How Long Does Your MacBook Pro Battery Last?

Mar 30, 2017 - 49 Comments

See how long MacBook battery is really lasting

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:

  1. Use the laptop on battery power until the MacBook battery is going to die soon
  2. 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
  3. Go to the “Energy” tab of Activity Monitor
  4. At the bottom of the Energy screen find “Time on battery” to see how long your Mac laptop has been running on battery power

Where to see how long MacBook battery lasts in time on battery

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.

Impressive all day battery life advertising MacBook

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).

Example battery time of MacBook Pro in real life usage

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!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

49 Comments

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  1. James says:

    I usually get 4.5 to 5 hours on a 2015 MacBook Pro 13″ model. The biggest power drains for me are Chrome and Civilization V, they really suck battery.

    A MacBook Air gave me the best battery life, not having a retina display must make a difference, but once you get used to a Retina screen I can’t imagine going back to not having one.

    The 2016/2017 MacBook Pro has a physically smaller battery size than the models they replaced, that probably contributes to the reduced longevity and performance of the new ones.

    • Orangutan says:

      Using Safari for browsing instead of Chrome keeps my computer fans from running all the time and extends battery life at least by an hour or two.

      I can probably get about 5 or 6 hours on a MacBook Pro with Safari and Pages.

  2. Okan says:

    Hi i have new macbook early 2016. Currently my battery cycle 13. Remauning time 4:48 and %48…is anyone has a new macbook and want to share their battery status????

  3. Ogles of Kansas says:

    If your battery on new MacBook Pro is only 3 hours I think there is something wrong. It should not be that low, it should at least be 5 or 6 hours.

    Consider replacing it?

    My MacBook Pro lasts 5 or 6 with pretty heavy use, 7 or 8 with light use.

  4. Okan says:

    Thank you @james ;) #doyourbestf***therest;) apple is the best;) #B4L

  5. James B says:

    I own the news 15″ MBP w/TouchBar. I’ve been curious but have never tested the battery life. Activity monitor estimates 4 hours, 32 minutes on my full battery right now. I guess that’s a far cry from 10 hours. 😔

  6. avenged110 says:

    Unfortunately, unlike iOS, Activity Monitor doesn’t break down the “time on battery” into standby and actual usage.

    That being said, my MacBook Pro 11,3 usually gets around 7-10 hours of usage. But that’s with Bluetooth off, brightness at 50%, turbo boost disabled, and forced exclusively to the integrated intel GPU.

  7. expobill says:

    My MB battery lasts 4.5 hours using OSX 10.8.5
    under 1 hours using OSX 10.10 and higher.

  8. Tj says:

    Mid 2010 macbookpro new battery and new ssd 3.5-4hrs is about the best it will get….. Meh

  9. Markus says:

    I have the older MBP 13 Model since 3 years and the same model with 0.5 years of age. With the first MBP, I was able to comfortably using it for a full day. With every MAC OS X release that came out, battery life went shorter, down to 4-5 hours. When I got the “new” MBP (same model), i was expecting to have the initial battery life experience. Unfortunately, it was not much change to the MAC I used for more than 2 years already. So, battery life also depends on the OS X release

  10. Rick says:

    When traveling getting recharged can be difficult so I have trained myself to be “battery aware”. 1) If I am thinking I hit the dim button immediately and the bright button when I actually have something to do. 2) If I start to socialize I close the lid immediately. 3) When I’m working I keep the screen as dim as is practicable then bump it up two notches when needed. 4) I keep excess windows closed. 5) I close or sleep all apps as soon as I’m finished with them – they come back up so quickly. 6) I adjust brightness for each video since some can be dimmed a lot without missing much. So, once this becomes a habit, the battery lasts much longer. This way I can write on my 13″ retina MacBook Air all the way from Auckland New Zealand to New York on one charge and still take in a movie. That’s my two cents! Cheers, Rick

  11. James Taylor says:

    I can get a work day (8hrs) out of my MacBook Pro 15″ 2014. I have to take care what apps I use, shut down things I’m not, and keep screen brightness mid to low.

  12. Jim Roberts says:

    I have a mid-2015 MacBook Pro and have had 211 recharge cycles. Previous research says one can expect 300 cycles out of a battery. Previous MacBook Pro had 600 cycles and wouldn’t run more than an hour or two, fully charged. Note that partial charges are not registered until several equal a 100% charge as a cycle. I don’t do a lot of graphics but Facebook and some YouTube and some with Photos and can expect to go 2-3 days of 3-4 hrs intermittent use. Typically recharge if I’m going somewhere so I don’t have to hunt for a plug-in during the day.

  13. Beverley says:

    I have a 2013 mac book pro which is now entirely dependent on power. If the power cord accidently becomes unplugged it gets to 99% and zip, gone. Can you replace the batteries in these? I’ve heard you can’t but have never checked it out.

    • ionut says:

      I think you can, but you might also have to change the keyboard as well which I heard could be expensive.

      Check out your battery condition first: apple logo -> About this Mac -> System report -> Power (there you should see the battery condition). You might also want to look at the Service tab – pple logo -> About this Mac -> Service.

      • Beverley says:

        Thank you for that IONUT. Looks like I either need to forget using it without power or see about replacing it. Either way sounds expensive.

        • expobill says:

          replacing the battery on MB are easy, all you need is a pentalobe screw driver, an 8 hex and 5 minutes. there are several step by step instructions online that will help.

  14. Yea it's good says:

    MacBook Pro 15″ 2015 model, gets about 5 hours battery life. It also runs really hot temperatures wise, makes me sweat if it’s on my lap even in winter.

    • Beau Smither says:

      My MacBook Pro runs quite warm anytime Chrome is open, and a lot cooler when Safari is open. Longer battery life with Safari too, but Safari has a fatal bug (still in 10.12.4, likely to never be fixed knowing how things work in Cupertino today) that causes the entire system to crash and melt down and the only solution is rebooting every day or so which is very annoying. Pick what annoys you more I guess?

      Anyway I get about 3-4 hours with Chrome, 5.5 hours with Safari. Same Mac as you.

  15. Sonny says:

    My macbook 12 inches 1.2Ghz m5 512 SSD lasts like 6-7 hours. Mostly I use chrome doing daily tasks like watching video trainings, doing zoom meetings plus facebook, gmail but I use an extension called ONETAB. I like my macbook since battery lasts long plus its fast and very light.

  16. Steve says:

    I have a MBP 13″, late 2012 and have been having battery problems. Charge is typically 3 hours, but the indicator still tells me it’s 50% charged when it shuts down. I’ve tried recallibrating the battery but that didn’t work.

    Beverly, I was quoted £280 for a battery replacement by Apple. But check your specific model.

    • Beverley says:

      Thanks Steve. Even though replacing the battery sounds expensive, it’s not as expensive as buying a new one. They’ve doubled in price since I bought this one so a new battery seems the way to go.

  17. ionut says:

    You should keep an eye on what graphics card you’re using with the apps on your workflow. I noticed that Adobe PDF Reader uses the dedicated graphics card while reading some text only technical papers – this will reduce your time on battery significantly.

    Anybody have a take on bluetooth? I had the watch unlock feature on my 13” rMBP (2013) and I noticed the battery didn’t last that long.

  18. The Phantom says:

    My 2015 MBP averages 2.8 – 3.3 hrs with email usage and video streaming activity. I have never had more than 3.5 hrs. My MBAir can get 3 – 6 hrs depending in what I am doing. But usually around 3-3.5.
    But compared to my Toshibas with Windows? I will take Apple any day of the week!!

  19. Søren Nielsen says:

    MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011)
    2,7 GHz Intel Core i7, 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    256 GB SSD
    Daily use, with WIFI, mail, Safari and Office Excel/Word/OneNote.
    Bluetooth off
    Battery time normaly between 4,5 – 6 hours
    Think that’s OK with a 6 years old battery..

  20. Arbenowskee says:

    I get less than 3 hours of actual productivity. More than 5 when using for leasure stuff. Mbpro 15” 2015. Apple is not what it used to be.

  21. Carlos Bernardo says:

    Hi,

    Just to share my personal experience.
    MacBook Pro 13 with Retina – Early 2015

    Parallels Desktop + Windows + Visual Studio + C# programing: 4,5 to 5hours

    Web app (Safari browsing) on our system + Itunes + light Parallels Desktop app use: 6,5 to 7hours

    Usually I turn my Mac on at 9am and it runs until 4,5 – 5pm with a full battery (165 recharge cycles recorded).

  22. Kevin Lancaster says:

    I can’t get longer than 3.5 hours out of my MacBook Pro 15″ and I use screen brightness at 50%, minimal Safari with ghostery, and Terminal for administration. In fact I right now have brightness at 50% and those two apps open and it tells me I have 3:12 hours left at 80% battery charge.

    All day battery? Ha, typical Apple marketing of extreme hyperbole that does not match to reality.

  23. I have a mid-2015 15 inch MacBook Pro. The battery lasts all day. I spend the whole work day without plugging in to power. I just close the display when I’m not using my Mac.

    • Orangutan says:

      That’s really fantastic, I wonder if you use Chrome or Safari for the web?

      I don’t know why but every Chrome tab or window for me sits at 8 to 10% CPU so if you have a couple Chrome tabs open the computer heats up fast and it drains the battery. I have updated to the latest version but it still does that, can’t figure it out why. I like Chrome more otherwise, but it is heavy energy user.

  24. Tom says:

    Hello, my Mid 14 13″ MBPr is showing 8:20 remaining on the battery icon in the menu bar, and 8:27 in the energy tab of activity monitor with 100% charge. The battery shows 257 cycles. Every Monday I let the battery drain to 20%, all the other days it’s on the charger, but unplugged at night. But have not actually measured the battery time during a day. I have swapped over the battery menu to get the remaining time on the battery icon.

  25. LoyalFollower says:

    MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011)
    2,3 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    500 GB SSD
    macOS 10.12.4
    Bluetooth off
    Bright (screen) at 4-5 *

    For a normal, dayly use of Mail, Firefox, iTunes, HTML coding, Pages, Numbers, etc., the battery (6 years old; at 79% of its design capacity) lasts 4-6 hours. It drains very quickly if I need to rip a CD or reencode a movie, however.

  26. expobill says:

    well not too many positive feedbacks here, The good thing about the newer MB (intel) is the battery can be replaced easily compared to that silly coin slot mechanism on those older powerbooks that broke. My 2010 MBA battery and system runs much better with Mountain Lion than mavericks and beyond, 3.5 hours more. Apple is not fixing this old mac-new OSX battery issue, and most stores do not offer older OSXs and develop new products working with 10.8.5 and beyond-which is a shame.

    • Tom says:

      According to Apple the batteries on my Mid 14 13″ MBPr (which I was unaware of), are not replaceable. After investigating, I find that they can be replaced, somewhat of a difficult job, but replaceable nonetheless. The device tear down site, ifixit.com, has the guides to do the job.

      • expobill says:

        actually quite simple, just unscrew the back cover, unscrew 5 more hexscrews and pry open the connection to the motherboard, replace and re-start!

        • Tom says:

          My understanding of it is the batteries are glued in, not a simple remove some screws etc. In fact I just looked at the guide, a 32 step process that they rate as “difficult”. There are six cells and are glued to the upper case. The glue adhering the cells must be heated and softened. They sell a gadget, that you heat up in the microwave, then place on the cells to soften the glue. Then use spuders and plastic cards to seperate the batteries from the case. Very nice guide, check it out: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Retina+Display+Mid+2014+Battery+Replacement/27832

          • expobill says:

            i apologize, i was reporting my experience with replacing a MBA 2010 battery(a san alternative to buying a new MBA
            – jeez, apple is out of hand controlling how users use products that they supposedly own. if i can’t fix something myself, i am not purchasing the product.

  27. atha says:

    Mine has late 2016 Touchbar 13″ MBP
    Cycle count : 31 (Based on System Information)

    for daily use I use Safari & Spotify and lasts about 5-7 hours from 100% to 1%

    • Tom says:

      I would not recommend draining the battery to 1%, I don’t have the reasons at my fingertips why, but have seen 15%-20% as the acceptable range. Personally I drain to 20%.

  28. Jeff says:

    Years ago they used to claim draining too low could possibly cause battery cells to ‘reverse polarity’. Not sure that still applies on today’s batteries

  29. Ray says:

    ‘All day battery life’ has been total BS for me. I have a brand new 2016 MacBook Pro with the touch strip which I’ve had for less than 2 months. Today I got less than 5 hours out of it with only Safari and Mail running… with the screen at about 70%.

  30. Haydn says:

    Thanks for all those replies. I think I will keep my ‘old’ early 2013 MPB 13″ I still get 4-5 hours out of it and that is normally running fairly intensive software like light-room with a portable hard drive plugged in.

    Wish my iphone was still that good.

  31. Marcelo Regis says:

    I cannot reach more than 5 hours using my entry level MacBook Pro 13″ with TouchBar, using TextPad for writing, Safari for browsing and iTunes for streaming online radio or listen to MP3 songs.

  32. Marcelo Regis says:

    Please, understand TexPad (LaTeX) instead of TextPad.

  33. Luke L says:

    I usually get about 6 hours out of my mid 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pro. My biggest battery drainer is Final Cut Pro.

  34. Kosha S says:

    I am very confused because my activity monitor says:

    Remaining charge: 12%
    Time remaining: 0:47
    Time on Battery: 69:40

    69 hours on battery?? i plug in my laptop to an lg 5K monitor most days at work that both displays and charges. most evenings i come home with 100% battery, as I did last night. why would it say 69:40 today?

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