rMBP: Best Way To Handle Battery?

Drew84

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 9, 2012
19
0
My new rMBP (my work computer) is used roughly 8-10 hours a day, and is generally on and running anywhere from 16-20 hours a day (lid closed and in sleep mode for some of that time), every day of the week. Taking this amount of use into account, what is the best way to keep the battery at it's optimum health over the long haul? Should I cycle it daily, once a week? Is it good to use it on battery power for a short period of time and then plug it back in, or is it best to always drain it down to 0% if you're going to use battery power at all?

I killed the battery in my previous MBP (a mid '08 model) in no time because I had it plugged in at least 95% of the time, and that machine didn't see half the use this one does/will. So this has had me paranoid in the first couple of weeks with this new machine, cycling it on battery regularly but perhaps a little often.

I know this topic has been discussed countless times here on the forum, but I'm curious how to handle the battery in heavy use, rather than occasional use.
 

tillsbury

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2007
1,416
345
Newer MBPs have different batteries from the older ones. Apple's recommendation is to keep it plugged in, but make sure you fully drain the battery down to zero at least once a month. My rMBP is at 90% of battery capacity at the moment, after 18 months and 147 cycles (permanently on, almost permanently plugged in). It's supposed to retain at least 80% of capacity after 1000 cycles.

Having said that, the cost of a new battery is $199, which if it's required after 3-4 years doesn't sound much of a problem.
 

ohbrilliance

macrumors 6502a
May 15, 2007
940
214
Melbourne, Australia
Apple's recommendation is to keep it plugged in, but make sure you fully drain the battery down to zero at least once a month.
Not quite. Apple says: You should perform this procedure when you first use your computer and then every few months after that. If you normally leave your Apple portable computer connected to AC power and very rarely use it on battery power you may want to perform this process once a month.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1490?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
 

Patriks7

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2008
1,308
323
Vienna
Not quite. Apple says: You should perform this procedure when you first use your computer and then every few months after that. If you normally leave your Apple portable computer connected to AC power and very rarely use it on battery power you may want to perform this process once a month.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1490?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
Did you read the article you linked?

"Current Apple portable computer batteries are pre-calibrated and do not require the calibration procedure outlined in this article."
 

tillsbury

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2007
1,416
345

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,920
32,257
Boston
Personally, I use my laptop and don't worry about the laptop - people spend way too much time and energy on the battery. Enjoy your laptop :)

I leave rMBP plugged in for extended periods and so far (after 1 year) it hasn't been a problem. Likewise my 2010 MBP's battery is fine (my wife has the this laptop now)
 

ohbrilliance

macrumors 6502a
May 15, 2007
940
214
Melbourne, Australia
Did you read the article you linked?

"Current Apple portable computer batteries are pre-calibrated and do not require the calibration procedure outlined in this article."
Blame it on a poorly structured article. One would assume that the first paragraph applied to all laptops if you didn't read beyond that. Take a look.. opening paragraph looks like an intro to all, next section applies to macbooks with built-in batteries, next section applies to those with removable batteries.

----------

That doesn't apply to the rMBP, as the article itself says.
You're right. Where did you get your advice to drain the battery once a month?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
762
Apple's recommendation is to keep it plugged in, but make sure you fully drain the battery down to zero at least once a month.
No, Apple does not recommend fully draining the battery. It recommends cycling a battery at least once per month on a notebook that isn't used often. For notebooks in frequent use, it's recommended to run on battery power for a few hours every few days, at least. That should put at least a few cycles per month on the battery. A cycle does not mean fully draining a battery, which is never necessary on newer Apple notebooks.
Not quite. Apple says: You should perform this procedure when you first use your computer and then every few months after that.
As already pointed out, the built-in batteries in the newer Mac unibody notebooks come pre-calibrated and do not require regular calibration like the removable batteries in older Apple notebooks.
Taking this amount of use into account, what is the best way to keep the battery at it's optimum health over the long haul? Should I cycle it daily, once a week? Is it good to use it on battery power for a short period of time and then plug it back in, or is it best to always drain it down to 0% if you're going to use battery power at all?
Run on battery whenever you need to and plug it in whenever you can. You can plug or unplug any time you need to, regardless of the charged percentage, and you never need to completely drain your battery. Just make sure you don't run on AC power exclusively, as your battery needs to be used regularly to stay healthy.
The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
This thread massively confuses two separate issues:

Keeping the battery healthy - this means using its capacity on a regular basis and not allowing it to spend all its life on mains power.

Calibration of the battery monitor - this calibration may drift over time leading to incorrect displays of remaining power.

It is quite possible to have a poor physical battery that is correctly calibrated as well as a poorly calibrated but healthy battery, they are different issues.

You should look for Apple's recommendation in both areas - normally calibration can be just carried out at any time and the calibration will be restored - once a battery has lost capacity due to age/memory effect/lack of use then this is likely to be a permanent change.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
As already stated, calibration should not be performed on newer Apple notebook batteries.
I know, I was explaining that there were two issues, it had already been explained that one issue didn't apply to the latest MBPs so I didn't feel the need to explain that again and confuse my post...
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
4,102
1,387
97% capacity after roughly a year, 56 cycles.

i have it plugged in most of the time. so far so good
 

Steve121178

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
5,163
4,346
Bedfordshire, UK
I know this topic has been discussed countless times here on the forum, but I'm curious how to handle the battery in heavy use, rather than occasional use.
I can't speak for everyone but who cares? Just use it how you like and get the battery replaced if it starts to deteriorate in under 3 years.

It's a computer, not a baby. Pampering & nursing is not required.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,920
32,257
Boston
I can't speak for everyone but who cares? Just use it how you like and get the battery replaced if it starts to deteriorate in under 3 years.

It's a computer, not a baby. Pampering & nursing is not required.
I agree, which is why I said just use it, not worry about it. I've never really been overly concerned about my laptop batteries and they've lasted me in excess of 3 years.
 

SVT Amateur

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2006
421
1
Tyler, Texas
My rMBP stays plugged in at home because it is always connected to a thunderbolt display while at work I generally use it on battery power because I'm too dang lazy to take the power cord out of my bag to keep it charged - which generally takes it down to between 40-80% depending on how much I use it. I've thought about battery health issues myself several times and just feel for me this is the best and easiest way to keep my battery healthy.
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
2,535
191
Brasil
I don't know if Apple Care covers the battery for 3 years, but if so I would use it naturally without any care and hoping it would fail or need replacement within this period.

P.S.: I never taken any care with my White Macbook (late-2009) battery and it still has about 4-5h of battery life under Mavericks.
 

saturnotaku

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2013
1,924
51
For notebooks in frequent use, it's recommended to run on battery power for a few hours every few days, at least. That should put at least a few cycles per month on the battery.
This is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Just use the notebook however you need, and don't worry about the battery.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
762
This is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Just use the notebook however you need, and don't worry about the battery.
That's fine to do if you regularly run on battery. However, for those who use their notebook as a desktop replacement and leave it plugged in all the time, running on battery for a few hours every few days will keep the battery healthy longer than if they leave it plugged in 24/7 and never run on battery. So it does signify extending battery life.
 

Similar threads

Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.