Have you ever wondered how long your MacBook Pro or MacBook battery really lasts? Apple usually advertises their laptops as having “all-day battery life”, but has that been your experience in practice?
Wonder no more! We’ll show you how to check how long your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air battery is actually lasting so that you can see exactly how much time you’re getting out of your Mac laptops battery. Whether you have all-day battery life, something more, or something less, you’ll be able to tell.
Note we are looking to get the actual amount of usage time that a MacBook battery lasts, not just an estimate of time remaining (which was strangely removed from macOS Sierra, though you can get that back if you want to).
To accurately get the amount of time a MacBook Pro or MacBook battery is lasting, you’ll need to use it on battery power from a full 100% charge until it’s nearly discharged, somewhere between 1% and 5% of battery remaining usually is sufficient. Just use the computer as you normally do, doing tasks you normally do, then when Mac OS alerts you that the battery is about to run out, it’s a good time to check how long it has lasted for.
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 to that point, giving you a good idea of how long the laptop battery lasts in general, you can check this in just about any version of MacOS or Mac OS X:
- Use the laptop on battery power until the MacBook battery is going to die soon
- Open the “Applications” folder on the Mac and go to “Utilities”, then launch “Activity Monitor” (alternatively you can hit Command+Spacebar and type Activity Monitor to open from Spotlight
- Go to the “Energy” tab of Activity Monitor
- At the bottom of the Energy screen find “Time on battery” to see how long your Mac laptop has been running on battery power
In the example shown here, my several month old MacBook Pro 15″ model is achieving a little over 3 hours of battery life in my own real world usage before it’s needing to be plugged in again to recharge, but the numbers will vary widely depending on what you’re doing 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 the latest MacBook Pro to have “impressive all-day battery life” on their website, and they have used similar language to describe other recent model MacBook Pro and MacBook computers as well.
My personal experience with this particular MacBook Pro is the “all-day battery life” is usually more like “all-morning battery life”, and with a not particularly aggressive morning routine of fairly heavy web usage, text editing, messages, and roughly 70% screen brightness, I routinely get about three hours out of my MacBook Pro before it’s needing to be plugged into a wall again. This computer is a few months old and the battery currently has 141 cycles on it (you can check battery cycle count on a Mac easily if you’re curious about yours).
The discrepancy between the “all day” advertising and my own experience could be some quirk of my particular Mac laptop, my particular usage, or maybe it’s just how long the battery lasts for me. Obviously everyone will have different battery experiences and expectations, and each computer is going to vary a bit depending on how it is used and it’s age and condition.
This isn’t meant to be a complaint by the way, it’s just an acknowledgement that my particular MacBook Pro is fairly dependent on a wall charger. Prior Mac laptops of mine have had batteries which lasted much longer and many well into 6 or 7 hours with similar usage, so perhaps the 15″ screen just eats up a lot more energy, and my usage would need to be modified to extend battery life to reach better numbers.
If for whatever reason you are less than thrilled about the battery life of your MacBook, you can read some general tips for improving battery life of a Mac laptop here, or if you noticed a reduction after updating to the latest MacOS then you may find some Sierra specific battery tips to be helpful. Generally speaking the best things you can do to extend battery life are reduce the screen brightness and reduce usage of resource heavy apps, Mac OS offers a way to directly see what apps are using a lot of battery power and energy and that can be quite useful to track down a battery hog (Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are commonly the cause in my experience). Even simple tips like closing unused browser tabs and quitting inactive applications can help extend real life battery time considerably.
So, how long is the battery on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or MacBook actually lasting? Use the laptop on battery power until it’s near done, get the time on battery number, and share your battery times in the comments below!