Batteries in Macbooks, iPhones and other consumer products are the most vulnerable parts that wear out with time. Most Macbooks (primarily produced after 2009) have a built-in battery designed to operate up to 1000 load cycles. Once your Mac hits the threshold, it is better to replace the battery, even if it does not impose significant damage risks.
Your Mac uses software algorithms to count charge cycles, which means some minor issues might occur. For example, you might receive a notification to replace the battery just two years after the purchase.
You can prevent Mac from displaying false battery notifications by calibrating the battery in your Macbook. This procedure updates the controller that reads the number of charge cycles. Suppose you often charge the device by only a few percent or work long hours with your computer connected to a power source. In that case, the controller may go a little haywire and provide incorrect values, even if the battery is in a perfect operational condition.
Here is how to calibrate the battery in a Macbook Pro. We use a 2010 Macbook Pro with a replaced battery. Modern Macs have better power management algorithms that reduce the necessity to perform frequent battery calibration on a Macbook. If you have an older Mac, calibrate the battery every six months to ensure stable and correct operation.
How to Check the Battery Status on Your MacBook?
First, check the condition of your battery and see if you need calibration (or replacement):
- Click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of the screen and select About this Mac.
- Click the System report button on the Overview tab.
- Go to the Power section.
- Locate the following strings: Cycle Count, Condition, and Full Charge Capacity (this parameter gradually decreases as you use your computer and the battery loses its peak capacity).
As you can see on the screenshot, the battery on the Mac has lost more than 20% of its maximum capacity after 120 recharge cycles (its original design capacity is 5500 mAh). That means you need to calibrate the battery and use third-party apps to monitor the battery (optionally).
How to Calibrate Macbook Battery?
A power controller is responsible for ensuring the battery does not overcharge beyond its design capacity. Once it hits 100%, the controller stops the charging process. Occasionally, charging level values get confused, and the SMC controller stops charging earlier than necessary (you might be interested to read our instructions on how to reset the SMC system). A confused controller can also shut down your Macbook when it has 20% of the charge left. Weird behavior and power issues signify that the SMC has problems with reporting battery charge levels. To fix this, you need to reset the system management controller (SMC).
Use the following steps to reset your 2009 and later MacBook with a non-removable battery:
- Turn off your computer.
- Press and hold Left Shift + Control + Option keys. At the same time, press and hold down the power button for more than ten seconds (on Macs with the touch-sensitive power button, you must also hold down the power button).
- After holding the buttons for ten seconds, release them and restart the device as you usually do.
- Following those actions, your Mac will reset the SMC. After that, your device will get rid of the notification that your Apple computer needs to replace the battery.
Please note that this action does not affect system settings, delete user data, or change other settings.
After resetting the battery on your MacBook, you need to discharge it to zero before shutting it down. Next, charge your computer to 100% to complete the procedure.
When to Calibrate Your MacBook Battery?
- When you received a notification to replace the battery with less than 1000 load cycles.
- The battery capacity decreases disproportionately to load cycles. For example, you lost more than 20% of design capacity in just 100 cycles.
- You experience significant decreases in battery life. For example, it lost two or even three hour of standby time.
- You are getting other battery performance errors, or your device no longer charges.
Important. If Macbook battery calibration does not help you get rid of weird power-related problems and the system report keeps telling you to replace the battery, it’s better to do it. You might have physical issues with the battery, leading to significant damage, swelling, or even fire. To ensure good battery health, charge your Mac with original power bricks and never allow overheating.