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How to Store a MacBook When Not in Use? (Simple Tips to Consider)

Going on vacation and worried about your MacBook not being used for a long time? The most important thing to consider is the battery, as it may die completely if not properly stored. Whenever I need to be away for several weeks, there are some storage steps that I always follow before putting my Mac in the bag.

According to Apple, turn off your MacBook and keep it in a cool, moisture-free environment that’s less than 90° F (32° C) avoid from direct sunlight , if you plan to store your Mac for longer than six months, charge it to 50% every six months.

You can see Apples official guidelines in their battery health article.

In this article, I will teach you the best way to store a MacBook, what happens if you don’t use your Mac for a while and whether you should shut down your Mac when you go on vacation. So read on to find all your answers.

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What Is the Best Way to Store a MacBook?

Apple says that the best way to store a MacBook is to keep it in a completely dry bag or case to prevent any dirt or moisture buildup. Also, don’t fully charge or discharge the battery when storing your Mac long-term. Also, charge the device to 50% every six months if you won’t use it for 6 months or more.

A important thing to remember when storing a MacBook is that the battery still runs through chemical reactions. These chemical reactions can never be stopped, only slowed. Therefore, your MacBook will continue to use its battery slowly even when not in use.

If you store your MacBook with low battery or 0% charge, the battery could fall into a deep discharge state, making it unable to hold a charge, or if you store it fully charged for a long time, the lithium-ion battery could lose some of it’s charging power, shortening it’s life.

If you want to store your MacBook Pro for several months, make sure to put it in its case or bag to keep it dust-free and protected. I keep my Mac in its original box when I don’t use it for about a month to ensure it stays safe from dust and liquid spills. Then I place it on my desk with proper ventilation and away from direct sunlight.

When it comes to storing MacBooks for the long term, two main factors affect your device’s battery health. The first is the battery percentage, and the second factor is the environmental temperature. Therefore, it’s crucial to charge your Mac 50% before shutting it down for long-term storage. Here are some helpful tips for you:

  • Storing a MacBook with a fully discharged battery can lead it to a deep discharge state. It will reduce its capacity to hold a charge and may even kill the battery completely. Ensure there’s at least a 50% battery charge before you store your laptop for a long time.
  • If you store your Mac with a fully charged battery for an extended time, it may shorten the battery life. Always maintain the battery charge near 50%, like 40% or 60%, to keep it in good condition throughout the storage period.
  • Place the MacBook in a room with less than 32 degrees Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Never put your computer where it can be exposed to extreme heat during the day.
  • Power down your Mac before storing it for the long term to prevent further battery use. Don’t forget to charge your MacBook at 50% once every six months if you intend to store it for longer than half a year.

Depending on the number of weeks, months, or even years you store the device, you may find it in a low battery state once you get back and use your laptop. Removing the device from long-term storage will take at least 20 minutes to charge before using it again.

However, it’s good to make a full charge cycle by charging the MacBook to 100%, waiting for two hours, then draining it to 0 percent, and waiting for another 6 hours to charge it back to full capacity. It’s to restore the battery and keep your laptop’s original battery life as much as possible.

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What happens if you don’t use a MacBook for a long time?

The battery will slowly self-discharge when a MacBook is not used for a while. It is important to charge it to 50% storing it for some time. If you keep your device unused for several months with a drained battery, it will self-discharge below 0% and could get into a deep-discharge state ruining the battery.

Leaving your MacBook with a 0% charge for a long time will surely kill the battery. If you need to take a break and leave your laptop unused for a few months, always keep it charged at 50% to 70%. Your Mac has enough battery throughout its self-discharge state during the storage period.

The following are some common issues that you may encounter when keeping your MacBook shut down for months or even years:

  • The main battery dies after long-term storage, which means it doesn’t hold any charge at all. Or, your device may only last a few minutes before it goes black. The best way to resolve this issue is to replace your battery or keep your device plugged in a while in use.
  • The CMOS/PRAM battery or small batteries in the laptop may also die. These small-as-a-coin batteries allow the device to retain time, date, and some boot settings. These batteries eventually die after many years of use and will require replacement. Otherwise, you will have to reset the time and date every time you turn on your device.
  • In some cases, the hard drive fails after a long period of keeping the laptop unused. Data in SSD may also be lost after storing your computer for years. The best way to resolve this is to reinstall your OS.
  • The cooling fan may malfunction after storing your MacBook for a while. It may require a new replacement. Sometimes, it may only need a little warm-up to work again.

When you try to re-open your device after a long time, you may also need to re-verify your Touch ID, iCloud password, and other information to use your computer again. Another thing you may be asked to do is to update your OS depending on whether the hardware needs it or not.

New batteries before the long-term storage will start to lose their capacity to hold a charge and their recharging abilities.

Want to learn more on why letting your MacBook go to 0% charge is terrible for the battery? Discover battery knowledge in my post.

Should I Shut Down My Mac When I Go On Vacation?

Shutting down your Mac when you go on vacation is necessary, especially if you’re going for a long time, this keeps your battery drain down so the lithium-ion battery doesn’t go to a deep-discharge state. If your Mac was suffering problems before you shut it down, it likely will perform better after restarting, as it will perform self-diagnostic checks to clean up any previous issues.

Based on my experience, shutting down my Mac when not in use helps it run faster. So if you’re planning to go on a trip somewhere, make sure to shut down your Mac and keep it in a secure place to avoid any damage.

Another benefit of turning off your Mac when not in use is that it can extend the overall lifespan. But before doing so, make sure that all important files are saved properly to prevent data loss if your computer runs across some technical issues during storage.