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I'm considering buying a Geniuine Apple Macbook Pro (2007) battery on ebay. This is NOT an OEM knockoff, and the battery is still sealed in original plastic, but I have no idea when the battery was manufactured.

If the battery was made, say 5 years ago, is it likely to perform almost as well as one that was recently manufacurerd?

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Well batteries age. A battery that is 5 years old won't be as performant as a brand new one (assuming they use the same technology) –  Matthieu Riegler Jan 23 '13 at 23:49
    
Just to clarify, by "original plastic", does that mean "retail packaging" or are you referring to the battery casing itself? –  bassplayer7 Jan 24 '13 at 2:46
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The short answer would be no. A 5 y.o. battery won't last as long as a new(er) one. However, depending on if the original owner followed Apple's care instructions, and it doesn't have a high cycle count, it may not be much lower.

A lot of it depends on the care the battery was given. If the battery has just been sitting in a box this whole time, it's performance may be lower. Batteries need their "juices" (electrons) flowing in order for them to stay healthy.

On the other hand you have cycle count. A battery only can handle so many cycles before it wears out. Simply put, the higher the cycle count, the lower the performance.

Apple recommends storing a battery at 50% for extended periods of time. If it's fully charged or discharged when stored, this will again affect battery life.

Here is a comprehensive guide to Apple notebook batteries.

Of course, all this doesn't count any engineering changes that may have been made for the better in newer batteries.

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The answer is it depends. One factor is how many charge cycles have already been used. Under Apple -> About This Mac, click the More Info button. There is a way to get a system hardware report, which includes battery information. 1,000 is the general rule of thumb for maximum cycle count.

My MacBook Pro that I bought in October has 25 cycles on its battery.

The question is whether you can find this out before you buy it.

Can't delete my answer since I'm new here, but I missed a very important piece of information. Anything else I might say in terms of what to expect from an older battery would be mostly speculation.

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the OP stated that it's still in the original sealed package, thus no cycles. –  TomG Jan 24 '13 at 2:01
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