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Have you ever wondered how long your MacBook Pro or MacBook battery really lasts? Apple usually advertises them laptops like a battery that lasts all day, but have you experienced that in practice?
Wonder no more! We’ll show you how to check how long your MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air’s battery actually lasts so you can see exactly how much time you get out of your Mac laptops battery. Whether your battery lasts all day, a little more or a little less, you’ll see.
Note that we’re looking at the actual amount of usage time a MacBook battery will last, not just an estimate of the time remaining (which was strangely removed from macOS Sierra, although you can get that back if you want).
To accurately determine how long a MacBook Pro or MacBook battery will last, run it on battery power from a full charge of 100% until it is low; anywhere between 1% and 5% of the remaining battery is usually sufficient. Use the computer as you normally do and perform tasks you normally do, and if the Mac OS warns you that the battery is low, now is a good time to check how long it has lasted.
How to See Time on battery of MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air
When the battery level is somewhere between 1% and 5%, you can get an exact amount of time the battery has lasted up to that point, giving you a good idea of how long the battery laptop battery is generally last, you can check this in almost any version of MacOS or Mac OS X:
- Use the laptop on battery power until the MacBook battery runs out soon
- Open the “Applications” folder on the Mac and go to “Utilities”, then launch “Activity Monitor” (you can also press Command + Spacebar and type Activity Monitor to open from Spotlight
- Go to the “Energy” tab of Activity Monitor
- At the bottom of the power screen, find “Time on battery” to see how long your Mac is laptop has operated on battery power
In the example shown here, my several-month-old MacBook Pro 15 haalt model gets a little over 3 hours of battery life in my own real-world use before needing to be reconnected to charge, but numbers will vary widely depending on what you do on the Mac laptop, how old it is and what the condition of the battery is.
“All-day battery life” versus personal experiences
Apple promotes on their website that the latest MacBook Pro has “impressive all-day battery life,” and they have used similar language to describe other recent MacBook Pro and MacBook computers as well.
My personal experience with this particular MacBook Pro is that the “all day battery life” tends to be more like “all morning battery life”, and with a not particularly aggressive morning routine of fairly heavy internet use, text editing, messaging and roughly 70% screen brightness , I routinely get about three hours out of my MacBook Pro before needing to plug it back into a wall. This computer is a few months old and the battery currently has 141 cycles (you can easily check the number of cycles on a Mac if you’re curious about yours).
The discrepancy between the “all day” ad and my own experience may be a quirk of my particular Mac laptop, my particular use, or maybe it’s just how long the battery lasts. Obviously everyone will have different battery experiences and expectations, and each computer will vary a bit depending on how it is used and its age and condition.
By the way, this isn’t meant to be a complaint, it’s just an admission that my particular MacBook Pro is fairly dependent on a wall charger. Earlier Mac laptops of mines have had batteries that last much longer and many well into 6 or 7 hours with similar use, so maybe the 15 ″ screen just eats up much more energy, and my consumption would have to be adjusted to extend battery life to achieve better numbers.
If for some reason you’re not too keen on your MacBook’s battery life, here’s some general reading tips for improving the battery life of a Mac laptop here, or if you’ve noticed a reduction after updating to the latest macOS, then you might find a Sierra specific battery tips being helpful. Overall, the best things you can do to extend battery life are reduce screen brightness, and reduce the use of heavy apps, Mac OS provides a way to instantly see which apps are using battery power and energy and that can be quite useful to track down a battery pig (Chrome, Firefox and Safari are often the cause in my experience). Even simple tips such as closing unused browser tabs and shutting down inactive applications can significantly increase battery life.
So, how long will your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or MacBook battery actually last? Use the laptop on battery power until it’s almost done, check the time on the battery number and share your battery life in the comments below!
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