How to charge a MacBook correctly

5 min read

Knowing how to charge a MacBook Pro properly without causing damage to the battery should be at the top of every Mac owner's list.

It's common knowledge that Mac batteries don't last forever, and users have many questions on how to get the most out of their batteries, including the following:

  • Should I let my battery drain completely?

  • Should I keep my battery plugged in once fully charged?

  • Shut I turn my Mac off while charging?

  • How long does it take for a Mac to charge?

These are all great questions, which I'll answer later in the article in the FAQ section.

Thankfully, there's plenty we can do to maximize the lifespan of our Mac batteries, but first, let's understand the life expectancy of a Mac battery.

Modern Macs have a battery cycle count limit of around 1000 charges. This equates to between three-six years for most users, but this will depend on how you use your device.

Here's how to check your current cycle count:

how to check current cycle count

  1. Press the Option key and go to the main Apple menu.

  2. Click System Information.

  3. In the new window, under the Hardware section, select power.

  4. Locate your Cycle Count under Health Information. 

  5. Here, you will also find your battery condition status.

Now that you know how to check your battery's health and lifespan, let's look at how to charge it correctly to maximize its performance and longevity.

How to charge a MacBook Pro properly 

1. Use official Apple chargers

Using the official Apple MacBook pro charger cable and adapter that came with your device is always recommended. Simply connect your Mac to a power outlet to start charging.

Experts say that only charging your battery to 85-90% instead of the full 100% can significantly improve the lifespan of your battery.

2. Optimize your settings

Many people don't realize that adjusting and tweaking a few settings can help optimize our battery's performance and lifespan. Let's take a closer look.

Battery and Energy

System Preferences - Displays settings

Your device knows when it's connected to a power adapter, and you can tweak settings to dim the screen to save battery drain. Here's how:

  1. Select the Apple menu > System Settings > Displays > Advanced.

  2. Toggle on Slightly dim the display on battery under Battery & Energy.

Adjust your brightness

Use your keyboard brightness function keys to dim your screen brightness to a comfortable and usable level. This will help reduce the need to charge so frequently.

Manage your Wi-Fi

How to manage Wi-Fi

Did you know that Wi-Fi consumes power, even when you're not actively using it? Toggling it off via the Wi-Fi status menu will help conserve battery.

Disconnect peripherals

Disconnecting any connected peripherals that you're not using, like external hard drives and headphones, will also help reduce battery drain.

3. Reduce energy usage

Reducing your energy usage will help increase battery life, meaning you don't need to charge your battery so frequently. Here's how:

System Preferences - Battery

  • Go to the main Apple menu > System Settings > Battery.
  • Under Low Power Mode, from the drop-down, select Always.

Once enabled, this feature automatically reduces screen brightness, communicates with applications to reduce energy usage, and minimizes background activity, helping cut down your battery consumption.

4. Monitor your battery health

Knowing how to charge a MacBook is one thing, but it's also important to regularly monitor the health of your battery.

You can keep an eye on your overall battery's health, but you can fix issues and prevent your battery from dying at the most inconvenient time. 

I like to use the easy-access Menu app from CleanMyMac X to monitor my battery status. Once you've installed this Apple notarized application, there's no fussing around in your System Settings — everything is readily displayed in one place. Let's take a closer look.


  1. If you haven't already, download the free version here.

  2. Select the application icon from your top menu bar.

  3. Under Battery, get a quick snapshot of your remaining charge and any notifications of battery-draining applications. 

If you're not too keen on using third-party tools, you could also opt for displaying your battery status in your top menu bar. Here's how:

Control Center

  • Select the main Apple menu > System Settings > Control Center. 
  • Under the Battery section, toggle on Show in Menu Bar and Show Percentage.

5. Avoid temperature extremes 

Avoid exposing your Mac to extreme heat or cold. Temperature extremes can permanently damage your battery, causing it not to charge correctly or fail.

Macs work best at ambient temperatures — Apple recommends between 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C).

6. Keep your Mac updated

Staying current and on top of macOS updates will ensure you get the most from your battery. Here's how to check:

System Preferences - Software Update

  1. From the main Apple menu, go to System Settings > General > Software Update. 

  2. Follow the on-screen steps to install any available updates.

Thanks to these tips, you confidently know how to get the most from your battery. Let's finish up by looking at some FAQs.

Mac battery FAQs

Which charging port on a MacBook Pro should I use?

You can use the following ports to charge your MacBook Pro:

  • MagSafe 3 port

  • Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports on 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pros

  • Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports on 13-inch MacBook Pros

Can I use My Mac while it's charging?

The simple answer is yes! 

Should I let my battery drain completely?

It's recommended to let your battery discharge down to around 30%. One of the biggest known killers of Lithium-ion batteries — the kind in our Macs — is frequent full discharge.

Should I keep my battery plugged in once fully charged?

You can't overcharge your Mac battery, so don't worry if you forget to unplug it after it's fully charged.

Should I turn my Mac off while charging?

You can, but you really don't need to, and it's certainly not suggested or advised by Apple. 

How long does it take for a Mac to charge?

This totally depends on your device and power adapter — here's a valuable help article from Apple for you to learn more.
Now you know how to charge MacBook Pro the smart way.

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