook's battery has 93% (actually last I looked it claimed 100%) life. While I do think it is slightly less capable, even before I installed coconut battery I hadn't noticed a big change in battery life (if there was one I wasn't sure if it was my own perception or if I really had lost some battery life. Plus I started using it more when I had it unplugged. LIke I would just keep wifi running rather than turn it off when I wasn't using it).

    So, I am more prone to believing people who say don't use the battery too much. I do think you do need to use it some though, like once a week is good (I've heard it's not good to let it go below 35%, least I think that was the number. And in general I've tried to stick to that).
  19. Azathoth macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2009
    Based on experience and reading:

    Lithium battery technologies prefer shallow charge/discharge cycles.
    Storage (and ideally operating from AC) should be at low (10-20deg. C) 40% charge.

    Maintaining full charge and elevated temperature causes permanent capacity loss (IMO this explains why so many cheap laptop batteries tend to fail after a year or two).

    Discharge to less than 10% is also bad.

    Deep discharge (to <<3V cell) is terminal, but battery packs have protection against that.

    On my Thinkpad I could set the charger to stop at 80%. After nearly 3 years of daily use, battery capacity is still 96% of initial (and has about 200 cycles). *but* but after 3 years, you want to upgrade the computer anyway, so if it was down to 80% after 3years, that would also be "good enough"

    With my MBP 2010 I'm leaving it plugged in most of the time (23 cycles in 6weeks). Using it on battery when I need to / convenience, and not thinking about it.

    Too bad Apple doesnt give the (power) user control over the charging - I can understand that non-technical people shouldnt mess with things, but I wish I could cutoff charging at 80% (and control my processor power settings).

    Don't calibrate your battery more than once a month. It's unnecessary and strains the battery.


    (MSc (Eng) and a couple of other letters)

Share This Page