The life expectancy of a notebook battery is mainly based on the battery cycle count. Once that battery cycle count has reached the limit set by the manufacturer, it is considered consumed. Although the laptop might still work, the battery life might deplete rapidly, which is a clear sign it is time to replace that battery. In this post, we will show you how to find out what your MacBook’s battery cycle count is.
How do you calculate a battery cycle?
A battery cycle count is calculated based on the use of all the battery’s power, but not necessarily on a single charge.
For example, if your MacBook is charged at 100% and you use 50% of your battery, then charge it back to 100%, then use another 50% of battery, it will equal to one battery cycle (50+50=100).
Likewise, if you use 20% of your battery, then charge it back to 100% five times, it will equal to one battery cycle (20+20+20+20+20=100).
4 ways to see MacBook battery cycle count and health
Here are four quick methods to know the cycle count of your portable Mac. It works for all MacBook models, like Pro, Air, etc.
1. See battery cycle in System Report
- Click the icon from the top left and choose About This Mac.
- Click System Report.
- From the left sidebar, click Power. Under Health Information, you’ll see the Cycle Count for your MacBook’s battery.
2. See battery health in System Preferences
In macOS Catalina and earlier, the battery options were tucked inside the Energy Saver menu in the System Preferences. Starting with macOS Big Sur, Energy Saver was replaced by a new Battery option in MacBook’s System Preferences which shows you the battery health. This doesn’t display the exact cycle count but gives you an idea of the battery condition. Here’s how to see it.
- Open System Preferences on Mac running macOS Big Sur or later.
- Click Battery.
- From the left sidebar, select Battery.
- Click Battery Health to know the battery condition. If it says Normal, you’re good to go. It will also display the current maximum capacity of your MacBook’s battery. My new MacBook is just 45 days old, and thus its max capacity is 100%. Over time, this will reduce.
If your MacBook is on macOS Catalina or earlier, click the battery icon in the menu bar while pressing the option key. It will show the battery condition. If all is well, it should say Normal. If not, it will say Service Recommended.
Once your battery degrades and needs to be replaced, simply clicking the battery icon will show the service message (no need to press the option key). The same message will also appear in System Preferences.
4. Use third-party app to see MacBook battery cycle
You can use one of the several free battery apps to know the cycle count and other battery-related information of your MacBook. Two such apps are:
coconutBattery: This app has been around for a long time. With coconutBattery, you can find out your MacBook’s cycle count, battery status, battery temperature, battery age, the day the battery was manufactured, the day your Mac was manufactured, and more! It even shows you the battery cycle count of your iPhone and iPad when connected to Mac.
Battery Health 2: It shows the current battery health, cycle count, and also informs you of the original and current battery capacity in mAh.
Note: Every app may have a bit of inconsistency in the battery manufactured date. Don’t stress much over it. Double-check using both apps if required.
Battery cycle count limit of all MacBook models
Knowing your battery cycle count is great, but it doesn’t help much if you don’t know what your machine’s limit is. The limit is set by Apple and gives a good indication of the overall life expectancy of your battery. Compare the calculated cycle count to Apple’s limits set to specific machines to find out how your battery is fairing.I have a 13-inch MacBook Air from mid-2011, and the maximum cycle count set by Apple is 1,000. As you can see below, I have reached 351 battery cycles, or about one-third of the limit. So it seems that theoretically, my battery should still last a while longer.
My colleague has an old MacBook Pro 2012, whose maximum cycle count is 1000. His current battery cycle count is 1,138, and thus it shows the message to service the battery. Plus, you can see that the full charge capacity of this battery is now only 1,840 mAh. When it was new, this number was over 5000 mAh.
Keep in mind that battery cycle count is meant to give you an approximate idea of your battery life expectancy. Obviously, if your battery is performing poorly, you can always get it replaced even though you haven’t hit the limit set by Apple.
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