How-To: Find your MacBook’s battery cycle count and learn what it means about its battery life

Recently I noticed that my Late 2013 MacBook Pro with Retina Display seemed to be dying at a faster clip. Naturally, I assumed that the battery might be going bad.

After checking the battery cycle count, I learned that I was probably wrong about the battery being bad, as the cycle count was still well within the normal life span of my MacBook. Here’s how I was able to verify that everything was okay with my MacBook’s battery.

How to check your MacBook battery’s cycle count

Step 1: Hold the Option (⌥) key and click the Apple () logo in the upper left-hand corner.

Step 2: Click System Information.

Step 3: Under Hardware on the left side of the System Information page, click Power.

Step 4: Under the Battery Information header, find Health Information and check the Cycle Count.

As you can see from the screenshot below, my battery cycle count is resting at 466.

Battery Cycle Count MacBook Pro with Retina Display

How to verify if your MacBook’s battery is still within its normal lifespan

Under Cycle Count below the Health Information section, you should see a Condition section. There, you can learn the current condition of your MacBook’s battery. In the screenshot above, you’ll see that my battery’s current condition is normal.

More importantly, you’ll want to visit Apple’s support document regarding battery life and battery cycle counts. It is here that you can learn about the actual battery count cycle figures that allow you to determine if your battery is still good.

For instance, my Late 2013 MacBook Pro with Retina Display can go 1,000 battery cycles before it is deemed to be consumed. Even then, it might still be possible to use the MacBook like normal, you’ll just need to expect degraded battery performance.

I’m pretty impressed that my MacBook’s battery can last 1,000 cycles. That might not seem like a lot on paper, but I’ve had this MacBook for several years, and I feel like I’ve charged it a million times. Still, this particular unit is sitting at only 466 cycles, which is less than half of the maximum life expectancy of its battery.

How battery cycle counts are determined

A battery cycle is the time it takes for a battery to go from 100% to 0%. That process could span multiple days. The important thing to keep in mind is that a battery cycle happens when you use all of the battery’s power. As Apple explains, it could span multiple days before a battery cycle elapses. This is why you may have powered and charged your MacBook a thousand times, while your MacBook’s battery only has a few hundred cycles to its name.

If it turns out that your MacBook’s battery cycle count is past its maximum capacity, then a quick appointment with the Genius bar at the Apple Store can get you a replacement battery if necessary. And if you’re having battery issues but not at the max cycle count, you might be able to get the problem diagnosed and fixed under warranty.

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