How to fix MacBook not holding charge issue
Depending on how intensively you use your MacBook and whether the one you own is Intel-based or a newer Apple silicon machine, the average life of its battery after a full charge should be 10 to 17 hours. However, users have been reporting a rather quicker loss of power on their MacBooks for no apparent reason, making them turn to forums asking “why is my MacBook dying so fast?”
Battery issues can equally ruin a productive work day and a perfect movie night, so let’s get right into the “why” and “how” of the MacBook Pro battery problem.
Reasons why my Mac battery drains so fast?
Battery life isn’t always consistent and depends on variations in temperature, usage, and settings. MacBook Pro battery problems are rarely due to bugs, especially if you have the latest software installed.
Apple’s battery life estimates are based on reduced brightness and light internet load, so if you’ve got the screen at 100% and are downloading gigabytes in an area with poor WiFi, your MacBook will understandably run out of battery faster. In all other cases, it’s fair to wonder “why is my MacBook battery draining so fast?”
Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Overuse. By you, apps, or both. If your workflow includes a great deal of multitasking, don’t be surprised by your MacBook Pro battery draining fast, because the more apps you have open, the more power is used to keep them operational.
- Wrong settings. Some of MacBook’s default settings could very well be unnecessarily consuming disproportionate amounts of the battery’s charge. Some of those basic settings include Bluetooth, screen brightness, keyboard lights, and Energy Saver preferences.
- Old or damaged battery. The battery could have simply reached the end of its lifespan or could’ve been accidentally damaged, and that’s why your MacBook not holding charge anymore. In this case, the best solution would be to replace the battery.
How to fix MacBook battery drain
Now that you can roughly determine where your MacBook Pro battery problem lies, read on for the most effective methods to fix it.
1. Check your battery health
Battery care is often an underrated concept by laptop users, but most of the time is the main reason behind MacBook not holding charge as well as it should. So the first thing to do if you’re wondering “why is my MacBook dying so fast?” is to check the battery’s life cycle.
Battery cycles are a number of charge-discharge phases the MacBook battery can take in its life. According to Apple, a MacBook battery is good for about 1,000 cycles, after that it’s considered worn out.
To check the health of your Mac’s battery, follow these steps:
- Go to the Apple menu
- Click About this Mac ➙ More Info ➙ System Report…
- Scroll down for Power specifications
Here you’ll find information about the cycles of your battery and its condition. If the condition is stated as “fair” or “normal,” you’re good to go.
It’s a challenge to constantly be on the lookout for a dying battery on all your devices, let alone monitoring the batteries’ health, so sometimes, the best solution is to delegate that work to a reliable utility, like Batteries.
Batteries is a unique app letting you easily track all devices’ battery levels from a single widget. Conveniently monitor the battery life of all your Apple devices, including AirPods, from Today View on your Mac and the app will send you a notification when it’s time to recharge.
For the ability to check your MacBook and other devices’ battery levels in a single click:
- Connect your device
- Open Finder and enable “Show this device when on Wi-Fi”
- Use the same WiFi network as your computer
2. Reset battery preferences
Some high-power settings on your laptop may be the answer to “why is my Mac losing battery so fast?” To avoid this unnecessary power loss, you just have to tweak or reset a few preferences. Here’s how:
- Go to System Settings
- Click Battery
- Switch Low Power Mode to Always or Only on Battery
And if you’re always hoping you could squeeze a little more battery life out of your MacBook — you’ve got to try Endurance.
Endurance is an app designed to make your MacBook battery run longer, while improving its overall health. With just a few simple energy-saving moves like slowing down your Turbo Boost, dimming your screen, and hiding background apps, it extends battery life by up to 20%!
Ready to use right after installation, Endurance will begin extending your MacBook battery life automatically so you can get more done between recharges. Set Endurance to start once your battery level crosses a specific threshold and tweak its settings to get the results you want without any interruptions to your workflow.
3. Check background apps
Behind the scenes, most MacBooks can run dozens of apps without you realizing it. Some of these could be running because you forgot about them, others simply open during the startup sequence. In any case, background apps are one of the things that can quickly drain all MacBook battery charge.
To check which apps are using the most power without your knowledge, follow these steps:
- Go to Applications
- Click Utilities ➙ Activity Monitor
- Check which apps are taking up most CPU and GPU and close them
If this sounds too time-consuming, try a smart CPU manager, like App Tamer.
App Tamer is a menu bar app that gives you metrics on CPU usage in a clear, color-coordinated graph and offers practical actions you can take to control the apps using too much power. Avoid CPU-hogging and maximize battery life by letting App Tamer automatically stop apps left idle in the background, and bring them back to full force when they’re back in use.
Here’s how to manage your apps and save battery with App Tamer:
- Open App Tamer from your Mac’s menu bar
- Browse the current processes taking up your CPU
- Check and adjust stopped and slowed down apps
4. Manage power adapter preferences
A small but powerful change you can make to help with the MacBook Pro battery problem lies within the power adapter preferences of your Mac. Here’s how to manage them:
- Go to the Apple manu
- Click System Preferences ➙ Battery
- Click Power Adapter
- Uncheck the box next to “Enable Power Nap while plugged into a power adapter”
- Click Energy Mode and select Automatic or Low Power if High Power is on
Note: High Power mode is available on 16-inch MacBook Pros with an M1 Max chip.
And if you need yet another great utility to keep an eye on the well-being of your MacBook batteries, try AlDente Pro.
AlDente Pro will help you set charging limits and turn on heat protection when necessary, so you can work with your charger connected and not worry about the health of your MacBook’s battery. In case you’ve planned a long working session with no access to a plug you can use the app’s Top Up feature to charge your battery to 100% just once.
What if you accidentally charged your Macbook to a number you don’t like? With AlDente, you won’t even need to unplug. Simply use the Discharge feature to let your device run on battery even when plugged in, until the battery charge falls down to the desired level you set in the app.
To set charging limits for your MacBook using AlDente Pro, simply:
- Open the app
- Move the slider or type your preferred charge limit
5. Reduce screen brightness
Just like the brightest light bulbs consume more energy, if your laptop screen is always at 100%, don’t be surprised about your MacBook Pro battery draining fast. Dimming the screen by a few degrees won’t just benefit the battery life, but is also better for your eyes. Use the F1 key to quickly lower the brightness of your screen, or tap on the sun icon if you have a newer MacBook with Touch Bar.
Another lighting feature that can be the reason for your MacBook not holding charge is keyboard lighting. By default, the MacBook keyboard light is on, but you can turn it off using the F5 key, or disable it on the Touch Bar.
6. Turn off Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a type of technology that enables devices to exchange data wirelessly. If your laptop always has this feature on, it’s constantly searching for paired devices, resulting in MacBook Pro battery draining faster than usual.
It’s a good habit to turn Bluetooth off when you’re not using it. To do so, simply:
- Click the Bluetooth icon in the top left menu bar
- Click Turn Bluetooth Off
7. Replace the battery
In the case none of the methods above were successful and the MacBook Pro battery problem persists, the battery may have simply reached the end of its lifespan or has been damaged and needs to be replaced.
It’s recommended to go through Apple to have your MacBook battery changed, especially if you have a newer model machine, because they have glued-in batteries, making them nearly impossible to repair yourself.
However, if you’re a computer person confident in your abilities and have a MacBook from around the 2008–2009, all the power to you! Buy a replacement battery and follow these steps:
- Power down your MacBook
- Undo the screws holding down the back cover
- Unplug the battery from the motherboard
- Remove the screws holding down the battery and lift the battery out
- Fit new battery and screw it down
- Refit the connector and the back cover
- Test the MacBook
FAQs: Why is my Mac losing battery so fast?
In addition to the MacBook Pro battery problem fixes described above, here are some answers to the most common questions about this issue.
How long should a Mac battery last?
It depends what you use your Mac for but, nevertheless, you should get between 10 to 17 hours of battery life after a single charge.
Why is my Mac not holding its charge?
There can be a few possible reasons like overuse, wrong battery settings, adapter malfunctions, or simply an old battery.
How many cycles is a Mac battery good for?
Apple considers a MacBook battery worn out after 1,000 cycles. That limit is usually reached after about 5 years of use.
Battery issues are the best at producing uncertainty every time you interact with your Mac. To avoid that, detect exactly why your MacBook Pro battery draining fast and solve the issue early on using one of the methods described above. But since one of the most common reasons for MacBook not holding charge is usually poor battery health, it’s best to look after it early on using smart apps like Batteries and AlDente Pro. And if you just need to extend available power for as much as possible, try Endurance, or reduce CPU usage with App Tamer.
Best of all, these apps — Batteries, AlDente Pro, Endurance, and App Tamer are available to you right away at no cost! How? Through a free seven-day trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 240 outstanding macOS and iOS apps for every use case out there. Try every Setapp app today and watch your device’s performance skyrocket!