Tech

At What Percentage Should I Charge My MacBook Pro/Air?

By Novak Bozovic / October 27, 2021

There are many misconceptions regarding how you should charge your MacBook, and as you already know, the Web is providing very conflicting information. One of those misconceptions is related to the following question - at what percentage should you charge your MacBook Pro or Air, especially if you want to ensure your notebook battery's longevity? We've done our research, and we'll provide a definite answer – so, let's jump right in!

When Should I Charge My MacBook Pro/Air? At What Percentage?

In general, it's believed that you should charge your MacBook's battery once it drops to 20-40% of its maximum capacity. On top of that, it is said that you shouldn't wait for your MacBook's battery to drop below 20% or to get fully depleted.

Interestingly enough, Apple’s official documentation doesn't mention anything related to when or how you should charge your MacBook's battery. It used to give somewhat broad pointers until a few years back, but that's no longer the case – as today's batteries come with significantly improved charging technologies built-in. 

Keep in mind that Apple uses lithium-ion (polymer) batteries across all of its mobile products, including MacBook Air and Pro models (and yes, that even applies to the recently launched MacBook Pro models, which come with extra-long battery life). Therefore, it would be best to stick to general guidelines regarding lithium-ion batteries. 

Tip

Know that macOS manages your notebook’s battery in a very intelligent way. There’s very little you can do to affect your notebook’s battery in a dramatically negative way. So, feel free to use your MacBook as usual, without paying too much attention to when and how you charge it.

How Often Should I Charge My MacBook? 

There's no rule regarding how often you should charge your MacBook's battery. Of course, that might seem like an odd piece of advice, especially considering that everyone seems to talk about battery cycle counts these days. With that said, let's take a closer look at why battery cycle counts are no longer a strong indication of a battery's condition.

Should I Pay Attention to My MacBook’s Battery Cycle Count? 

When it comes to MacBooks made in the last five years, Apple says you can expect up to 1,000 charge cycles. In the past, Apple's notebooks used to come with batteries that would work for 300 to 500 cycles, which tells us that batteries and their charging technologies are getting better over time. 

However, if your MacBook offers up to 1,000 charge cycles, that doesn’t mean that you can charge it 1,000 times only. A charging cycle is an amount that equals 100% of your battery’s capacity. So if you charge your MacBook’s battery around 25% each day, you will go through a single charge cycle in four days (25% each day x 4 days = 100% - one charge cycle). 

Of course, knowing a notebook's battery cycle count is important – but it doesn't mean all that much. For example, a couple-of-years-old MacBook can have around 50 charge cycles – which might seem incredible. However, that MacBook could have been plugged in all the time, which would also affect its battery's maximum capacity. 

Tip

When it comes to lithium-ion batteries, you don't have to pay a lot of attention to when and how you charge them. However, they still need a bit of 'exercise.' If you use your MacBook plugged in, make sure to go through at least one charge cycle a month. 

Here's How to Preserve Your MacBook’s Battery via Built-In macOS Tools

Apple has built-in a handy software option in macOS, which directly impacts your MacBook's battery capacity. It's called 'Optimized Battery Charging' and has two components. So, here's how to enable this option. 

Optimized Battery Charging macOS Big Sur
Manage Battery Longevity macOS System Preferences
Tip

Using the above-explained method to enable battery-friendly technologies in macOS is pretty much all you need to do. Besides that, adopting a new charging routine won’t have any long-lasting effects on your notebook’s battery. 

We hope that we’ve answered all your questions regarding when to charge your MacBook’s battery (or - at what percentage, more precisely). If you have any questions for us, don’t forget to post your comment below. And finally – thanks for reading!



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