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My girlfriend's battery won't last 1 second, so it obviously needs replaced.

But I just bought a new battery from Apple a few months ago and it seems to discharge extremely quickly. Are there any apps out there that would help me diagnose if I just need to buy another new one?

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10 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

On my MacBook, if I opt-click on the battery in my menu bar, it gives me current the condition of my battery.

apple battery menubar

You can also use iStat to show the current state of your battery.

istat

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+1 for iStat. Best Gadget I know –  Stephane Aug 24 '10 at 21:24
    
Another +1 for iStat. Crucial app on any Mac. –  Scottie Aug 25 '10 at 7:52
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They are several solutions :

You can also use the built-in tool System Profiler to check your battery :

battery

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I can suggest some easy hint to inform you about your health of your battery: go to utilities > System Profiler select Hardware > Power > Battery Information

The third section is Health Information, actually here you can find that whats the condition of your battery right now. As in following screen shot Cycle count is 469, which means battery has been discharged and recharged 213 times. And its current Condition is Fair.

alt text

and you install Battery Health Monitor to get more information about you batter.

alt text

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Cycle count is 469, which means battery has been discharged and recharged 213 times how does the math behind this work? –  matt b Aug 27 '10 at 3:56
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While it's possible it's a bad battery - what programs are running on the computer? If you use Activity Monitor is CPU usage consistently "high" (say >50% in this case)?

Programs such as coconutBattery can give you the stats on your battery - telling you how much of a charge your battery still holds and how many load cycles have been done on your battery. If your current Battery capacity is under 25% it may very well be a good time to get a new battery. Under 10% for sure. If the new battery is less than 50% battery capacity in less than 6 months give AppleCare a call, they do have a warranty on their batteries but it's relatively limited.

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Coconut Battery will provide you the vitals on your batteries capacity, as well as how much that capacity has deteriorated since purchase. In general though, the Battery is pretty unlikely to be the actual problem. Check your power settings, particularly if you have a Pro machine with dual graphics cards.

In addition, I've noticed substantial improvements in the accuracy of the on-screen 'remaining power' estimates on brand new macs by 'calibrating' the battery as Apple recommends - essentially, charge the laptop to full, then use it until the battery is completely empty, then charge it up to full once more.

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There are obviously a lot of factors to consider (machine specs, what apps your running, etc.), but if you want a sanity check from someone who had a similar experience:

I replaced a basically dead battery in a same-era MacBook, and the new battery never lasted longer than two hours (although the battery indicator often claimed it would go for 3ish), and generally went down after closer to one if I was using wifi, processor-intensive apps, etc.

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When you say "extremely quickly," how long are you talking about? One hour? 90 minutes? 30 minutes?

My early-2008 MBP with the original battery will still squeeze in two downloaded episodes of a 1-hr TV show without commercials (so think about 90 minutes of full-screen video) before the battery goes flat. iStat is still reporting the battery health at around 80%.

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Battery Health Monitor has a nice clean UI; but it seems to have been last updated years ago. The documentation says it is "a handy utility for PowerBook and iBook users." Not encouraging given that I have a MacBook Pro, and the first of those were introduced in 2006. It does seem to produce sensible output that agrees with System Profiler, however.

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I believe the rated life of the old 2007 MacBook batteries is 4-5 hours of use. Though actual time will be different depending on your usage (heavy WIFI usage, watching videos, etc. will drain your battery quicker). If you're getting significantly less than that off a brand new battery, it is probably defective.

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I have a late 2007 MBP, and have had bad luck with battery life. Fortunately for me, Apple has been kind enough to replace them.

If your battery is less than a year old, and iStat says the health is abnormally low (70% is the guideline I've seen), try taking it to the Genius bar; they may replace it under warranty.

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