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I have a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) with the following specs:

  • 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7
  • 8 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
  • Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1536 MB

My batteries cycle count is 918 and the condition states "Service Battery." It's said this since the cycle count was like 820 ish.

I purchased this MacBook in September 2016 for $1,000 brand new (there was a pricing mistake, and I got it for a grand cheaper). For the first 2 years, I didn't know that the best way to preserve the battery was to keep it plugged in if you can, and I unplugged it each time it got to 100%.

I'm considering replacing the battery, or buying a new MacBook. I'll probably go with the former because this MacBook still runs really well, and my specs are nice, I think. How did you guys decide whether to purchase a new MacBook or replace the battery?

Is it possible for me to install the battery myself? How much do you guys think it'd cost to replace and install the battery if I hired someone to install it for me?

What's the worst that could happen if I keep using the current battery until it's no longer usable? Would it damage the macbook in any way?

  • ifixit.com/Guide/… – Tetsujin Jan 31 at 15:39
  • 1000 cycles is the typical useful life of a Lithium ion battery, such as that in your computer or smartphone. macOS's "service battery" warning appears when the real charge duration of your battery is detected to be significantly less (to my understanding, less than 70%) of the battery's nominal charge duration (the battery life that the battery is rated for) or is approaching 1000 cycles. For example, if your battery initially lasted 4 hours on a full charge, but now only lasts 3 hours, you'll see the "service battery" warning. – Jivan Pal Jan 31 at 15:49
  • You can arrange an Apple Store appointment to have the safety and remaining useful life of your battery diagnosed free of charge, and they will advise you as to whether replacing the battery is recommended. The guide that @Tetsujin linked to is accurate for your model, and while not necessarily difficult to do yourself, it can be tedious and requires specific nuisance screwdrivers and a steady hand. The Apple Store should charge you around £200 for parts and labour if you want them to do it for you, whereas buying the battery elsewhere to do it yourself will be around £100 – Jivan Pal Jan 31 at 15:55
  • "I didn't know that the best way to preserve the battery was to keep it plugged in if you can, and I unplugged it each time it got to 100%." — The "best way" to maintain the life of a Lithium ion battery is to keep it 50% charged and not use it. It's how I use my HP laptop at home, which has a removable battery. Barring that (since that would require physically removing the battery from your MacBook), the best way to maintain charge duration is to keep it roughly between 20% and 80% charged, and only do full 0%→100%→0% cycles every so often to keep it calibrated. – Jivan Pal Jan 31 at 16:05
  • @JivanPal Thanks. Question. Isn't the best way to maintain the battery health to keep your macbook plugged in to a power source at all times, which means maintaining 100%? That way, the cycle count will not increase – anonuser01 Jan 31 at 16:19
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There are a few things going on here:

Best way to look after the battery

Neither the action of unplugging when it reaches 100%, nor the action of keeping it charged all the time are the right way to look after the battery.

There are a lot of best practices detailed on Apple's Battery website.

In summary however as you can now see doing nothing actually would have been better which is why I usually advise people:

  1. Use it however you want.
  2. Avoid leaving it plugged in all the time.
  3. Never leave it for extended periods at or near 0%.
  4. If you don't use it for 30 days, make sure to cycle the battery.

Battery service versus device replacement

I think you've already answered the question yourself here, however in summary:

  • The cost of battery replacement isn't going to be more than the cost of a new laptop, and the laptop was already bought at a significant discount.

  • The performance of the laptop is still more than adequate for the tasks you have so there is no need to upgrade.

  • Ignoring the financial reasons, environmentally replacing a laptop because the battery has failed is not great.

So, replace the battery and revisit this question in another 2-3 years, if you want something a bit more fresh in the mean time, reinstall macOS, set a new wallpaper, or buy a new case.

Should I replace the battery myself?

Replacing the battery yourself is definitely an option, it depends on whether you want to save money, how easy it is to get to an Apple Service Provider, etc...

If you go with battery replacement I would go with a reputable battery supplier like iFixIt as suggested in the comments above.

Personally I'd suggest that if you are already considering replacing the laptop then cost probably isn't the major consideration and maybe getting Apple or an Apple Authorised Service Provider to do it might be preferable for you.

Apple's Battery Service Price List

What if I keep using the battery?

In order of most to least likely:

  • Likely - The laptop won't stay switched on at all when the battery is unplugged.
  • Possible - The battery begins to expand bending the chasis.
  • Unlikely - The battery expansion damages internal components breaking the laptop.
  • Extremely unlikely - The battery is damaged and begins runaway overheating that causes a fire that destorys the computer and risks a house fire, major injury or death(s).

Again I can't understate how unlikely the battery fire is from this but it can and does happen with this type of battery technology.

If you plan to continue using the laptop you should replace the battery, but I'd not worry about it too much, just keep an eye out for battery expansion causing the battery to bend the chasis as that will be an expensive repair.

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  • Thanks. Is it pretty easy to damage the laptop if I attempt to replace the battery myself? I've never done this before, so I'm kind of concerned about attempting to this myself and end up breaking something else. – anonuser01 Feb 1 at 17:41
  • In this particular model the battery is relatively accessible as I recall from looking at the take apart guide, however it is still stuck to the metal top case housing. You must be very careful not to bend too much or puncture the battery. – unknowndomain Feb 1 at 23:56

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