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OS X assesses my battery as "normal" under System Information > Power.

I understand that at some point this is going to change to some kind of "we recommend you replace the battery" message.

I am wondering if I can see this coming.

Coconut battery reports that 'current capacity' / 'design capacity' is 96%.

coconut screen shows 96%

Is this number the way that OS X itself determines whether the battery is still "normal"? If yes, what is the threshold at which the battery will be deemed abnormal?

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Yes, you are going about this the right way to determine your battery's remaining capacity and life.

When a battery reaches over 1000 charge cycles, it is considered "consumed", aka it's lived out the expected life cycle and any degradation in capacity is totally expected. This is never covered by warranty. A consumed battery may still hold some charge, and in some cases a lot of charge, though that is rare.

A battery would be deemed "failed" and OS X would report it if it holds less than 80% of its factory full charge capacity. If this would happen within the first year, then it would be covered by warranty. This is the way OS X and diagnostics determine the health of the battery when the complaint/concern is poor battery life.

The battery Can also unexpectedly fail if the thermal sensor in the battery goes bad. But this is something that's impossible to preventively pick up with software.

  • I'm convinced you're right, though it would be nice if you could indicate how you know that the number is 80%. – Calaf Jun 2 '16 at 14:10
  • @Calaf experience from a former life... I should have mentioned though that the 80% figure is kind of arbitrary and meaningful for warranty reasons and as a line in the sand for gauging how fast your battery is deteriorating. Really though, even if you're at 70% FCC by the numbers but still happy with the battery life then you don't have a problem. – Vitalydotn Jun 2 '16 at 14:14

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