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How long does a MacBook battery last?

MacBook owners may know this from experience, but we've got some hard figures.
By

Published onMarch 14, 2024

Apple is no stranger to criticism regarding battery life on its devices. Historically, iPhone battery life was weak, though things have improved. But what about Apple’s laptops? How long does a MacBook battery last? Let’s take a look.

QUICK ANSWER

Apple’s M1 and M2 MacBooks offer between 10 to 20 hours of battery life between charges. The amount of time greatly depends on how you’re using your laptop.


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How long does a MacBook battery last in its lifetime?

Like everything in life, MacBook batteries are not immortal and will eventually die. As somber as that may seem, the good news is that the lifespan of today’s MacBook batteries is rather long.

An M1 and M2 MacBook Pro battery has a life cycle of 1,000 charges, as does a M1 and M2 MacBook Air. That number hasn’t changed much over the past decade and is consistent with the best laptops you can buy. However, the amount of time between charges certainly has. With an Apple MacBook Pro in 2013, you could expect nine hours of wireless web surfing. Today, the number has more than doubled.

An M1 and M2 MacBook Pro battery has a life cycle of 1,000 charges, as does a M1 and M2 MacBook Air.

In real-world use, if you use your MacBook for six hours a day for standard tasks and only need to charge it every other day, then you can expect your battery to last around five years and four months. Heavy users who charge their MacBooks daily would have around two and half years of use before hitting the 1,000 charge lifecycle. This means the average MacBook has a similar lifespan to the average laptop.

When you hit 1,000 charges, your battery doesn’t stop working, though you will likely see a drop off in how long it lasts between charges. There are ways to find out if your battery needs replacing, which we’ll touch on shortly.

How long does a MacBook battery last on a single charge?

There’s no single answer to this question, as it depends on how you use your MacBook. Someone editing video in Final Cut Pro won’t enjoy as much battery life as someone casually browsing the web for a new phone.

The answer also depends on which MacBook you’re using. Below is a table of Apple’s recent MacBooks featuring an Apple silicone M1 or M2 processing chip.

ModelBattery life per charge
MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
Up to 18 hours
MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)
Up to 20 hours
MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
Up to 18 hours
MacBook Pro (13-inch, M2, 2022)
Up to 20 hours
MacBook Pro (16-inch M2, 2023)
Up to 22 hours
MacBook Air (15-inch, M2, 2023)
Up to 18 hours

Is Apple telling the truth about battery life?

Those figures are from Apple’s official spec sheet, but how do they fair up against reality? The answer, again, is it depends.

While reviewing the 2022 Macbook Air, we got between 10-12 hours of battery life between charges. That was with typical usage, including internet browsing, photo editing, and Slack messaging. Our 2023 MacBook Pro 16-inch review noted the same battery life. None of this is to say that Apple intentionally misled customers with its MacBook battery life specs. The company will have its own way of testing benchmarks, and sharing the best outcomes is common sense.

Alternatively, Apple tends to be rather conservative if you look at battery estimates for its other products. It claims the Apple Watch Ultra lasts up to 36 hours on a single charge, but we regularly crossed the 40-hour mark during our review.

How to make your MacBook battery last longer

Several easy and basic ways to make your MacBook battery last longer. Switching on Low Power Mode on macOS helps slow down battery drainage, but there’s a trade-off.

Low Power Mode reduces performance by slowing down the CPU and minimizing the use of RAM to boost battery power. These changes may not be noticeable when using your MacBook for light tasks. However, you’ll feel a difference for heavy-duty tasks like video editing.

Other ways to make your battery last longer include dimming your screen brightness, turning off the back lights on your keyboard, and shutting down any apps you’re not using so they don’t run in the background.

Can you replace a MacBook battery?

Over time, your battery won’t perform as well as the day you purchased it. This means less battery life between charges. Thankfully, you can replace your battery, though it’s not cheap.

For example, replacing a 2018 MacBook Pro battery directly through Apple costs in the region of $300. Costs vary depending on what MacBook model you own.

When should I replace my MacBook Battery?

macOS can analyze the performance of your battery and tell you when it’s time to get a replacement. Take the following steps to find out the current status of your battery health.

  1. Navigate to the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Select About This Mac.
  1. Next, select More Info…
  1. Scroll down and select System Report…
  1. In the left-hand menu, find and select Power.
  1. Beneath Health Information, you will see Cycle Count, Condition, and Maximum Capacity. If your battery is alive and well, the condition should be “Normal.” It will say “Service Battery” if it needs replacing.