Service Recommended is not a message that anyone likes to see on anything they own or use, especially your MacBook. Since most newer MacBooks don’t have replaceable batteries, it can be even more worrisome when you see this as your battery status.
If you’re seeing a battery status of Battery Service Recommended, it usually means that your battery is getting near its end of life due to normal everyday usage. It doesn’t mean you can’t continue using it but you may need to charge it more frequently.
My name is Eric and as an engineer and long-time computer user, I have a good understanding of how batteries like those in your MacBook behave after using them over a period of time. I can help you to understand what it means when you see the Battery Service Recommended status.
Keep reading below if you would like to learn more about the Battery Service Recommended status, what it means, what you should do about it, and some things you can do to verify that the status is legitimate.
- What Does “Service Recommended” Mean for MacBook Battery
- What You Should Do
- How to Determine if Battery Service is Needed?
What Does “Service Recommended” Mean for MacBook Battery
If your battery status is showing Battery Service Recommended it’s not the end of the world. What it usually means is that your battery has had quite a bit of usage and it is beginning to have trouble charging or holding a charge.
This is similar to any other rechargeable battery you may have in other devices. Rechargeable batteries only last so long and the more they have been charged and used, the less effective they are.
This does not mean that you can’t continue using your MacBook. It is perfectly safe to continue using it. It just means that your battery is not going to last as long and eventually it may not charge at all. Even if this is so, you can still use your MacBook while plugged into the charger.
Macs measure the battery life in cycles and you can check how many cycles your battery has on it. Most Mac batteries will indicate that they need service once they go above 1000 cycles. You can check your battery’s number of cycles by using the following steps.
Step 1: Open System Settings
Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
Step 2: Select General and then About
Click on the General link on the left side panel of System Settings and then click on About in the main window.
Step 3: Select System Report
Scroll to the bottom of the About screen and click on the System Report button.
Step 4: Select Power and Look for Cycle Count
In the System Report, select Power on the left side under Hardware. Look for the Cycle Count in the main part of the window on the right side.
If your cycles are a great deal less than 1000 or your Mac is less than 1 year old, it’s possible that you have a defective battery and in that case, you may be able to get it replaced for free. We’ll discuss this in a little more detail in the next section.
You can also take a look at the Maximum Capacity to see how much your battery can still hold. If the percentage is very low, it may be another sign that your battery is nearing its end of life.
What You Should Do
You will first want to find out if your battery is indeed failing. There’s a chance that your Mac could be falsely reporting its status and I will cover how to determine that in the next section. If your battery is nearing the end of its life you will have a few different choices of what to do.
1. Check Your Warranty
The first thing you will want to do is check to see if the battery is covered under your warranty. If it is, you can get the battery replaced for free.
If your MacBook is less than 1 year old and its capacity is less than 80% you may have a defective battery and this may be covered by your Mac’s warranty.
The warranty does not cover normal usage or normal wear and tear, so if your battery has just been used up, especially if it is over 1 year old and the Cycle count is getting near 1000 then you will probably not be covered.
2. Battery Service
You might want to consider Apple’s Battery Service especially if you have Apple Care+. If you do have Apple Care+, you can get the battery replaced for free if the battery holds less than 80% of its original capacity.
If you don’t have Apple Care+ you can still use Apple’s battery service to get your battery replaced but it will cost you. Take a look at Apple’s Mac Repair & Service to find out more and get an idea of how much it costs.
3. Continue With Your Current Battery
The Battery Service Recommended status may be concerning to some, but it doesn’t mean that you have to do anything. It just means that your battery is not going to last as long as it once did.
There’s no reason that you can’t continue using your computer. It will not cause any damage to your system. It’s just that you will have to realize that you won’t be able to run on just the battery for long. You may need to plug your system in with the charger whenever possible, especially when you will be using it for long periods.
4. Purchase a New MacBook
This may sound crazy but you might consider purchasing a new MacBook. For many, it can be 3 or 4 years before you see the Battery Service Recommended status. After 4 years or so, your MacBook may begin to slow down and will no longer have the latest technology.
Depending on how you use your computer, what you use it for, and whether or not you can afford it, you might consider just purchasing a new system. This can be a difficult decision but you will need to think about putting more money into a system that will be starting to become old technology.
Is it worth replacing the battery? That’s something that you will need to determine but a new MacBook is an option that you might consider depending on the age of your system.
How to Determine if Battery Service is Needed?
Before you run out and purchase a new MacBook or spend cash on Battery Service, you’ll want to make sure that the status is legitimate. There are a few things you can do to see if your battery is nearing its end of life.
1. Check Cycle Count and Maximum Capacity
The first thing to do is check the Cycle count and the Maximum Capacity. If the Cycle count is nearing or above 1000 then chances are your battery is beginning to fail. Also look at the maximum capacity, if it’s below 80% you will begin to notice it not holding a charge as long.
You can use the method described above to check these, but again it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace your battery or get a new Mac, it just means you’re going to spend more time tethered to a wall outlet, but it won’t affect the operation of your system.
2. Shut Down Your Computer and Reset SMC
Try shutting down your computer and restarting it. Sometimes if you have not rebooted in a while, your system can get kind of glitchy and it may report statuses such as this inaccurately. Make sure you shut down using the Shutdown option on the Apple menu.
Leave your computer shut down for 30 seconds or more to ensure it is shut down. For newer Macs, this will also reset the SMC (System Management Controller), which is what reports your battery and charging status. This can usually fix inaccurate statuses like this.
If you have an older Mac you can reset your SMC using the methods provided by Apple support. In either case, resetting the SMC can help your system with various charging problems and even the status you are seeing reported about your battery.
Recalibrating is something that can also help with accurate reporting of your battery status. It’s not something that will fix your battery or that is easy to do but it can help you to determine if your battery needs to be replaced. Use the following steps to recalibrate your battery.
Step 1: Fully Charge your battery.
Charge your battery so that it is at 100%.
Step 2: Use your MacBook While Plugged in
Continue using your MacBook as you normally would while it is still connected to the charger and your power outlet. Use it for a couple of hours if you can.
Step 3: Unplug your Mac and Run the Battery Down
Unplug your Mac and use it until the battery runs down. Depending on how long your battery lasts, you might need to do this over some time. Once it gets very low, you will see a message about your battery being low and then it will go to sleep without warning.
Once it goes to sleep without warning, turn it off by holding the power button down for a few seconds to ensure it shuts down fully.
Step 4: Wait for about 4 – 6 Hours
Leave your Mac in this powered-off mode for about 4 to 6 hours.
Step 5: Charge your Mac
Plug the computer back into the charger and wait for it to fully charge.
After the steps above, your Mac’s battery should be recalibrated. You can check to see if its status still shows Service Recommended. If it does not, you’re battery may be ok for now and you can continue using it for a while to see if the issues come back up.
Below are a few questions that are often asked when discussing MacBook batteries.
How many years should my Mac’s battery last?
There is no exact time that can be given since it varies by user but if you have a newer M Series Mac, you can expect the battery to last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. In most cases, I would say it would be closer to 5 years but with very heavy use it could be around 3.
How long should my Mac run on a single charge?
This will depend on what type of Mac you have. Those with smaller screens are going to last longer and the larger screens will use up the battery quicker. It can also depend on your usage. Using process-heavy applications will drain the battery quickly.
The age of the battery will also make a big difference. Depending on these factors, a battery in good shape can last anywhere from 16 to 20 hours and sometimes even a little more.
How much does battery service cost?
Depending on the model, it can cost from $130 to $250. Most systems, especially newer MacBooks will be at the $250 mark, but if you have AppleCare+, you can get it replaced for free once the battery is below 80%.
When a MacBook Pro’s battery status is Service Recommended, it most likely means that the battery is beginning to wear out. You don’t necessarily have to replace it, but it may only be able to hold a charge for short periods.
You should try to test your MacBook to see if the battery is failing. If it is, you can continue using your MacBook with the charger plugged in but it will limit your mobility so you might consider getting it replaced with Apple’s Battery Service.
I hope the information above has helped you to understand why your MacBook is indicating that battery service is recommended. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!