How to check your Mac’s charge cycles

Checking the health of your Mac's battery is very useful to know when to replace it. Here's how to do it

Replacing the battery of an Apple laptop out of warranty can be very expensive: it starts from 139 euros for 13 and 15-inch models without Retina display and for all MacBook Air and goes up to 209 euros for 12 and 16-inch MacBooks and all those with Retina display.

Increasing the life and efficiency of the MacBook battery, therefore, can save us a lot of money by extending the life of the battery that, thus, will be replaced later. As with all lithium-ion batteries, however, you have to deal with chemistry and physics: the more charge cycles the battery does, the more it loses efficiency. Unlike most battery-powered electronic devices, however, on MacBooks you can know exactly how many charge cycles the battery has behind it. So you can understand, among other things, how much life is left to the battery of a used MacBook.

What is meant by charge cycles

When it comes to battery charge cycles Apple adopts an extremely transparent policy: the Cupertino company not only communicates exactly what is meant by a charge cycle, but also allows us to keep track of how many cycles the battery has done. Apple explains that a cycle is counted every time the battery is fully discharged, and this doesn't necessarily correspond to a single charge. If we use half of our MacBook's battery charge today and then do a full recharge, in fact, a cycle won't be counted today. But if we do the exact same procedure again tomorrow, a charge cycle will be counted. For all MacBooks built in recent years Apple recommends a maximum number of cycles of 1,000, after which the battery is considered exhausted.

How to count the charge cycles of MacBooks 

To know the exact number of charge cycles already made by the battery of our MacBook is very simple: just hold down the Option key and click on the Apple menu, then we must choose "System Information".

In the "Hardware" section we should click on "Energy". Here we will find all the information we need about the battery, including "Cycle Count", which is the value we are looking for. Right after that we'll find "Condition", which represents the overall health of the battery. If we've replaced the original MacBook battery with a compatible one from another manufacturer, though, this data may not be available.