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

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    echosonicechosonic Posts: 452member
    now it will not only tell us when the charge is low but also when the battery is actually going to die permanently?
  • Reply 2 of 34
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    All my lap top batteries die in 2 hrs or less.

    Do i need a chart to know this . ?
  • Reply 3 of 34
    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.



  • Reply 4 of 34
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    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
  • Reply 6 of 34
    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!
  • Reply 7 of 34
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    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.

  • Reply 10 of 34
    spinnerlysspinnerlys Posts: 218member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    daniel84daniel84 Posts: 113member
    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.



  • Reply 12 of 34
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    ksecksec Posts: 1,566member
    I am wondering, How long will my battery last if i keep it constantly plug in the wall?
  • Reply 16 of 34
    taurontauron Posts: 911member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    icfireballicfireball Posts: 2,594member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    taurontauron Posts: 911member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,790member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,790member
    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.
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