When am I supposed to charge my MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by marty1990, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. marty1990 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    When it was delivered, the dude said that, for the first couple of times, let my Mac's battery completely drain, and charge them up to full. Then afterwards, just top up as and when.

    Am wondering if this is right? How should I be charging it. I usually let it get to about 1% before I connect it to the mains?

    What's the best way to keep the battery good for as long as possible?
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    The best way to keep the battery in proper working condition is to just use the Mac. But don't use it as a desktop machine. Use its battery sometimes.
     
  3. chrisvee macrumors regular

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    #3
  4. marty1990 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I mainly use it on the battery, and only ever plug it in when it needs to be charged. When I bought it the guy told me to get it down to 1% before charging, as that way you get the most out of the battery, but you charge it before it it's completely gone, thus using one of the charge cycles.

    I'm a bit lost as to what I should do then.

    ... I just read how to calibrate the battery. I didn't do it the way Apple has said at all. I did it the way the guy from the computer shop told me to do it, and I did it his way when I got my Mac. Because I didn't calibrate it properly first time round, will that have affected the battery already? Or if I do it the proper, will that sort it?
     
  5. TheJing macrumors 6502a

    TheJing

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    #5
    Calibrating your battery does not extend its "life". Calibrating your battery only allows for more accurate readings of your battery's capacity.

    Use your battery once in a while and you'll be fine.
     
  6. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Normal use is just fine. This is also what apple says, see the link above.

    Only if you use it as a desktop, then you have to perform battery maintenance.
     
  7. marty1990, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011

    marty1990 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I tend to use it more on the battery, because I presumed if you leave it plugged in all the time, the battery will get used to being plugged in and not retain a charge?

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

    "Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time".

    I checked my battery through System Info, and it said my battery has gone through 6 cycles. So that's since Thursday. Four days. Does that sound right?

    I'm still really confused on how I'm meant to charge this. I'm still used to my Windows laptops and their batteries being terrible.

    Also, since I didn't properly calibrate it when I first got my Mac, should I do it today? Or is it not worth it?
     
  8. motoracer1486 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I leave my laptop plugged in ALL THE TIME and have *never* had any issues. Battery still lasts over 3 1/2 hours.
     
  9. marty1990 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Will calibrating properly after four days of use still be beneficial to me knowing if the power left in the battery is accurate? Or is it past that now?

    So, to charge, I'm not supposed to let it get to too low, I'm just supposed to top it up? Or am I not supposed to to charge it fully?

    Can't get my head round this, lol.
     
  10. TheJing macrumors 6502a

    TheJing

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    #10
    If you calibrate it now it will give you an accurate reading.

    Don't worry too much just use your battery.
     
  11. warvanov macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    You're really, really overthinking this.

    What the guy who delivered your computer told you is mostly wrong. It's not necessary to completely drain your battery the first time you use it. There's no benefit to the life of your battery to do this.

    Calibrating your battery also has no effect on the life of your battery. It only helps the system to give an accurate reading of the battery's charge. It doesn't matter when you do it, the effect will be the same.

    The only thing you really need to worry about is to make sure that you're using the battery at least occassionally. Don't leave it plugged in for weeks at a time. Use the battery regularly and you'll be fine.
     
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #12
    I think you're overly concerned. As long as you don't plan to leave your MBP plugged in all the time, you should just use it the way that most convenient for you. There is absolutely nothing you have to do for or about the battery.

    The new MBPs batteries are pre-calibrated. Unless you experience some odd behavior, you don't have to do anything.
     
  13. hifirobbie macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #13
    After MANY years of dealing with Li-Ion batteries in power tools etc., I can confidently say that the only thing you really need tom worry about is completely flattening the battery. This can cause the Li-Ion battery to go into a "deep discharge" state which can affect it's ability to take or retain a full charge.

    Just keep charging it whenever (I try not to let mine get below 10% as a minimum) and always let it get to 100% unless you really can't avoid it.

    Rob.
     
  14. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #14
    Sounds like you're thinking of memory effect which only applies to older battery tech such as NiCad. Even so, batteries do not "get used to being plugged in".
     
  15. randomrazr macrumors 65816

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    #15
    justuse the mac and stop worrying about battery. by the time the battery dies. you'll be window shopping 2013 macbook pros
     
  16. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Isn't this exactly what you do when you calibrate the battery?
     
  17. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #17
    As it hasn't been posted yet:
    ______________________________________________________
    This should answer most, if not all, of your battery questions:
    Apple Notebook Battery FAQ by GGJstudios
    ______________________________________________________
     
  18. happle macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #18
    using the battery down to 1% every time causes stress on the battery and will reduce it's life faster if you do this every time. as other people have said, the most healthy way to keep your battery is to just use it normally. meaning, keep it plugged in sometimes when your home (reduces cycles), but also use it on the battery when needed (using the battery keeps the it healthy), and just give it a charge when you feel necessary whether it be 20%, 50%, etc. then calibrate once a month to ensure your mac knows your batteries full health.

    funny how people who care too much about their battery could end up hurting it either by draining it down to nothing every time, or using the charger all the time. but its the average jo's that could give a **** about their batteries that have the healthiest
     
  19. idunn macrumors 6502

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    #19
    A 'hopefully' happy battery

    Having been through a number of batteries on a black MacBook, I've taken a particular interest in what promotes a healthy battery.

    By number of batteries I mean at least three replacements, having since forgotten the exact count. In each case the battery in question obviously with a problem, as beginning to bulge. I first noticed this when the expansion was starting to press against the underside of the trackpad and affect it. Apple has more usually been willing to replace these batteries free of charge, but to save oneself the pain and possible expense, a few tips.

    According to a 'genius' at an Apple store these batteries need to be exercised. I usually leave this computer plugged in, but doing so non-stop is not advisable. A previous 'genius' had suggested I let the battery run down completely occasionally. But this last time I asked more specifically, and told by this 'genius' that on first using this new battery to fully charge it, then to let it run down to zero. That means not 1%, but until the computer on battery power completely ceases to operate, and quits. Then you can plug it back in, re-start the computer, and continue. In looking, this appears to be what Apple means by 'calibrating' the battery, although a 'genius' never used those terms with me.

    Regular maintenance is also necessary, according to this last 'genius.' If often on battery power then probably not an issue. But if often having the computer plugged in, then one should regularly run on only battery power as well. My understanding one need and should not run the battery entirely down then, but only by a certain indefinite percentage: say maybe 70%, 50%, 30%, etc. More or less as one wishes in this respect, BUT also once a month in 'calibrating' the battery by running it entirely out as well. Ask your local 'genius' and see what response you get, my impression was that a little sole battery time every day optimal.

    In asking, Apple tells me that this battery should have an expected life span of 300 cycles. I'll take that to mean 300 full discharges, which at once a month is a long time. If something less than that, then one may be forced into visiting them more often for new batteries.

    Personally I would just as soon this battery lasted without complaint, so as with a lot of things it will want a little TLC -- and exercise.
     
  20. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    #20
    One cycle always means one 100% discharge and charge to 100%.
    1 cycle is also dischargeing and recharging to 50% twice or to 25% four times.
    What people mean when they say calibration doesn't help only makes the reading more accurate is that calibration is a 100% discharge at one time and it has nothing to do with cycles or the general battery life.
     
  21. Steve's Barber macrumors 6502a

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    #21

    Crap. I had a side bet that GGJStudios would beat you to it. :( 20 posts and nary a peep.
     
  22. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    Terra
    #22
    There's a lot of misinformation in this thread.

    It is not necessary to run down your battery all the way and then charge it the first time as all current Apple laptops are pre-calibrated. This IS a good idea for something like a brand-new cell phone, though, as they are not calibrated out of the box. You also don't need to calibrate the battery once or twice a month as the batteries are pre-calibrated and, for the most part, retain their calibration quite well.

    Again, for emphasis, there is NO NEED to calibrate your battery. It's already calibrated if you have a built-in battery.

    You also don't need to worry about running the battery into a deep discharge mode under normal use. The battery has circuitry that will shutdown/sleep the computer before this happens. If you put your MBP on a shelf for a year with 5% battery power remaining, then you'll hit that risk. Otherwise, don't worry about running it down. Always running it down very far does increase the wear on your battery, though. But, if you need to do it, don't worry about it.

    You should use your MBP on the battery at least once a week, but it sounds like you should have no trouble doing that.

    Your battery is rated for 1000 cycles before the health gets below 80%.

    So, in other words, don't worry about calibration unless you have a specific reason to think it's reporting incorrect figures, and use the battery every once in a while. Otherwise, don't worry about it.

    Also, as a side note, "Windows batteries" aren't necessarily any better or worse than Apple's batteries, Windows is just less efficient. Still, I had a ThinkPad that got 3 hours per charge for about 2 years before declining. There are better and worse batteries, and Apple's are certainly excellent quality, but there isn't anything magical about it.
     
  23. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    Switzerland
    #23
    Someone else already posted this link, but here it is again: http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

    Relevant parts:

    The built-in battery of your MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air is designed to deliver up to 1000 full charge and discharge cycles before it reaches 80 percent of its original capacity.
    (the 300 number that's floating around here is for older models, 2008 and older)

    Be sure to fully charge your portable when you plug it in for the first time,
    (this I also read in the manuals for most other battery powered electronic devices. So probably a good idea.)

    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.
    (ok, we also knew this. Now, how often should you unplug it?)

    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.
    (ok, so regular use of the battery is good!)

    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.
    (alright... at least once a month)


    So, that's it. If you regularly use your laptop battery, you don't have to worry at all. If it is always plugged in, you have to perform regular maintenance.

    Note that calibrating the battery is not necessary on the unibody MBPs. Calibrating does not improve the battery life, it just makes sure that the remaining power is displayed correctly. Since the new MBP batteries come pre-calibrated, you don't have to do it.
     
  24. makinao macrumors regular

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    Dec 27, 2009
    #24
    Marty: In a sense, this is right. The "dude" suggestion to draining it completely then charging to full is similar, if not the same as calibration. In fact the Apple recommended procedure recommends running it till it goes into deep sleep, then waiting some hours before the sleep light goes dead before charging it. But take note, he said only "a couple of times". In daily use, use the battery when you are mobile, and plug it in when you are in near an outlet.

    motoracer1486: How would you know your battery can run 3 1/2 hours if you have it plugged in "ALL THE TIME"?
     
  25. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #25
    But it isn't right. The battery is already calibrated, so why do you need to calibrate it again? It needs to be fully charged, but not calibrated.
     

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