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Is It Bad To Use A Macbook While Charging? Everything You Need To Know

A MacBook’s battery life is an important part of the machine. When the battery life gets weaker, it makes the user experience less enjoyable.

There is a lot of confusion on keeping your MacBook’s battery happy and healthy. So I’m here to clear up any doubts you might have.

Using a MacBook while charging is good for the battery. After 1000 charge cycles, the MacBook lithium-ion batteries retain 80% of their charging capacity. So while charging, your MacBook battery will reach 80%, then switches to a slower charging putting less strain on the battery than using the MacBook unplugged.

Your MacBook is happy when it’s charging. This reduces the strain on the MacBooks battery cycle count. Unfortunately, it can only go through 1000 complete charge cycles before the battery weakens, only to hold 80% of its original charge.

To know more about why it’s good to use a MacBook while charging and how to keep your MacBooks battery healthy in the long term, please keep reading.

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Why It’s Good To Use Your MacBook While Charging

Most modern electronics, including your MacBook, have lithium-ion batteries. Your MacBook has 1000 complete charger cycles before the battery starts to weaken, only charging 80% of what it could do before.

Please look at Apple’s diagram above. Your MacBook’s battery only reaches one charge cycle when it does 100% of one charge.

It doesn’t necessarily happen in one charge. For example, suppose you used 75% of your battery on Monday. However, if you use 25% on Tuesday, your battery has discharged 100% – one full charge cycle.

Charging your MacBook while using it is good as it keeps your battery closer to 100%. However, say you’re playing a game or doing 4K editing, both are intensive tasks for your MacBook, which drain a lot of battery.

Whenever I edit a video, my battery drains a lot quicker, say it goes from 80% to 60% in 30 minutes. It equals 1/5 of my battery’s capacity, 1/5th of one charge cycle. If I did my editing with a plugged-in MacBook, my battery would have drained, but not nearly as much it might have gone from 80% to 72%, prolonging my MacBook’s battery in the long run.

Sure your MacBook is a laptop, so feel free to use it when it isn’t charging. But, remember, especially if you’re doing intensive tasks like gaming or video editing, your battery will drain a lot and degrade far quicker than if you use it charging.

To make sure your MacBook’s battery lasts a long time, I recommend learning more about how to keep it healthy my post shares a lot of information that I recommend you read.

I won’t leave you hanging on this post; however, here’s some quick information on making your MacBook last a long time.

How to Make Your MacBook Battery Last Longer

Allowing your MacBook get below 20% charge is not good. Yes, it’s okay once in a while, but lithium-ion batteries do not like having low charge in the long run.

That being said, I’d still recommend against leaving your MacBook plugged into its charger 24/7 and never actually draining the battery.

The general rule is to keep your MacBook’s battery between 20% and 80% and only charge it in small bursts, but this isn’t easy to do in practice if your schedule doesn’t allow it.

If you travel to school and need a full charge for the day or work at a desk all day, it won’t make a huge difference not charging between 20%-80%. So keep it plugged in all day at the desk MacOS optimized battery charging will keep it healthy.

If you mainly use your MacBook unplugged for a couple of hours, charge it for 10 to 15 minutes when you have easy access to a charger, like when you leave your house, cook, or have a shower.

I recommend charging your MacBook to 100% overnight. It’s the easiest way to keep the charge between 20%-80% without any effort on your part.

Please don’t get too worked up on keeping it between 20%-80%; however, you will be surprised how little the difference in battery health is between people who keep their MacBook charged 24/7 and those who have OCD with only charging between 20%-80%.

A MacBook is meant to make your life easier you don’t want to spend excesses excess stressing over when you unplug the charger or becoming dressed when you see the battery on 100% for too long.

Likely you will have your MacBook for 3-5 years. It isn’t enough time for your MacBook’s battery to become a problem in 99/100 cases.

If you plan to keep your MacBook longer, it makes sense to pay more attention but luckily, a battery even on a newer MacBook is the cheapest repair you can do, only costing around $150.

Want to know how much a battery replacement will cost depending on your MacBook’s model and if it’s worth it? If so, please read my detailed MacBook battery replacement guide.

Most likely, your MacBooks battery will last 5-10 years before it starts to become a problem but in that time, you might as well buy a new MacBook. Technology is only improved. It’s not like when we had to worry about performance falling off a cliff back in the day.

Want To Keep Your MacBook Battery Heathly?

This article is part of a series on keeping your MacBooks battery in the best condition, want to learn more? See my ultimate guide to MacBook battery health here.