Have you ever had a ‘service battery’ or ‘replace now’ message pop up on your MacBook. Well if you have, it’s not something you want to ignore.
As with all laptops, your MacBook is powered by a lithium-ion battery which has a limited life span. When a battery has reached the end of its life, it cannot be serviced or re-used; it must be disposed of and replaced with a new one.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss how a lithium-ion battery works, how to find out if your MacBook battery needs replacing and the cost associated with doing so.
What is a lithium-ion battery?
A lithium-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery that is charged and discharged by lithium ions moving between the negative (anode) and positive (cathode) electrodes.
Lithium-ion batteries are composed of 1) the anode and the cathode; 2) a separator between the two electrodes; and 3) an electrolyte that fills the remaining space of the battery. The anode and cathode are capable of storing lithium ions. Energy is stored and released as lithium ions travel between these electrodes through the electrolyte.
What happens to a lithium-ion battery over time?
While you’re using the battery, in essence, it is continuously degrading. As time goes on, the chemical reactions that produce power become less and less and as a result, gas is produced. This is why your battery may swell as it comes to the end of its life. Left unchecked, the battery can over-swell and cause damage to the casing, trackpad and keyboard.
Left even longer, the battery can actually puncture and catch on fire. Due to the nature of the battery, the key components need to fit into a compact space. Many of these components come in the form of thin partitions that are quite fragile, and if they become punctured or pierced a spark may occur and start a fire.
How do I know if my MacBook battery needs replacing?
Step 1: Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your machine
Step 2: Go to ‘About This Mac’
Step 3: Click on ‘System Report’, located towards the bottom of the ‘About this Mac’ window
Step 4: In the left-hand column, navigate to ‘Power’
Step 5: About ⅓ of the way down you will see ‘Cycle Count’ and ‘Condition’
Cycle Count: This is the amount of times your battery has been fully charged and discharged.
Condition: This will display one of three things: ‘Normal’, ‘Service Recommended’ and ‘Replace Now’.
If your machine displays ‘Normal’ with less than 700 cycles your battery is ok and will last a bit longer. If it still displays ‘Normal’ but has more than 700 cycles it is worth getting a battery health check as the condition isn’t always accurate.
If it displays ‘Service Recommended’ with any amount of Cycles, you need to get a battery health check as the system is recognising there is an issue with your battery.
A ‘Replace Now’ status means your battery needs to be replaced, this is when the battery has degraded significantly and is prone to the above mentioned symptoms including swelling and punctures.
What are my options when looking to get a health check or replace the battery?
There are few different options to consider when looking to get your battery checked or replaced.
You could go directly to Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, this will be slightly more expensive than going to an independent 3rd-party as Apple always charges a premium. The other issue with this is, Apple won’t touch anything that is 2016 or older as they class it as ‘vintage’. Now this isn’t very helpful as it is more than likely these machines that would need a battery replacement. Going to Apple is also a much longer process as they have to send it off to be repaired, Apple repairs can take up to 3 weeks but is usually around 2.
Your other option is to go to a third-party provider to get your battery checked or changed. We offer our customers a free battery health check and a battery replacement turnaround time of 1-2 hours depending on stock. A battery replacement from Apple-Bay costs £120 + VAT and comes with 3 months warranty. If you would like more information on this please see the link below: