Check your battery’s health in Lion

Check your battery’s health in Lion
Mac Tip #540, 13 June 2012

Batteries on laptops wear out over time. To see how your battery’s doing you can try the hardware checks or the System Information window in Lion. Here are the details, along with a couple of pointers to additional Tips, information and a handy app.

This Tip is an update of Check your battery’s health with System Profiler because some things changed with OS X 10.7, Lion.

Quick Start

  1. Check battery level with the physical button.
  2. The MagSafe adapter’s light shows if the battery’s charging or not.
  3. Check the System Information window for details about your battery’s charge and health.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Check battery level with the physical button

Most Mac laptops include an actual Battery Check button and half a dozen lights that let you check the battery charge even if the machine’s turned off.

Sorry Macbook Air users — the case on your Mac is so slim there just isn’t any space for a Battery check button and lights. This part of the Tip doesn’t apply to you.

On older Macs turn the laptop over and look for a button on the battery itself.

On newer Macs where the battery can’t easily be removed look for a small button probably on the left edge near the front. It will be flush with the case or even very slightly indented.

Press the button for a moment.

You should see several green lights beside the button. My 2010 model MacBook Pro has 8 of them.

If your laptop battery is fully charged all the lights shine green when you press the Battery Check button. The lower the charge the fewer lights shine.

Are the lights flashing? Read Apple’s info About the battery indicator lights on MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) and MacBook Pro (Late 2008 and later).

The MagSafe adapter’s light shows if the battery’s charging or not

When you plug the power cord into your Mac laptop look at the light on the MagSafe adapter. If it’s orange the battery’s charging. If it’s green the battery is fully charged.

No light when there should be? Check Apple Portables: Troubleshooting MagSafe adapters.

Check System Information for battery details

This is where things differ a bit from the 2008 Tip.

About This Mac.

About This Mac.

About This Mac System Information window.

About This Mac System Information window.

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Select About This Mac. The About This Mac window opens.
  3. Click on the More Info… button. The About This Mac System Information window opens.
  4. Click the System Report… button. [You can shortcut steps 1 to 3 by opening the System from inside the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. ] The System Information window opens.
  5. In the left column click on the disclosure triangle beside Hardware if necessary to open the hardware list. Then select Power. Details about the Battery and System Power Settings appear on the right.
Details about the Battery and System Power Settings.

Details about the Battery and System Power Settings.

Look at the details for Charge Information and Health Information, especially the Condition line. If your battery’s not so healthy the Condition line should alert you.

Apple say:

Your battery’s condition may help you determine if the battery needs a replacement:

  • If the condition is “Normal”, the battery is functioning normally.
  • If the condition is “Replace Soon”, it is still working but may be starting to lose its ability to hold a charge.
  • If the condition is “Replace Now” or “Service Battery”, the battery likely needs to be replaced.

[Via Apple Portables: Tips for maximizing your battery charge.]

Other handy info and apps

If you like to keep an eye on your battery and its charge read this older but still valid Tip: Battery indicator. It explains how to put a battery indicator in the Mac’s Menu Bar.

Apple has some excellent information about batteries and how they work, including what a charge cycle is. See: Lithium-ion batteries. They even offer calendar files to help remind you to charge and discharge batteries for Apple laptops and handheld devices.

Make sure to look at Review: Low Battery Saver app for an excellent app that lets you know when your battery’s running low on juice and needs recharging. After extended use I find it excellent.

Please let us know how this Tip helped you. To leave a comment if you’re reading this by email or RSS feed please visit the Tip at the MacTips website. There should be a link from the title.

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