The Blog

Apr 27, 2008

MacBook Pro Batteries 

by Maxim Porges @ 7:58 PM | Link | Feedback (0)

I bought my current MacBook Pro laptop back in May 2006. The computer has been (and continues to be) a thin slice of aluminum "teh awesomeness" that makes all computer-related activities a pleasure.

There has, however, been one exception to this state of portable computing nirvana: the longevity of the battery. Within the first year after I bought my MBP, the battery life dropped to the point where a full charge would only give me an hour or so of usable time regardless of power settings. Note that I do like to wander around a lot with my computer when I'm at work and at home, so I expect my batteries to die pretty fast - but under a year of use is simply unacceptable.

Apple gets a lot of crap for certain issues with their products, especially with first-run hardware revisions like my MBP, and has often been outright stubborn in resolving them. However, when it came to the battery issues I've had, they have been wonderful.

With my first battery issue, I wandered in to an appointment at the Genius Bar and left with a shiny new battery - no questions asked. I was still under warranty, after all. But when my new battery started to give me a mere hour of use in the last month or so, I expected I was going to need to buy a new one out of pocket since my warranty has expired.

Turns out that this isn't the case. Not only did Apple replace my first battery while under warranty, but after the battery issues that original MBP owners had, they implemented a program where you can get coverage for up to two years on your battery, regardless of whether or not you bought AppleCare. So, once again, I wandered up to the Genius Bar today and left with another shiny new battery (2:40 of usable time left as I write this post).

If you have an original MBP and are concerned about the battery, please check out the written information on Apple's site concerning the replacement program.

You can tell you have a bad battery by following these instructions:

1) Go to the Apple menu and select "About This Mac".
2) Click on the "More Info..." button in the dialog that pops up.
3) System Profiler opens. Go to Hardware > Power in the left hand side bar.
4) Under "Battery Information", check the "Cycle Count" and the "Full Charge Capacity". Apple guarantees batteries for 300 cycles (a cycle is a full charge and discharge).

If your cycle count is less than 300 but your battery life is poor, then you should go in for a replacement. After 254 cycles, my battery only showed a "Full Charge Capacity" of around 2500 when I took it in, whereas my new battery shows a full capacity of 5569.

I'd recommend taking in a print out of the replacement program page with you to smooth over the Genius Bar visit. Good luck, and let me know your experiences.