Is it Bad to Keep MacBook Pro Plugged In?


Many users notice that their Macbook’s performance is much greater when it’s plugged into the charger since it provides the device with additional power.

However, while keeping your Macbook plugged in all the time can be a good thing for performance purposes, can it have a negative effect on your Macbook’s battery health in the long term?

Does Keeping Your Charger Plugged In All The Time Damage Your Battery?

Keeping your Macbook plugged in when fully charged will have a negative effect on the battery’s health when done in the long term. And here’s why.

MacBooks use Lithium-ion batteries which are best known for its superior charging and longevity when compared to traditional batteries. One of its optimized features is the ability to stop charging once your device reaches 100% battery life.

However, while this is the case, devices don’t generally maintain 100% battery life even when plugged into the charger eventually. When left long enough, the battery will drop to 99% and will be topped off to 100%.

This process will be repeated for the entire charging duration. This will add additional stress to the battery, thus causing it to degrade at a faster rate.

When done occasionally, this will not affect the overall battery capacity of your device. However, this becomes more noticeable when done constantly.

The Best Way to Charge your Macbook For Prolonged Battery Health

As mentioned above, Macbooks are equipped with Lithium-ion batteries. These differ from traditional batteries in the way that they function. Traditional batteries’ overall battery capacity diminishes over time after a number of recharges.

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Lithium-ion batteries, however, work in what’s known as charge cycles.

A charge cycle is completed when you consume a battery capacity equal to 100%. For example, if you’ve used 50% of your Macbook’s battery today, then charge it to 100% the next day and use 50%, you’ve used up one charge cycle.

A device has a limited number of charge cycles until the battery capacity gets lowered. For Macbooks specifically, this is 1000. After 1000 charge cycles, your Macbook will only retain up to 80% of its original capacity.

The optimal change cycle is shown to be 75% to 25%. This means never charging over 75% while never dropping below 25%. This is because exceeding 80% battery tends to add additional stress to the battery. This is also the case when dropping below 25%. However, Apple has added a slow charge protection system that is enabled once your battery is 80%.

This slows down the charging rate when you battery it at or over 80% in order to better protect your device’s overall battery health.

Overheating & Extreme Temperatures: The Worst Thing For Your Battery

One of the most important things to look out for when caring for your Macbook’s battery is avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures.

Lithium-ion batteries don’t perform well in extreme temperatures. According to Apple states that 16° to 22° C (62° to 72° F) is the ideal temperature comfort zone for your device. Anything over 95° F (35° C) will put your device at risk of permanent damage.

Overheating can also occur from several other aspects other than exposure to ambient temperatures. Here’s what you should do when you notice your laptop getting a bit too hot.

What to do when your laptop overheats?

  • Keep your MacBook on a flat surface: placing your laptop on your lap or bed is not a good idea since it can cause fans from being blocked, which can cause your laptop to heat up & slow down.
  •  Reduce the number of tabs you have open: having an excess amount of tabs open causes your laptop to use more resources which can cause your laptop to heat up quite rapidly. Simply bookmark pages you want to come back to in order to reduce overworking your laptop.
  •  Install the latest version of mac: make sure you’re mac is always running on the latest version. New versions typically contain performance enhancements as well as security improvements.
  •  Keep your MacBook away from sunlight: sunlight can cause your laptop to heat up quite rapidly and can damage internal components, so keeping your laptop away from sunlight will reduce the chances of your laptop from heating up.

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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