How Long Does a MacBook Pro Battery Last?

Studies show that most computer manufacturers overestimate their battery life. Sometimes by as much as twice the actual time they’ll run on a single charge.

Most manufacturers except Apple, that is. Tests show that Apple’s estimates are very close to the actual battery life and when they don’t match, they underestimate the charge time.

While MacBooks have one of the longest run times on a single charge, there are some things you can do to get even more time.

So how long does a MacBook Pro battery last? Let’s take a look.

Types of MacBook Pro and Laptop Batteries

In the roughly 30 years that laptops have been around, there have been several battery technologies.

Early laptops used NiCAD, or nickel-cadmium, batteries. They had notoriously short runtimes, usually in the 1-2 hour range. They also wore out quickly so you would get even less time after charging and discharging it for a while.

NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) batteries followed and improved both battery life and durability. They were still in the 3-4 hour range in most cases though.

LiIon batteries are one of the latest technologies. They last much longer and on modern MacBook Pros, can last as much as 10 hours on a single charge.

Tips for Keeping Your MacBook Pro Battery Healthy

While modern batteries have pretty long running times and hold up to many more charging and discharging cycles, there are some simple things you can do to extend their life.

The first is to discharge the battery on a regular basis. Many people use MacBooks as their main computer and have it plugged in at their desk the majority of the time.

Running your laptop off of AC power all the time will shorten your MacBook Pro battery lifespan. Discharging it completely, or almost completely, at least every couple of weeks “exercises” the battery cells to ensure they don’t stop holding a charge.

Mac apps like Fruit Juice and Endurance monitor your battery health and warn you if it goes too long without a discharge/recharge cycle.

Watch the Temperature

The environment where you use your Mac has a bearing on the battery life as well. If you use it in extreme heat or cold, the battery won’t last as long as it will in reasonable condition.

And if it’s cold enough, it may not run from the battery at all. Fortunately, if this happens it should go back to normal once it’s back in a reasonable environment.

Don’t Store Your MacBook With No Charge

If you’re not going to use your MacBook for a while, shut it down rather than putting it to sleep. That way, it’s not using any power to keep things active.

But don’t store it with no charge at all. If it sits idle for a long time with no charge, it can affect the battery’s chemical health. You could also run into problems when you try to start it back up again if there’s no charge at all in the battery.

Plugging it in to charge before you boot it up might fix this but if the battery gets damaged by sitting too long with no charge, it may not accept a charge and you could have trouble retrieving your data from the MacBook.

Replacing the Battery in Your Mac

Over the last few generations of MacBooks, Apple has made them less and less repairable. One of the side effects of making them thinner and lighter is less user-replaceable components.

Whether or not you can replace the battery on your MacBook depends on the model. If you bought your MacBook Pro within the last 3 or 4 years, you likely can’t buy a replacement battery and swap it yourself. In that case, you need to take it to an Apple service center to get the battery swapped.

If your MacBook is older than that, it likely has a removable battery. If that’s the case, there will be a battery compartment on the bottom of your MacBook.

Remove the battery cover to get at it then press the battery release button to pop it out. These batteries are available from Apple as well as many third-party vendors so you have lots of options.

If you’re wondering whether you need to replace your battery, learn how to check battery health on your Mac. If it’s still over 70-80% of the original capacity, it’s not necessary to replace it yet.

How to Run Longer On a Single Charge

While modern MacBook Pro laptops can run for as long as 10 hours on a charge, they may not last that long if you don’t watch what you’re doing while you’re running on battery power.

The display on your MacBook is one of the most power-hungry components so lowering the brightness several steps will lengthen the running time.

Don’t open too many apps at the same time and consider what apps you’re using. Some Mac apps are more power-hungry than others.

The Chrome browser, for example, tends to use more battery power than Safari, especially if you have a bunch of extensions installed. Choosing to use a more efficient app can extend your battery life for an hour or more.

Turning off WiFi and Bluetooth if you don’t need them will also help your battery last longer. Wireless radios constantly scan for signals so they use power even when you’re not connected to a network or other device.

How Long Does a MacBook Pro Battery Last and What’s On the Horizon?

While the roughly 10-hour battery life on modern MacBook Pros is longer than most laptops, Apple isn’t sitting on its laurels. They recently announced that they’re switching to a new processor technology known as Apple Silicon.

Along with better performance, these chips will be much more energy-efficient. We won’t know for sure until they’re released but most experts expect battery life to lengthen considerably with these new models.

Take Care of Your Battery and It Will Take Care of You

Hopefully, we’ve helped shed some light on the question, “How long does a MacBook Pro battery last?” But remember, there are a lot of factors that impact the running time.

Be mindful of how you use your MacBook and take steps to lengthen the battery life and you’ll be able to get the better part of a day out of your battery for years to come.

If you’d like more Mac tips and tricks for getting the most out of your tech gear, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.