3 Ways to Fix the Service Battery Warning on Mac

Service Battery Warning Featured

Your MacBook has many moving parts, and none more dynamic than your battery. Of course, its condition relies on a lot of factors, and it takes a lot of stress. As such, a Service Battery warning on your MacBook is a cause for concern.

In this post, we show you how to fix the Service Battery warning on your Mac. First, though, let’s discuss the different conditions that will be reported for your battery.

Your Mac’s Battery Conditions Explained

Before we get onto the fixes, let’s outline three battery conditions that indicate the need for a fix. The quickest way to find out how your battery fares is by selecting it on the Toolbar.

A Service Recommended warning for a Mac battery.

Look for the following warnings:

  • Normal – This means your battery has no indicative issues and functions as standard.
  • Replace Soon or Service Recommended – This indicates that the battery is working but showing signs of age and wear.
  • Replace Now or Service Battery – At this point, your battery is on its last legs and needs to be serviced or replaced.

There are a few possible ways to fix the Service Battery warning on Mac. Though, before opening your toolbox, it’s worth carrying out another vital check.

How to Check the Battery Cycle Count on Your MacBook

The batteries found in almost all laptops have a “cycle count.” In other words, this is a finite number of times the battery can drop from 100 percent to zero. Every time you plug the charger in and connect it to the Mac, the cycle count increases.

It’s important to note the cycle limit for your computer ahead of any additional reading:

  • Most MacBook, MacBook Air and Pros made after 2009-2010 have a maximum cycle count of 1000. Older Macs are rated between 300-500 cycles.

As you’d expect, you can start to expect a Service Battery warning the closer you are to your maximum cycle count. The good news is that you can keep track of your cycle count within macOS.

There are two ways to do this:

  • Click the Apple menu logo in your Toolbar, hold the Option key, then select the “System Information” menu item.
  • Open Spotlight and search for “System Information.”

Once it’s open, scroll to the Hardware section in the menu tree on then left, then open the Power screen.

The System Information screen.

This will show you all the relevant information for your battery. If you take a look at the Health Information section, you’ll notice your cycle count.

The Health Information screen.

If your cycle count here exceeds the number listed on Apple’s support page, this will explain the Service Battery warning. If the screen above says “Normal,” you don’t need to worry. You also don’t need to worry about the “Replace Soon message,” as it’s only an indicator to start thinking about replacing it. In some cases, though, you’ll see a “Replace Now or Service Battery” warning, although your cycle count will be low. Next, we take a look at a few methods to resolve the warning.

3 Ways to Fix the Service Battery Warning on Mac

There are many causes of a failing battery – but only a few concrete fixes. Let’s take a look at three of them.

1. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

You can try resetting the SMC if your MacBook comes with a non-removable battery. Macs from around 2009 onward will fall under this category, and if your battery is failing on a machine this old, you’ll likely want to buy a new MacBook anyway.

Here are the steps to reset the SMC.

  1. Shut down your MacBook.
  2. Connect the power adapter from your computer to a power outlet.
  3. Hold the Shift + Control + Option + Power buttons, then release them.
  4. Power up the MacBook, then check the battery status menu to see if the “Service Battery” warning has disappeared.
  5. Resetting the SMC often does the trick. Even so, you may need to take other steps to fix the Service Battery warning on your Mac.

Note: resetting the SMC can also help fix Wi-Fi problems and dropped connections on your Mac.

2. Recalibrate the Battery

This method could take you a while, but it’s worth it to fix the Service Battery warning on your Mac.

In fact, Apple also suggests this to help take care of your battery, though the frequency does depend on how often the computer is used.

Here are the step you’ll need to follow:

  1. Charge your battery to 100 percent.
  2. Once it’s charged, use the MacBook/Pro/Air for about two hours while the charger is still plugged in and turned on.
  3. At this point, unplug the charger and use the Mac until it runs out of battery power. You’ll see a low battery warning on the “Battery Status” menu. The Mac will sleep without warning, and when this happens, turn it off.
  4. Wait for at least five hours, then charge the Mac up to full.

This should calibrate your battery. Even so, you may not have much luck here either. There’s one more solution to try, but it may not be the one you wanted.

3. Go to an Authorized Apple Service Provider

If you haven’t been able to fix the Service Battery warning on your Mac, and the solutions we’ve provided haven’t helped, the fix is to take it for repair.

There can be many reasons for the warning to appear, such as a faulty battery, issues with the devices you charge through the Mac, and many more.

If simple fixes aren’t working, a Genius Bar technician can often diagnose the cause. Though, be mindful that in many cases the warning is there for a reason. It could be that you do need a new battery. These can run to a sizable three-figure sum, so factor this into your future plans if you take your Mac in to be fixed.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to charge my MacBook battery to 100% every time?

No, and this is important to know, as it can extend the overall life of your battery. In fact, you should routinely unplug your laptop and let it go below 50% to ensure maximum shelf life. Every time it drops below 50%,. it counts as a cycle and that’s okay, the goal is to extend the life and not necessarily worry about cycle counts.

2. Can I install a new MacBook laptop battery myself?

Many people will look at the cost of a new MacBook battery – which can hover around $100 – and think they can save by installing on their own. With Apple, not only are you paying the cost of the battery, but also labor, which is where the price jumps. iFixit offers instructions on how to replace the battery on your own, but you should have some familiarity with these processes before jumping in for the first time.

3. What happens if I ignore the service battery warnings?

The bottom line is you shouldn’t. That said, ignoring the battery service warning could lead to hardware damage on your computer. It could represent a dangerous hazard in the event the battery bloats and affects the aluminum build of the laptop. Fires, while small, are still possible and shouldn’t be easily written off if you know you have a battery that is in need of replacement.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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