👨‍💻 Calibrate the MacBook battery. Instructions for beginners

MacBook batteries do not last forever and lose about 30% of their capacity in one and a half to two years. When this happens, you will report that the laptop began to work significantly less, and you will see a warning about charging problems. This is exactly what happened to me when the battery capacity dropped by only 25%.

In this article, I will show you how to check your battery health and calibrate your MacBook battery if needed. I will show it using my 2015 12-inch MacBook as an example.

macOS says MacBook battery needs service

1. Check the battery status

Apple measures the “health” of a battery in recharge cycles. That is, how many times has your laptop been fully charged and discharged.

For example, on one day, a laptop could be used until half of its charge was depleted, and then it was completely recharged. If the same thing happens the next day, then it counts as one recharge cycle, not two. Thus, one recharge cycle can take several days.

For most MacBooks released after 2009, Apple specifies a battery life of 1000 cycles. After spending 1000 cycles the battery loses its maximum capacity and the battery life drops.

From my own experience, I will say that with a loss of 20% capacity, you notice something amiss. At 30%, you already start to sound the alarm to google solutions.

To check your battery performance, install the free coconutBattery utility.

🔋⚡ Download coconut Battery, 24.3 MB

The battery status of my MacBook 12 “

As you can see, already at 668 cycles, the battery of my 12-inch MacBook lost 30% of its capacity, and macOS scares me with the messages “Service required”.

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But, there is always the possibility that the low maximum battery capacity is a bug in the power controller. In a MacBook, the power controller functions are SMC – System Management Controller.

2. Reset SMC parameters

The power controller records the maximum battery capacity, after reaching which it stops charging, and the power indicator lights up 100%.

It happens that these values ​​get lost, and the SMC controller stops charging earlier than necessary. Or shuts down the MacBook when 20% charge remains. All of this shows that the battery capacity limits are not written correctly in the SMC.

List of issues that can be solved by resetting the SMC. Apple site

The SMC reset algorithm depends on the MacBook model, but comes down to holding a few buttons during boot.

👉 Instructions for resetting SMC on Apple website

If the MacBook scolds about the health of the battery due to an SMC error, then the warning will disappear, and the current capacity will slightly increase.

But in order for the controller to record the new battery capacity values, the laptop must be completely discharged and recharged.

3. Calibrate your MacBook battery

To completely drain your battery, the Blender Benchmark test suite is a good choice. This benchmark shows how quickly your system is able to render a video scene. At the time of the test, the laptop processor is loaded to 100%, which helps to drain the battery faster.

👉 How to test Mac performance: a selection of 7 best utilities

Turn off automatic sleep before starting Blender. To do this, move the slider Turn off the monitor after … to the extreme right position.

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Disable the laptop’s automatic sleep to prevent it from falling asleep during the Blender test

Now launch Blender Benchmark and click the button Run Complete Benchmark… On a top-end iMac, the test takes an hour and a half. Most likely, the laptop battery will run out earlier. My MacBook ran out halfway through the first render scene, and there are six in total.

Blender will drain the battery of any MacBook in a couple of hours

After disconnecting the laptop, do not put it on charge immediately, but leave it in this state for another hour. And only then fully charge and check the health again with the utility coconutBattery

Calibration helped me only marginally. Health “rose” by 3%: from 70.5% to 73.4%. And the battery capacity is 150 milliamps: from 3713 to 3862. This means that the battery has lost its capacity irrevocably. It’s time to change it.

After calibration, the “health” of the battery has improved by 3%

4. If all else fails, change the battery

If all these tricks do not work, then the battery is dying, and it should be replaced in the coming months.

At an official Apple Service Center, it costs $ 129 each to replace the battery for my MacBook Air 11 ″ and MacBook 12 ″.

You can save money if you buy Chinese counterparts. Batteries usually come with a set of screwdrivers, and instructions on how to replace them can be found at ifixit.com.

🔋 Here are the links to batteries from Aliexpress:

🧰 Screwdriver set for all MacBook and iPhone models, $ 12

5. Install the Endurance utility

If you need to extend your battery life right now, try Endurance

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Endurance May Limit CPU Frequency When Battery Is Low

This program:

  • slows down the processor frequency, which reduces its power consumption;
  • Lulls inactive but open applications that consume a lot of energy;
  • takes over the screen brightness adjustment and changes it more aggressively than the operating system itself.

💰 Endurance: buy for $ 20/7 days for free on Setapp

Endurance can extend battery life by 15-20%. But at the expense of laptop performance. Therefore Endurance is more of a temporary solution. If the battery is already worn out, then it is more logical to replace it.

🌿 Remember

  1. The MacBook battery is rated for 1,000 charge cycles. But in reality, after 2 years it loses 20-30% of its capacity. The laptop will run less, and may turn off without warning;
  2. Battery capacity and number of recharge cycles can be checked with the coconutBattery utility;
  3. Try resetting the SMC power controller and calibrating the battery;
  4. If the calibration does not help, then the battery life has already ended. It needs to be replaced.

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