Should I use MacBook Pro plugged in all the time?

Cyborg21

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 2, 2013
332
0
Hello, I am new to Macs.
I want my MacBook Pro to last as long as possible. I read some articles about lithium batteries and MacBook Pro Batteries. I read battery FAQ on website of Apple too but It wasn't clear enough. So should I use my MacBook Pro plugged in all the time to lower cycle counts or will it cause harm to battery? Thank you and sorry for my bad english.
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
2,243
888
Hello, I am new to Macs.
I want my MacBook Pro to last as long as possible. I read some articles about lithium batteries and MacBook Pro Batteries. I read battery FAQ on website of Apple too but It wasn't clear enough. So should I use my MacBook Pro plugged in all the time to lower cycle counts or will it cause harm to battery? Thank you and sorry for my bad english.
No. I would recommend discharging the battery fully once every month, and partial charges every other time.

You could leave it on charge all the time, but if you ever have to take it off, battery life will be almost unusable.
 

joeblow7777

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2010
5,966
6,755
I love how the first two comments responses totally contradict. The poor OP won't know what to do!

The simple truth of the matter is this: if you can plug in your computer, plug it in to save battery cycles. HOWEVER, Li-ion batteries do last longer when they get some exercise, so every few weeks or so make sure to run it off the battery. A full discharge/recharge about once a month is recommended.
 

Menge

macrumors 6502a
Dec 22, 2008
609
2
Amsterdam
I had a 2008 MacBook Pro which stayed plugged in all the time and until last year, the battery was severely discalibrated and in the end the computer would suddently shut down without warning.

I would recommend using it unplugged frequently and discharge/recharge (make the battery work).
 

kage207

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2008
961
8
I had a 2008 MacBook Pro which stayed plugged in all the time and until last year, the battery was severely discalibrated and in the end the computer would suddently shut down without warning.

I would recommend using it unplugged frequently and discharge/recharge (make the battery work).
Okay, this is not true for the unibody MacBooks. The unibody MacBooks may be plugged in all the time as long as you unplug it once every day or two (as you commute somewhere or something). Otherwise you may leave it plugged in all the time and discharge it once a month (or down to about 20%~).
 

Menge

macrumors 6502a
Dec 22, 2008
609
2
Amsterdam
Okay, this is not true for the unibody MacBooks. The unibody MacBooks may be plugged in all the time as long as you unplug it once every day or two (as you commute somewhere or something). Otherwise you may leave it plugged in all the time and discharge it once a month (or down to about 20%~).
Mine was a Unibody MacBook. A little more info: battery life was ~1h20m long.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2007
1,562
3,551
SF, CA
Okay, this is not true for the unibody MacBooks. The unibody MacBooks may be plugged in all the time as long as you unplug it once every day or two (as you commute somewhere or something). Otherwise you may leave it plugged in all the time and discharge it once a month (or down to about 20%~).
I'm a bit confused. What is the difference between the above statement and ?I would recommend using it unplugged frequently and discharge/recharge (make the battery work)."
 

Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,778
251
Troutdale, OR
From the horse's mouth:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

Standard Maintenance

For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her notebook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month. Need a reminder? Add an event to your desktop’s iCal. When your battery no longer holds sufficient charge to meet your needs, you may choose to replace it. If your notebook came with a built-in battery, you should have the battery replaced only by an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
 

kage207

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2008
961
8
I'm a bit confused. What is the difference between the above statement and ?I would recommend using it unplugged frequently and discharge/recharge (make the battery work)."
So, Apple says there is two ways to take care of your battery. The difference is how you use the computer.

Scenario 1: If you use it mainly as a desktop, then leave it plugged in all the time and discharge it completely (or down to ~20%) once a month.

Scenario 2: If you commute or use it every day (or two) not plugged in and discharge it a bit, then you do not need to discharge it completely once a month.

Menge said:
Mine was a Unibody MacBook. A little more info: battery life was ~1h20m long.
So, you would fall under scenario 1. If you did not discharge it once a month, this was your problem. I'm sorry for not reading your original post completely. You are right about frequently discharging it but to be more clear, one should follow the timelines for their respective scenario.
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Apr 10, 2008
6,271
3,338
why get a laptop if you are looking for a computer to keep plugged in all the time? get an iMac, more power, more screen real estate, cheaper price.
 

Barney63

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2014
799
1
Bolton, UK.
why get a laptop if you are looking for a computer to keep plugged in all the time? get an iMac, more power, more screen real estate, cheaper price.
I tend to have mine plugged in most of the time.
At home during the day and evening it is besides me on the sofa (so it is plugged in), at Uni I am also always beside a socket. I take it to bed with me on battery power and do a couple of hours surfing (uses about 10%).

Barney
 

Praxis91

macrumors regular
Mar 15, 2011
103
884
I keep mine plugged in most of the time, but 1-2 times a week at work, it will go down from 100 to 70-ish back to 100 to 70-ish to 100.
 

Cyborg21

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 2, 2013
332
0
I tend to have mine plugged in most of the time.
At home during the day and evening it is besides me on the sofa (so it is plugged in), at Uni I am also always beside a socket. I take it to bed with me on battery power and do a couple of hours surfing (uses about 10%).

Barney
How old is your Mac and how is the battery life?

----------

why get a laptop if you are looking for a computer to keep plugged in all the time? get an iMac, more power, more screen real estate, cheaper price.
Well, there were 4 reason why I got a MacBook Pro Retina

1) I want a portable computer (but I do not want to make more battery cycles when I am at home this is why I asked this question here)

2) I do not need a super powerful computer
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,963
4,550
The lifespan of your computer does not really depend on whether you have it plugged in or on. E.g. I am completely mistreating my battery and my machine and after 1 year and 7 months and 705 load cycles, I still have around 80% of my original capacity. I guess it will fall to 70-75% by the end of the year, at which point I will either buy a new battery or get a new computer from my employee. If you are very careful about your battery, your might last half a year, maybe a year longer. It is not really worth the hassle, as far as I am concerned, given how cheap battery replacement is.
 

Cyborg21

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 2, 2013
332
0
The lifespan of your computer does not really depend on whether you have it plugged in or on. E.g. I am completely mistreating my battery and my machine and after 1 year and 7 months and 705 load cycles, I still have around 80% of my original capacity. I guess it will fall to 70-75% by the end of the year, at which point I will either buy a new battery or get a new computer from my employee. If you are very careful about your battery, your might last half a year, maybe a year longer. It is not really worth the hassle, as far as I am concerned, given how cheap battery replacement is.
How much does it costs if I make a battery replacement in an Apple Store?
 

jkim3691

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2011
532
10
No. I would recommend discharging the battery fully once every month, and partial charges every other time.

You could leave it on charge all the time, but if you ever have to take it off, battery life will be almost unusable.
This is untrue. I always have mine plugged in and occasionally I'll have it use it without the power adapter and it works just fine.
 

5to1

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2008
302
48
There are a couple of things one should avoid with Li-ion/polymer batteries as they can cause premature failure:

1) Exposure to extremes of temperature. For example try to avoid leaving it in the trunk if you are fortunate enough to live in an extremely hot climate, or unfortunate enough to live in an arctic climate.

2) Leaving it unused for long periods while fully charged. Something I've suffered from in the past with second batteries that I didn't use often. Hence I'm now just content with a sealed in battery given it lasts long enough for most occasions.

3) Draining every last ounce of juice from it.

None of these will guarantee premature failure, nor will avoiding them guarantee perfect battery life cycle.

Even if you discharge it every day, you're likely to get 3 years out of it, with approx 80% capacity left by the end.


Lets just say you molly coddle it, only discharging it once a month and holding onto the power cord like a baby grabbing their pacifier. The best possible outcome would be that after 3 years (come failure time) it still holds 100% (very unlikely). But what use is that to you, if you're never ever using that capacity anyway. The old saying "you can't have your cake and eat it" comes to mind. (Although in reality I suspect no matter what you do you can't have your cake, something else will eat it if you don't :/).

IMO if £109 (Apples prices) for a battery replacement worries you enough not to use the thing as a mobile computing device (kind of the point of a laptop), you're better off buying a cheaper computer (so you can more easily afford a new battery or computer in a few years time).
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
2,243
888
This is untrue. I always have mine plugged in and occasionally I'll have it use it without the power adapter and it works just fine.
Well that is your experience. You are deteriorating your battery by keeping the charge full.