While a MacBook battery can start out very strong, it will very likely wear down over the years. GigaOM's Lauren Hockenson wrote on USA Today that her laptop started wearing down recently even as the laptop has stayed in good shape. Those who may notice their battery getting tired can send their device into iResQ to have it replaced or fix any other problem at hand.
Hockenson said University of Washington PhD candidate James Davenport looked at his own MacBook Air for a year and monitored its battery efficiency. Monitoring showed that the device saw a drop of more than 15 percent in capacity, which left the charge under 85 percent of its initial power. The rate steadily decreased, with a few percentage points dropping each month. Power reduction was actually worse than in his 2009 MacBook Pro, which saw 90 percent capacity until the end of its time a few years later.
"It seems, though, that Davenport's efficient MacBook Pro is the outlier – not necessarily the dwindling Air," Hockenson said. "The average life expectancy of a lithium-ion battery is roughly two to three years, even with regular battery cycle maintenance. Apple doesn't prefer to measure battery life in years – rather, it prefers cycles. All Apple laptops built after 2010 have an estimated life of 1000 charge cycles, and the company has an extensive page that stresses routine care and maintenance."
Hockenson's own device still gets three and a half to four hours of unconnected time, but said an extension of the battery time could always be a good thing, especially for frequent users of the device.
Keeping the battery healthy
Geoffrey Goetz wrote on GigaOM that there are many ways to help make sure the battery is where it should be, including:
- Check the condition of the battery before fixing it by looking at the battery menu bar, which will say "normal" or "replace soon"
- Use a battery monitoring utility that may go more in depth than the one built onto the computer
- Calibrate the battery by charging it, then fully draining it, then fully charging it again
- Restore energy saving defaults to help get the most out of the battery
"This should turn the Mac off after 10 minutes of no use, the display off after two minutes, allow the hard disk to sleep when possible, and slightly dim the display when on battery power," he wrote. "Do not enable power nap, as that will consume power even when you think your Mac is sleeping."