How to replace a battery on Mac

Older Mac models have removable batteries, which meant once a battery was dead you could buy and fit a new one. Or if it was still under warranty, Apple will replace it for free. But chances are, if you've got a Mac with a removable battery, the warranty has long-since expired. 

So what can you do? How do you replace a Mac battery? 

In this article, we've taken a look at Apple battery replacement program, and what else you can do to replace or extend a Mac’s battery life.

How to replace a Mac battery?

1. Check your battery cycle count

Every Mac has a battery cycle, depending on when it was manufactured. 

Here is how long each of them lasts, according to Apple: 

  • MacBook (2009 - 2017 models): 1000 cycles 
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008): 500 cycles 
  • MacBook (all earlier models, except the one above): 300 cycles
  • MacBook Pro (most models): 1000 cycles 
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008): 500 cycles
  • MacBook Pro (every other 2008 model): 300 cycles
  • MacBook Air (most models): 1000 cycles 
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2009): 500 cycles 
  • MacBook Air (original and late 2008 model): 300 cycles

As a general rule, modern models have longer battery charging cycles. Charging cycles don't work the way many people think they do. Say you charge your Mac to 100% before going out, then when out, you use 50% of it. Plug it back in and charge it back up to 100%, then do the same the next day. 

All of that counts as one full charging cycle. If you've got a modern MacBook (Air or Pro), built after 2010, then chances are you’ve got 1000 charging cycles. So once you’ve done the above 1000 times, you’re probably going to find that it needs to be plugged in when it comes with you. It won’t work for long, or at all, without a plug anymore.

2. Check your battery status

Thankfully, Apple doesn't leave you in the dark when it comes to the health of a Mac battery. 

You can check its status and its current cycle count pretty easily. To check the cycle count, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the Apple () menu in the top toolbar (also search via System Information using Siri or Spotlight Search)
  2. Click on System Information 
  3. Go to Hardware section of System Information
  4. Click on Power 
  5. Listed under Health Information is the current Cycle Count 
  6. It also provides a Condition status of your battery

What the above shows is your current Cycle Count. Compare against the model you’ve got and number of cycles it has left. 

Within System Information, it should also show one of four possible health statuses: 

  • Normal: Working as you would expect; 
  • Replace Soon: It doesn't hold as much charge as it did originally; 
  • Replace Now: Needs to be replaced; 
  • Service Battery: Take your Mac to an Apple certified technician. 

Assuming your Mac battery needs replacing, let’s look at how this can be done, or if there are ways to prolong the life of the battery until you are ready to buy a new Mac.

3. Disable battery-draining apps

Some apps use more power than others. 

And with some of these, you might not even know they're draining the battery. How can you find out and stop apps from running the battery dry? 

  1. Download CleanMyMac X for free here (a really useful app that makes Mac perform better); 
  2. Click on the Heavy Memory Consumers feature: It shows what uses the battery the most; 
  3. Another tool is Launch Agents: this shows what is being launched and running in the background when switched on; 
  4. Between them, you can quickly identify apps to delete and take out of the startup sequence. CleanMyMac X can take care of both to help your Mac consume less power when on.

So, if you've given that a go, checked the health status and battery life is still low, what are the options? 

4. Check your Apple Warranty

In the U.S., faulty or degraded batteries can be replaced for free one year after purchase. In the EU and Australia, consumer law ensures that Apple needs to replace these for up to three years after purchase. 

Assuming you have a Mac that is older than this and is having battery problems, Apple Care extended warranty coverage for up to three years. That might solve it. For any Mac’s that are older and out of warranty or Apple Care coverage, a new battery might be needed. 

5. Replace your Mac battery at Apple Store or service center 

The cost of a new battery and repairs can be several hundred dollars. If there is no Apple Store near you, Apple will always recommend certified third-party specialists. Either will have the tools and parts to make repairs and install a new battery.

Battery is really important, and it's not easy to remove most of them. So we wouldn't recommend a third-party computer store that doesn't have Apple certification. 

Would it be easier to save the money and effort and put it towards a new Mac? When a battery dies, there is a good chance that other hardware within the device is starting to feel its age too. Sooner or later, a replacement might be needed. 

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