I have a used little MacBook Pro 13 inch Late 2008 5,1 and I was told it needed a battery. It charges, then it doesn't, and it shuts off at the most random times, so the thought occurred to me to take the battery out and run it straight from AC power.

It worked without a problem for a bit, then it just shut down. It would not come back on until I plugged the battery in to it.

Do I need to keep a battery in my MacBook Pro in order to run it off A/C power?

  • The only MacBook Pro that Apple marketed as 2008 are 15 and 17" - see support.apple.com/specs/#macbookpro and page back to that era. Could you edit this to link to the specifications of your Mac? You can also use the serial number at this page - support.apple.com/en-us/HT201608
    – bmike
    Mar 29, 2015 at 10:28
  • Hi matt - welcome to SE Ask Different. The more (correct) information that you include in your question, the more likely someone can provide an answer. Please read the tour page. Mar 29, 2015 at 15:16

4 Answers 4


For some operations certain models require more power than the Power Supply alone can deliver at a given time. For this incident it relies on additional power from the battery. It is to be assumed that that is your machines issue. You'll probably need to get that battery replaced. The price is usually between 120-150 at an Apple Certified Repair Center in Austria.

*My information is based on statements from AppleCare and their internal chat service for Certified Technicians.


According to Everymac's MacBook Pro listing, there is no such thing1 as a MacBook Pro 13" Late 2008 5,1. The earliest 13" MacBook Pro was a June [Mid] 2009 5,5. The smallest Late 2008 5,1 model was only 15". To clear things up:

  • Maybe you mean MacBook and not MacBook Pro?
  • Is it a Unibody model, or Pre-Unibody?
  • Is it really a 13" or 15"?
  • Is your battery integrated? That is to say, can you easily remove the battery without opening the case up using a screwdriver?

Please clarify your question, and specify the correct MacBook [Pro] model. If you could provide a link to the model on the Everymac site, that would be useful. The more accurate the information you provide, the more accurate the answer. As Kevin Grabher implies in his answer, each model is different, and behaves differently.

Regardless, I have been running a 17" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro Mid/Late 2007, Santa Rosa model, 3,1 which for all intents and purposes as the same as an early 2008 4,1 (power wise) without a battery for two years, without an issue.

1 If the Everymac site is wrong, and you do indeed have a 13"" MacBook Pro 5,1 then I apologise.


I'm not sure about Macbook Pro 13 inch Late 2008 but today I unplug the battery from my MacBook Pro 15 inch late 2013 and it still works. I see the performance is a significant decrease. Laggy and slow response.

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My experience with my MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) is consistent with what Kevin Grabher posted: that the power adapter is not sufficient all the time.

The power adapter that came with it, however, is much better than the one I used before the battery ceased to charge. The one left over from an old MacBook would allow it begin booting before it would crash, every single time. If you can find an adapter with a higher wattage rating than the one you're currently using, it might be good enough. But I can't guarantee anything. Since power adapters are also pretty expensive, I think you're better off getting a new battery. But if you can borrow a high-watt adapter to try it out, it's worth giving it a shot (and please let us know if it worked).

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