MacBook Pro (Laptop) Battery Life

8 Mins read

The MacBook Pro is the second model of laptops launched by AppleInc. Laptops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and many other machines run on battery power as opposed to a direct source of electricity. To have them run efficiently for a reasonable period, the battery has to be properly manufactured.

MacBook Pro

Laptops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and many other machines run on battery power as opposed to a direct source of electricity. To have them run efficiently for a reasonable period, the battery has to be properly manufactured. Of course, you will need to charge the battery from time to time. You may have noticed that when you buy a new laptop or any of the devices mentioned above, you are required to charge it only at particular times. As you use the device for longer periods, you slowly find out that it takes a longer while to get charged. That is when you realize that the battery life is trickling away. The battery of the MacBook Pro seemingly has a very long life. The paragraphs below will elaborate on this subject.


An Introduction

The MacBook Pro was launched in 2006 by Apple Inc.
It is the 2nd model after the iMac, in the Apple-Intel configuration, and is a major model in the line of the Macintosh laptops.
It was available in the 17-inch format, while of late, it is available in the 15-inch and 13-inch format as well.

It has incredible features, an extremely durable battery life being one of them.
The latest model has a 2.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor along with an 8 GB built-in RAM.


The Concept of Battery Life

Most companies generally exaggerate their product’s features so that they can garner positive, extraordinary reviews and a loyal customer base.

One of the prominent features that companies stress about is the battery life. Apple Inc. claims that the MacBook battery life runs for 9 to 10 hours.

However, as consumers, we have to keep in mind that the life of the battery is likely to expire as per its use.

When it is stated that the battery will last up to 10 hours, it is an unsaid fact that this shelf life is calculated assuming that no potential work is being carried out by the machine. Of course, this is not the true scenario, for you will be using the machine continuously.

Heavy software being run on the MacBook Pro takes a toll on the battery and so does any media content. Additionally, if the number of applications that are running is large, the battery life will obviously suffer.

Most of the consumers stay ignorant of this fact. Now, Apple cannot predict the type of applications you will be running on your MacBook Pro; naturally, consumers are left disappointed with the performance of their battery, and they mistake this for poor battery life.

MacBook Pro Battery Life

Important Concepts

Full Charge Capacity: As the name suggests, it is the value up to which the battery is capable of running. With time, this number reduces.

Defective: Defective batteries are those, which do not work due to a potential defect in the manufacturing. If they become defective within a year, you will receive a new piece from Apple under the warranty period.

Load: It is an indicator of the number of tasks being performed. More the number of tasks, heavier the load, and vice-versa.

Cycle Count: It is the total number of discharge cycles for the battery throughout its life. Every battery functions for a number of cycles and the cycle count is an indicator of all those cycles – full or partial.

Battery Runtime: It is the amount of time the battery will run to support the laptop without the power source. It depends on the cycle count and load as well.

Consumed: A battery is considered as consumed when the cycle count crosses its threshold.


Remaining Charge Capacity: It is the amount of power remaining in the battery.

Battery Life Optimization

The status of your battery life depends on the how much the system is being loaded.

When you perform an ample amount of work, for instance, if you leave a lot of applications running, install excess software, update the software regularly, and start large programs simultaneously, you can be sure that your PC will slow down, and may even hang up for a while.

One of the important points to remember is to adjust the brightness of your screen; this helps optimize the battery life.

Another option is to use the integrated graphics processor unit (GPU).
You might choose options from the Energy Saver Pane to help increase the battery life as well. This option is available under System Preferences.

Battery Configuration

The first model of MacBook had a 2.5 GHz Intel Core processor, 250 GB serial ATA, and 60 Wh battery, to name a few.

The 2nd generation had a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 750 GB serial ATA, and 77.5 Wh.

The latest model reportedly has a 2.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 1 TB SSD, and a 95 Wh battery.

Apart from the non-upgradable RAM, this model has innumerable features, an all-day running battery being one of them.

Of course, as mentioned before, this depends on a lot on the laptop usage, yet, the battery life in this model is said to have advanced improvisation and any other attractive features.

Tips to Retain Battery Life

This is not exactly a solution, but more of a safe suggestion. If you try to subject your MacBook Pro to lighter use, perhaps it may be possible to stretch its battery life by another couple of hours.

To begin with, turn off the Bluetooth and Wi-fi functions on the laptop.
Turn off airport mode.
Keep all discs out of the DVD drive.
Turn off the backlit keyboard.
Mute the volume leveler.
Run as few applications as you can.
Turn down the screen brightness levels.
Do not use the iSight camera that is built in.
Turn off background notifications.
Turn off spotlight indexing.
Disable all unwanted features.
Keep the laptop as cool as possible.
Calibrate the battery on a regular basis.


Use the private mode browsing in your Safari or Firefox web browser.
Turn off the auto checking features of email accounts.
These measures may help improve the life of your MacBook Pro battery considerably, but of course, this means that you are placing several limitations on your machine.

It is with all these settings in place that Apple releases its MacBook Pro battery life reviews, so it is important that we do not get carried away by these claims. In fact, if you check out some well-reputed magazines and journals like PC World magazine and Chip magazine, they will tell you exactly the same thing.

The fact that Apple Computers offers such brilliant products with a high degree of battery life is indeed commendable. For these powerful machines to offer around 5 hours of battery life is a very big deal, and it is a great rise from the battery life of machines that we have been using so far.

If you look at the table above, you can see that almost everything has improved with the new Retina display Mac. Don’t be fooled with the higher clock speeds of the older versions, the latest Haswell processors present in the Retina model, coupled with the Iris and Iris Pro integrated graphics are much, much better than the older processors and Intel 4000 HD graphics.

The breakdown in other parts of the machine as well should bring you to the same conclusion that we came to, that the Retina display model is far better than the non-retina model. But with a price difference of a hundred bucks, I’m sure you will need more than just a paragraph to be convinced.

Reasons to Buy the MacBook Pro Retina Model

MacBook Pro

While it is almost a rule of thumb that newer is better, let’s see if it applies in this case. Of course, when it comes to technology, newer is definitely better, but you should also keep the price in mind. New tech can cost a bomb, and you don’t want to sell your house to have a dapper computer. When it comes to the Retina display model of the MacBook Pro, the first thing you would notice is that the price is a hundred dollars more. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? To decide, let’s see what you get for those extra hundred bucks.


Let’s start with the most noticeable factor: The display. You get a much, much better screen. 2560 × 1600 pixels as compared to the older 1280 × 800 pixels. That alone should be worth the extra hundred dollars. The higher resolution makes a huge difference, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Processor, Memory, and Graphics

Moving on from the price, the new Retina display model features Haswell processors, and Intel Iris Pro graphics, again a boost over the older processors, and HD 4000 integrated graphics. Though discrete graphics would have been better, these 13-inch models only come with integrated graphics and remember that you are only putting in USD 100 more over the older model, and it is definitely worth it. Also, Apple has been more generous with the RAM limitation on the newer model, the Retina display can now take up to 16 gigs of RAM, compared to the maximum of 8 gigs on the older machines.

Storage Space

When it comes to storage, the norm is more the better. You can never really have enough of space. With the world going HD, space is now even more of a problem. We would like to say that so-and-so amount of storage space is enough, but it simply depends on from user to user. Luckily, on the newer MacBook Pro, you can choose the amount of storage you need, right up to a gargantuan 1 TB SSD. No doubt, the price will increase accordingly, but the option is nice to have. For those users who don’t need so much space, the base model comes with an ample 128 GB of space, but more importantly, on an SSD. SSDs don’t feature moving parts, and read/write speeds are phenomenally faster that HDDs. If you need more space, and don’t want to shell out the USD 300 to upgrade to a 512 GB SSD, then you have the option of picking up a 500 GB external HHD for your storage needs. However, with the cloud sector booming, this is becoming less and less necessary.


MacBook Pro

The newer Retina display model also does not feature an optical drive, which counts significantly to its svelte size, shape, and weight. This might be a problem for some, but optical discs are being used lesser and lesser these days, so it should not be too bad. You could also opt for an external optical drive; these are not too expensive, and even the extra 20 bucks that the drive costs make the newer MacBook worth it.

Apart from all this, there are numerous other benefits that the Retina display model has, like the presence of an HDMI port (absent in non-retina models), and the upgrade of the USB ports to USB 3.0. Additionally, there is an extra thunderbolt port as well. The newer model also features Apple’s latest MagSafe 2 technology, which comes on both, the port and the adapter.

Size, Weight, and Battery Life

Thanks to the inclusion of the SSD, and the exclusion of the optical drive, the newer MacBook Pro with Retina display is now even thinner and lighter than its predecessor. At less than 3½ pounds, this is a very light machine indeed, almost a pound lighter that the non-retina model. It is also significantly thinner, at .71 inches, compared to the older model at .91 inches. In all this slimming and trimming, Apple has ensured that the battery life does not suffer; in fact, with the newer model you get up to 9 hours of wireless web surfing, compared to the 7 hours its predecessor offered.


In addition, there are a few miscellaneous features that both laptops share, like the Facetime HD camera in front, the keyboard, the SDXC card slot, and the latest OS Mavericks. These features are already the latest, and hence, were not improved in the new model.

Wi-Fi, though has been improved, and the Retina display models will now feature 802.11ac Wi-Fi, as compared to the older 802.11n Wi-Fi. We can’t really say that this is more beneficial right now, though, in the future, it surely will be.

So, if you take a look at the various features that you get with the newer MacBook Pro, it is well worth the extra 100 dollars that you are going to pay for it. Remember the comparisons here are the base models, these can be configured with better and higher configurations, which will affect the prices. As a product with newer technology, we would have had no qualms recommending the newer version anyway; the price of the older machine just makes it easier to do so. If Apple drops the price of the older version to about USD 700 to USD 800, then there may be a compelling reason to opt for the old. At this price point, however, it’s a no-brainer.

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