While lithium-ion batteries are one of the most commonly-used types of batteries in our electronic gadgets, the problem with them is that over time they will lose their charge. Every battery has a set number of charges that over time and due to other environmental factors, they will lose their charge and will eventually stop being as efficient as they used to be.
If you have a laptop that used to give you 6 hours of battery life, but you’re now only managing to squeeze out 3 hours before it drops to low levels, you’re not alone. If you’re wondering if maybe this could be due to a battery issue or maybe a software issue, then read on as this guide will you show how to check on the life of your laptop’s battery.
What Is A Battery Cycle?
Battery cycle is basically the number of charges your battery has gone through ever since you got it. With every full charge (from 0% to 100%) counting as a full cycle, the higher the cycle count you have, the older your battery is and the sooner it will reach its limits before it stops being as efficient compared to out of the box.
For example, if you use a laptop from 100% to 50%, and then charge it up to 100%, that’s half a cycle. If you repeat that process again, then it counts as one cycle. This is the same if you charge a laptop battery from 0% to 20% five times. Of course, there are other factors to consider where typically 80% to 100% requires more power, and there is also heat which can affect battery life, but those are the basics.
How To Check Your MacBook’s Battery Cycle
To check your MacBook’s battery cycle, it is pretty easy.
- Hold the Option key and click on the Apple menu and choose System Information
- Under Hardware, select Power and look for “Cycle Count”
Now in terms of the number of cycles for the MacBook, it varies from model to model. The MacBook with the highest number of cycles is the MacBook Pro which offers 1,000 cycles for the models released in 2009 onwards. The MacBook ranges from 300 to 1,000 depending on the year of production, while the MacBook Air also offers a range from 300 to 1,000 depending on the year your model was produced.
How To Check Your Windows Laptop Battery Health
With Windows-based laptops, checking on the battery health isn’t quite as straightforward compared to macOS. There will be a few more steps that you will need to go through, but the end result is that it will offer up a slightly more detailed report where you can get more information about your battery, including usage history to better understand how you are using your laptop’s battery.
- Click the Start button and type “cmd” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run it in administrator mode
- Type powercfg /batteryreport and hit Enter
- Go to Users\Your Username folder and look for the battery-report.html file and double-click to open it
- Scroll down to the Battery Information section where you will see Design Capacity, Full Charge Capacity, and Cycle Count
- Scroll down further for Battery Life Estimates where you can get an idea of how long your laptop should last you on a full charge based on its current capacity, versus when it was brand new.
Design Capacity indicates the size of the battery that your laptop was shipped with, meaning that this is what the manufacturer has promised. Full Charge Capacity is the maximum battery you’re getting for a full charge, where if it is lower than the Design Capacity, it means that your battery life is starting to deteriorate. This is perfectly normal because like we said, this is due to the nature of lithium-ion batteries where over time, they will start to lose their charge.
How To Replace Your Laptop’s Battery
In the good old days, laptop makers would create laptops with removable batteries. If you typically keep your laptop plugged in, you could remove the battery to prevent it from degrading. These days, removable batteries are becoming increasingly rare so to replace your laptop’s battery, you will have to take it back to the manufacturer or seek a third-party repair shop.
The complexity to replace a battery once again varies from model to model. Some companies might choose to use glue to hold their batteries in place, making it more difficult to replace them. Some might even solder other components to it, meaning that replacing the battery means replacing those components as well, making the overall process more expensive.
iFixit has a list of laptops that they have reviewed and torn down, so you can have a quick look on there to see if your laptop is listed and how repairable it is. We would highly-recommend that you take it back to the company you bought the laptop from as this guarantees that the service staff are trained to fix that particular laptop, plus you’ll also be guaranteed genuine parts that are confirmed to work with your laptop.