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I've had my Mac for over 3 years and I've been good about checking the battery's condition, which was always Normal, but all of a sudden the dreaded Service Battery suddenly showed up.

This was not unexpected, I use my MacBook like a desktop. My Mac is never really moved and is always fully charged (I do take out the cable when it reaches 100% but I put it back in at about 10%). My cycle count is 781 which is only about 3/4 of the battery's life, and I use it hours every day.

My question is, how long can I go with this Service Battery. I do not want to damage my computer but as I'm always right next to the power cord, battery capacity is not a problem.

The help says:

You can continue to use your battery before it’s checked without harming your computer.

So when will it damage my computer if at all?

  • What kind of Mac? – Addison Crump Jan 22 '16 at 7:47
  • Also, what does a more accurate battery health checker say your battery life percentage is? (iStat or Battery Health Checker) It could be that it's just approaching the 75% of original life span, which you don't have to necessarily do anything about. – Addison Crump Jan 22 '16 at 8:01
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I replaced mine (MBP 2009) as soon as possible in the knowledge that Apple only stock replacement batteries for 5 years (source: Apple Genius told me). Mine was 4 years, 11 Months...

Aside from the 'service battery' warning I was seeing wildly fluctuating capacity and a tendency to power down hard at ~20% - so aside from the physical risk you may also risk data loss & file system corruption.

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Unless there is a problem with the battery itself you can likely use your Mac (laptop, I presume) indefinately. I have seen that done at a number of places with Macs and PCs used as a "spare" computer.

I will usually remove the battery from the laptop (if possible) to avoid the battery causing any damage to the computer, but depending on the Mac that may not be an easy thing to do, or even possible to do without damaging the Mac or exposing you to the contents of the battery which can be quite toxic.

That said if it is not possible or easy to remove the battery, I have seen laptops go for years with a dead battery in them with no problems. Only you can decide if you want to go under the assumption that your battery will not cause any damage to the computer from chemical leaks, electronic malfunction or mechanical (EG swelling) failure. Your odds are fairly good, that is, if you are the gambling type.

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