Check Battery Cycle Count on a Mac
If you have a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, you can check the battery cycle count to get an idea of overall battery health. Here’s how you can do that yourself, right from the Mac OS X built in system management functions.
How to Check the Cycle Count of a MacBook Battery
This works to view the battery charge cycle count for all batteries in portable Mac models, we’re using “MacBook” as a broad term to encompass the MacBook Air, Pro, Retina Pro, etc. This is also the same in all versions of Mac OS X, here’s where to check the cycle count:
- Pull down the Apple menu and choose “About this Mac”
- Click on the “More Info” button (older versions of Mac OS X will see it called “Apple System Profiler”)
- Now choose “System Report”, this will launch an app called “System Information”
- Under Hardware, select “Power”
- Look for “Cycle Count” under the ‘Battery Information’ portion
The number shown is the ‘Cycle Count’ of the current battery. Now that you have this information, let’s make some sense of it.
What is a Battery Cycle?
A battery charge cycle is when the battery has been drained to 0% and then refilled to 100% of it’s maximum capacity, it is not every time you plug your MacBook to the power adapter.
Why Do Battery Cycle Counts Matter?
Knowing the cycle count is helpful if you suspect your battery is having problems retaining a charge. Apple says new notebook batteries are designed to retain 80% of original capacity after 1000 cycles. If your battery is performing at less than expected and is still under warranty, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with an Apple Genius.
Tracking Battery Cycles and Health Over Time
Using a free utility like CoconutBattery allows you to keep track of your batteries health by saving data points like cycle count and charge capacity. This is a nice app that has been around for quite some time and it keeps track of various health statistics for Mac batteries as well as for iOS devices too, assuming they are connected to a computer and read with Coconut Battery.
The other nice thing about Coconut Battery is that it keeps a running log of statistics, so you can see how your battery performance changes over time as the cycles accrue. This helps to identify issues, like if a MacBook battery is not lasting as long as the factory suggests it should, it may get replaced for free.
If you just want to see how much battery life you have left on your current charge, you can show that in the battery menubar.