What Is the Cycle Count (Battery) on Mac and How to Check It

As a MacBook user, you rely on its battery to keep you powered throughout the day. However, every battery has a finite lifespan, and its performance diminishes over time. To better understand the battery health of your MacBook, Apple uses a metric called ‘Cycle Count’.

What Exactly Is The Cycle Count (Battery) on Mac and How to Check It

In this article, we will delve into this topic and share with you what is the Cycle Count on your Mac, how to check it and understand your device’s battery health, and much more. Let’s dive right in.

What Is the Cycle Count on My MacBook

A Cycle Count on your Mac is when you use 100% of its battery’s power, regardless of the number of times you charge your MacBook. Simply put, when you deplete your battery from 100% to 0%, your Mac counts it as one cycle.

But most of us don’t charge our MacBook to the full and then completely discharge it, correct? So, how can we understand Cycle Count and keep track of it? If you have the same question, let’s decode this mystery with an illustration to make it easier to understand.

Dim the Screen Brightness of your Mac

Suppose your MacBook battery is currently at 70%, unplugged, and the Cycle Count is 33.

  • You use 20% of the battery; now, your battery is 50%. (Day-1, Battery used – 20%)
  • The next day, you charge it to 80%, unplug it, and then start using it. You use 30%, and this time the battery is at 50%. (Day-2, Battery used – 30%)
  • The following day, you charge the battery to 90% and then unplug it. This time you depleted 50% of the battery, and now it’s 40%. (Day-3, Battery used – 50%)

In the scenario mentioned above, we’ve depleted the 100% of the MacBook’s battery within three days; hence it will count as one cycle, and the Cycle Count on your MacBook will increase from 33 to 34.

How to Check the Battery Cycles Count on MacBook

Manually counting the battery cycle of your Mac is tedious. Apple understands that and provides an easier option to check the Cycle Count and conclude the battery health of your MacBook. So, here’s how to check battery cycles on MacBook Pro and Air.

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo from the menu bar.

Apple Menu on Mac

Step 2: Leave the Apple menu open, and meanwhile, hold the Option key on your keyboard to reveal additional options.

Option Key on Mac Keyboard

Step 3: Now, click on System Information.

Opening System Information on Mac

Step 4: Click on Power under Hardware in the sidebar.

Step 5: Go to Health Information under Battery Information. You’ll see the current Cycle Count of your MacBook.

Check Battery Cycle Count on MacBook

Quick Tip: In case you are wondering how to check your Mac battery health, head to System Information > Power > Health Information to view the Cycle Count, Battery Condition, and Maximum Capacity to view the overall battery health. Or you can also go to System Settings > Battery > Battery Health.

What Is a Good Battery Cycle for Macbook

Apple defines a limited cycle count for all Mac laptops, so you can know how long the battery is supposed to give its optimum performance. If you have a Mac that was released in or after 2010, it has a maximum cycle count of 1000. So, a good battery cycle on your MacBook is anywhere near or less than 1000 cycle counts. It’s because the Li-ion battery in your MacBook is supposed to retain 80% of its charging capacity at its maximum cycle count.

However, if you have an older MacBook, you can visit Apple’s support website to learn its maximum battery cycle count.

Some Tips to Keep Your MacBook’s Battery Healthy

The battery life of your MacBook and its longevity not only depends on Cycle Count but also on numerous other factors. Here are some of the best practices that you must consider to maintain a good Mac battery life:

1. Regular Software Updates

Software updates are important not only for safety and performance but also for your MacBook’s battery health, as they often include optimizations and enhancements that can improve power management and battery efficiency.

Update Your Mac

2. Enable Optimized Battery Charging

By turning on the Optimized Battery Charging on your MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, your MacBook intelligently learns your charging patterns and delays battery charging past 80% to help slow down battery aging.

3. Avoid Extreme Temperature Conditions

Avoid Extreme Temperature Conditions

Always keep your MacBook away from extreme heat or cold ambiance. Exposing it to extreme temperatures, like leaving your MacBook in a car on a hot sunny day, can permanently damage your battery. According to Apple, the ideal temperature to operate your MacBook is 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C).

4. Dim the Screen Brightness

Lowering the screen brightness might help you save some battery power and will help in maintaining good battery health in the long run. Apple also says on its support website to “Dim the screen to the lowest comfortable level to achieve maximum battery life.”

5. Stick to Authorized Charging Accessories

Using genuine Apple chargers and cables ensures the safety and longevity of your MacBook’s battery. On the contrary, using a generic charger or cable might harm the battery.

Use Authorized Charging Accessories

6. Avoid Storing MacBook for Long at Full or Empty Battery

If you plan to store your MacBook for an extended period, avoid keeping it fully charged or discharged. Always aim for a 40% to 60% battery while storing your MacBook.

1. I’ve reached the maximum cycle count on my Mac; what should I do?

Despite the number of Cycle Counts, if your MacBook is working fine and giving you approximately 3 to 4 hours of backup, you can continue using it without worrying about battery replacement. But if it’s not, we suggest you visit Apple Care and get it replaced.

2. How to reduce Cycle Count on MacBook?

Technically you can’t reduce the Cycle Count of your MacBook because you can reverse the battery aging. But, turning on Optimized Battery Charging and plugging it into charging while using it can earn or save a few cycles. Gradually your Mac will learn your charging patterns and will not charge the battery past 80%, and your Mac will be running on direct power, saving you some cycles.

3. Why am I unable to view Cycle Count on my MacBook?

If you replaced your battery from an unauthorized service center, they might have installed a generic battery, which might be the culprit. If this is not the case, we suggest you get it checked by an authorized professional at Apple Care.

Decoding Battery Cycle Count

Keeping tabs on Battery Cycle Count is vital for its longevity. But you should also be aware of other factors in keeping your MacBook’s battery healthy for a long time, like not skipping updates, using genuine accessories to charge, keeping it away from heat, etc. Following these will save your MacBook’s battery and your wallet too.

Last updated on 13 July, 2023

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