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Snow Leopard gives heads-up for near-death MacBook batteries

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
While the immediate charge on a Mac notebook's battery has been available for years, Mac OS X Snow Leopard now tells owners when their batteries are nearing the end of their useful lifespans.

Those familiar with the WWDC build of the operating system upgrade note that clicking the battery icon in the menu bar now shows a new, one-word "battery condition" summary in addition to the energy for the current charge and the power source.

When the battery has been used often enough that it 's losing capacity, the icon is overlaid with an exclamation mark warning and the battery condition changes to "poor" -- both signs that the pack is due to be replaced. While not every condition is known, Snow Leopard presumably reports varying degrees of battery status when the pack has only been moderately used or is like new.

The addition partly replaces third-party utilities that sometimes provide a more detailed estimate. Apple hasn't documented the reasons behind the change, but the most logical explanation is simply that the company's decision to seal in most notebook batteries makes it more important to have an early notice that a battery is near failing. A replacement of the sort is easy for technicians but, without the option of swapping batteries in the field, not trivial for end users.



Apple has lately been paying closer attention to battery life on all its devices and with iPhone OS 3.0 will add a numerical percentage to the iPhone's previously icon-only battery indicator.
post #2 of 35
now it will not only tell us when the charge is low but also when the battery is actually going to die permanently?
post #3 of 35
All my lap top batteries die in 2 hrs or less.
Do i need a chart to know this . ?
whats in a name ? 
beatles
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whats in a name ? 
beatles
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post #4 of 35
This is already in Leopard/Tiger, it's just somewhat hidden within System Profiler. Looks like the only change here is they made it a little more accessible for technophobes.

post #5 of 35
Yep. Mine says "check battery". I've got about 56% health after 182 cycles in 2 years. I'm quite skeptical on battery longevity since Apple states batteries are supposed to get down to 70% after 300 cycles (my battery clearly missed the mark).

It makes the wonder if the heat from gaming or not draining the battery once a month for calibration accelerates the deterioration. All companies have a tendency to work in "ideals" when the reality is FAR from the truth.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Yep. Mine says "check battery". I've got about 56% health after 182 cycles in 2 years. I'm quite skeptical on battery longevity since Apple states batteries are supposed to get down to 70% after 300 cycles (my battery clearly missed the mark).

It makes the wonder if the heat from gaming or not draining the battery once a month for calibration accelerates the deterioration. All companies have a tendency to work in "ideals" when the reality is FAR from the truth.

Maybe you should calibrate your battery to ensure that your gauge's accuracy and battery health are are good as possible:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1490
post #7 of 35
I finally just got Snow Leopard running with an external drive, and the "Check Battery" status was the first thing I noticed. I clicked on the drop down menu and clicked on the status and a window popped up instructing me to take my computer to an Apple store to have the battery checked.

Luckily System Profiler in Leopard said to check battery, so that's what I told the Genius

He checked my firmware, and ran a test and confirmed that the battery was "Bad" which is the only time it's covered with the Applecare Protection Plan.

My battery was at 25% health after only 189 cycles. I think it was even lower than this because it would only run for 30 minutes on a full charge at light load, with the "Reserve Battery Power" warning displayed at around 30% power remaining.

So just today he swapped out the battery for free!
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has lately been paying closer attention to battery life on all its devices and with iPhone OS 3.0 will add a numerical percentage to the iPhone's previously icon-only battery indicator.


iPhone OS 3.0 will NOT add a battery indicator. As explained on Apple's iPhone page, this feature is for the iPhone 3G S ONLY. Which is pretty lame, as I highly doubt there is any plausible hardware excuse, but it's the case.
post #9 of 35
If Apple actually had some sense, they would give users of iPhones a large indication the phone is "fully" charged. The tiny "plug" symbol on the tiny battery, to indicate "fully charged" is difficult to see with good eyes. Do you here that? Yeah, but Apple doesn't. Sometimes I wonder.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #10 of 35
This makes me (just a little) glad Snow Leopard won't be compatible with my PowerBook G4. I already know my battery is in horrifyingly bad condition, I don't need my OS to make me feel guilty about it.
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Yep. Mine says "check battery". I've got about 56% health after 182 cycles in 2 years. I'm quite skeptical on battery longevity since Apple states batteries are supposed to get down to 70% after 300 cycles (my battery clearly missed the mark).

It makes the wonder if the heat from gaming or not draining the battery once a month for calibration accelerates the deterioration. All companies have a tendency to work in "ideals" when the reality is FAR from the truth.



You know, Apple has a policy, that when you battery has less than 80% of its original health (full capacity) and has been recharged less than 300 times, you can let it be replaced by Apple.

Maybe you could contact Apple and see, if they'll help.
post #12 of 35
My battery is in very bad shape and even states a negative amperage value of -80

I'm assuming that's not normal at all.

post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinnerlys View Post


You know, Apple has a policy, that when you battery has less than 80% of its original health (full capacity) and has been recharged less than 300 times, you can let it be replaced by Apple.

Maybe you could contact Apple and see, if they'll help.

Where did you hear this?

I was told just today that the only time Apple replaces batteries is when they go bad. E.g. lose charge prematurely. 300 cycles would guarantee they wouldn't fix it. And they only do if it's within the 1 year warranty, or 3 year Applecare plan.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel84 View Post

My battery is in very bad shape and even states a negative amperage value of -80

I'm assuming that's not normal at all.


No. That's the load of the battery. This number will be positive (or 0) while plugged in, and negative while on battery power, with an incrementally lower number as the CPU load rises. If it continually stays negative while plugged in, that wouldn't be normal.
post #15 of 35
I hope they aren't taking advantage of that.

HP Laserjets would say "low toner" and we'd be able to shake the toner cartridge and get at least a month more of use. To the gullible they'd replace that toner immediately.

A poor battery that got 2 hours in excellent condition may have gotten 20 minutes (this is from experience with a recent battery that prematurely went bad). Now with 8 hours in top condition a poor battery that may be over an hour. For most people that is fine for around the home or in the office, so delaying replacing the battery is ok since the majority are not taking their laptops on 8 hour jaunts unplugged.

Making the health of the battery more accessible means they are setting it up for the gullible people to replace batteries when they have little or no need to.
post #16 of 35
I am wondering, How long will my battery last if i keep it constantly plug in the wall?

There are only two kind of people in this world.

Those who dont understand Apple and those who misunderstood Apple.

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There are only two kind of people in this world.

Those who dont understand Apple and those who misunderstood Apple.

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post #17 of 35
Interesting... for Windows 7, on the other hand, they should have an indicator that tells you how many weeks you have before your craptastic toshiba laptop dies off.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I am wondering, How long will my battery last if i keep it constantly plug in the wall?

Longer than if you don't...

Batteries are most stressed out when you discharge the completely, especially if you don't recharge it immediately.

It's recommended, however, that you do use your battery occasionally... every couple of weeks to a month should be fine. But basically, battery health is based on charge cycles most rather than time. The more complete charge cycles (fully discharged and fully recharged), the worse your battery's capacity will be.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Longer than if you don't...

Batteries are most stressed out when you discharge the completely, especially if you don't recharge it immediately.

It's recommended, however, that you do use your battery occasionally... every couple of weeks to a month should be fine. But basically, battery health is based on charge cycles most rather than time. The more complete charge cycles (fully discharged and fully recharged), the worse your battery's capacity will be.

Which is not a problem for PCs since with PC laptops the laptop dies before the battery does.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

If Apple actually had some sense, they would give users of iPhones a large indication the phone is "fully" charged. The tiny "plug" symbol on the tiny battery, to indicate "fully charged" is difficult to see with good eyes. Do you here that? Yeah, but Apple doesn't. Sometimes I wonder.

None of my phones have ever had a big battery status indicator. I have my old Treo 700p here on my desk, and the indicator is, if anything, even smaller.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

I hope they aren't taking advantage of that.

HP Laserjets would say "low toner" and we'd be able to shake the toner cartridge and get at least a month more of use. To the gullible they'd replace that toner immediately.

A poor battery that got 2 hours in excellent condition may have gotten 20 minutes (this is from experience with a recent battery that prematurely went bad). Now with 8 hours in top condition a poor battery that may be over an hour. For most people that is fine for around the home or in the office, so delaying replacing the battery is ok since the majority are not taking their laptops on 8 hour jaunts unplugged.

Making the health of the battery more accessible means they are setting it up for the gullible people to replace batteries when they have little or no need to.

I wouldn't use that word.

As we've already seen from Slantsixx, Apple replaced his bad battery for free. That cost Apple, not him.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Yep. Mine says "check battery". I've got about 56% health after 182 cycles in 2 years. I'm quite skeptical on battery longevity since Apple states batteries are supposed to get down to 70% after 300 cycles (my battery clearly missed the mark).

It makes the wonder if the heat from gaming or not draining the battery once a month for calibration accelerates the deterioration. All companies have a tendency to work in "ideals" when the reality is FAR from the truth.

My MacBook Core2Duo is 31 months old with 777 load cycles and is at 94% capacity when fully charged. Some batteries are just bad. I doubt the heat from gaming would be any worse than Folding which I do with mine about 18 hours a day and maxes both CPUs.
post #23 of 35
personally I'd rather not know the status of the battery. It also makes the laptop look old with the "poor" battery condition. I guess they will eventually put on a status showing how old your laptop is - "Ancient -get it replaced"
post #24 of 35
Mac OS X versions seem to have been reporting the battery health conditions (as percentage) for years now. What's this? The user friendly name for 30%?

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #25 of 35
Presumably 10.7 will automatically book an appointment with the Apple Store for replacement and charge your iTS account... ;-)
post #26 of 35
my 5 year old Dell Inspiron does this and it's annoying. the battery light on the laptop flashes orange all the time and there is a warning in the system tray to replace the battery. but it still lasts 60-90 minutes and i don't take it anywhere so i will probably get another few years of life out of it

HP does this with printer toner. they warn you when it's like half full just to get you to buy it
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Mac OS X versions seem to have been reporting the battery health conditions (as percentage) for years now. What's this? The user friendly name for 30%?

Battery health and remaining percent of full charge are two different things.

When your battery is brand new a full charge might last say 3 hours - so 100% charge is 3 hours of use. 50% of remaining full charge is 1.5 hours of use.

As the battery ages and its capacity to hold a charge diminishes a full charge may only last 2 hours - meaning that 100% of full charge is now less than it used to be - and 50% of full charge is now only 1 hour instead of 2 hours.

I had an iBook that was showing 100% full charge but would drop to 50% after about 30 seconds and die after about 30 more second. A fully charged battery with 1 minute of useful capacity is not a healthy battery. That one I was able to get replaced under warranty -I have a MacBook with a similar condition but it is out of warranty and there are no recalls on that serial number.
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Battery health and remaining percent of full charge are two different things.

I know this. But I see repeatedly somewhere (in System Profiler? in OnyX?, I will find out exactly) something like:
Charge: 99%
Health: 85%

Battery health is for sure already displayed by Mac OS X in the form of percentage.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I am wondering, How long will my battery last if i keep it constantly plug in the wall?

You don't want to do this--nearly all laptops (Apple included) constantly trickle charge the battery. Without some periodic discharge, the battery cells burn up from overcharging and your battery dies prematurely.

I haven't been overly impressed with Apple's notebook battery charging circuits or batteries since the PowerBook G4 to the first-gen Macbook. It seems the batteries just don't last as long as they should. My Macbook's 2006-era battery is almost shot after about 157 cycles while the batteries purchased with a Dell Latitude D800 in March 2005 just keep on lasting and still reach their rated operating time. (I have two, but one receives the brunt of use. And until the Macbook's screen got broken, I used both systems equally.)

I was thinking of a new battery for my Macbook, but since the display panel shattered I may just get a newer system and see how Apple's latest advances in battery technology and charging are really working.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Apple has lately been paying closer attention to battery life on all its devices and with iPhone OS 3.0 will add a numerical percentage to the iPhone's previously icon-only battery indicator.

The iPhone needs to support individually configurable power settings for battery and external charger. For example, people should be able to set the iPhone to never lock the screen when it is connected to a charger. Now that TomTom is making a navigation application for the iPhone, people will not want the iPhone to automatically lock while they are driving.
post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

None of my phones have ever had a big battery status indicator. I have my old Treo 700p here on my desk, and the indicator is, if anything, even smaller.

Nokias were always good at this.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

I know this. But I see repeatedly somewhere (in System Profiler? in OnyX?, I will find out exactly) something like:
Charge: 99%
Health: 85%

Battery health is for sure already displayed by Mac OS X in the form of percentage.

This is a different feature though.

With System Profiler, you have to open the app, and then the app needs to look through your machine.

This is making the information more easily available without having to open the app and all that entails.
post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Nokias were always good at this.

I don't think it's all that important. we get the 20% warning, and then the 10% one. If you're not down that far, you're fine. Besides, seeing the 100%, 75%, 50%, 25% bars, and then the warnings should be enough, realistically.

Is it really going to help knowing that your battery is at 48% rather than seeing the 50% bar?

Not really.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

I am wondering, How long will my battery last if i keep it constantly plug in the wall?

Longer than if you don't...

Batteries are most stressed out when you discharge the completely, especially if you don't recharge it immediately.

It's recommended, however, that you do use your battery occasionally... every couple of weeks to a month should be fine. But basically, battery health is based on charge cycles most rather than time. The more complete charge cycles (fully discharged and fully recharged), the worse your battery's capacity will be.

No! Please don't leave your computer plugged in all the time with the battery installed (if you have a removable battery, that is).

Modern batteries last longest at room temperature and about a 40% charge. That's the state you want to store them in. The worst conditions for 'em are a 100% charge and high temperature, which is the state you're keeping your battery in if the computer is plugged in all day. In that case, take the battery out.

icfireball is correct in that deep cycling (full discharge) is also bad for them, so when you have the chance, top your battery off instead of draining it.

Be aware that many MacBook Pros cut performance when running without a battery, so pop it back in before that heavy gaming session.
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

This is a different feature though.
With System Profiler, you have to open the app, and then the app needs to look through your machine.
This is making the information more easily available without having to open the app and all that entails.

Yes, little sweet user-friendly touch.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
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