Keeping MacBook Pro Healthy

Yeah good thinking. I am in the same place I think really. I must say the fact that I haven’t given the batteries much thought really makes the point you are.

Well, I have been running a 2015 13” Retina MBP mostly in clamshell mode, plugged in, since I bought it refurbed in early 2017. 81 battery cycles in 3 years - but just noticed the lid is no longer closing. Yup, swollen battery - just beginning but yikes.

I looked into the OWC replacement but it’s somewhat hairy to install, and I’m not excited about puncturing a swollen battery cell and the ensuing exothermic excitement. Out-of-warranty battery replacement from Apple is $199 and includes the entire top assembly - keyboard, trackpad, speakers, upper shell. So I have a box on the way…


I never have mine in clamshell mode. How do you do that and what do you use that for. Is it linked to a monitor? I am interested now I have two macbooks really. It seems that the batteries last a certain length of time whatever you do mostly? Do you think that is right?

I will add that I never regreted getting the 200$ battery fix on my 2014 macbook pro. Even though I now have a new 16inch. I love the other one and use it a lot still. I think the 2014 is my all time favorite. The First computer I ever owned that, along with some nice software, I considered to have created zero IT bottlenecks for me. I messed around a lot on it for my own amusement of course.

The article linked above says nothing about the detriment to battery health if you keep your laptop plugged in all the time. And by all the time, I mean all the time — I’m working 100% from home now and to use the bigger monitor (at the correct height) I have to plug in, which, annoyingly, charges the battery.

I know the performance of LiOn batteries is significantly different than the older NiCad that suffered from memory effects, but “keeping the electrons moving” has always been repeated by the battery experts I’ve come across. Do you have any other resources about why periodic unplugging is bad for a battery?

1 Like

I don’t have any other resources at hand. The article linked above states that battery life is measured in cycles and portions thereof. Therefore, fewer cycles = longer life.

If you have a reference for “keeping the electrons moving,” I would like to read it.

1 Like

An untouched, new-in-box iPad, left alone for 2 years, is not going have a long life once you start using it. As for keeping electrons moving Apple itself recommends for long-term storage, “charge it to around 50%…If you plan to store your device for longer than six months, charge it to 50% every six months.”

In general Lithium-ion batteries are meant to be used and you don’t regularly use any device using that battery you should ideally perform a complete charge cycle several times a year.

Reference please.

One total cycle per year is much different than once a week, or once a day, as people have been suggesting.

Your second link argues the point of not wasting change/discharge cycles quite nicely.

That was simply an extrapolation of your ‘fewer cycles equals longer life’ assertion. It’s just not that accurate or simple.

Aside from the fact that it referenced older, 70s era lithium polymer batteries the article immediately thereafter made the point about “shelf life may contribute to this loss” then specifically tracked loss of recoverable capacity after a year’s time in storage (under varying temperature conditions). It’s a good technical overview, with a decade’s worth of comments appended to it. Worth a closer look.

In normal use it really is that simple. If you’re storing machines for years, I would argue that’s a special case. After all, this is Mac Power Users, not Mac Power Storers :slightly_smiling_face:

A battery’s life isn’t a matter of simple numbers of cycles and storage, incidental battery drain and temperature are important considerations that are definitely relevant.

I have a 23” monitor in front of me, on a stand so as to be the right elevation, ergonomically. The MBP is at desk level to one side, closed (since I don’t generally deal well with two monitor, especially of disparate sizes at different levels.). Plugged into it are:

  • MagSafe power
  • HDMI
  • USB3 external hard drive for Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner. That drive itself has 2 USB 3 ports, one of which is connected to another external drive with media
  • USB 3 hub (which connects to my phone’s Lightning cable, a microUSB cable that is used for a Kindle and/or charging my Bluetooth keyboard, and USB-to-USB C cable used for charging my mouse.)

It all works surprisingly well. Arrive at desk, turn on monitor, and if Apple Watch hasn’t already woken computer, wiggle the mouse or hit a key, then log in.

The only thing that’s a shame is that my monitor is not Retina resolution, but given my layout I need the size more than I need the resolution.

1 Like

Thanks for taking the trouble to explain. I could not cope with two monitors either. No need in my case as it happens.