Mac Tutorials

Mac Battery Time Remaining

Finding out the Mac’s remaining time battery can be important if you want to calculate how long and how intensively you can use certain applications on your MacBook before you have to plug in the power cord. The problem is that this estimation can hardly be accurate due to the sharp battery consumption differences caused by various macOS versions and various processes.


Still, there are several tricks that can help you estimate the approximate battery time remaining on your Mac, and save some battery if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot access a power source.

Before we start


Several programs running in the background can negatively impact the battery life of your Mac. To make your computer last for longer, you should look at shutting down non-essential login items. You can easily do this via MacKeeper’s Login Items tool, which helps you to get rid of the startup processes that have no real value to you but consume your battery.


Follow these instructions to use MacKeeper’s Login Items solution:

  1. Download MacKeeper.
  2. Go to Performance > Login Items and select Start Scan.
  3. Wait for your Mac to scan for login items. Once that has occurred, tick the processes you want to stop from running when you start up your computer.

Rest assured: Deleting login items via MacKeeper won’t hinder any crucial functions for your Mac. Instead, the software aims to stop your device from spending lots of energy on tools it doesn’t need.

Why you can't see the battery remaining on Mac

Seeing the remaining battery time on your Apple computer is complicated, as not all versions of macOS show the exact remaining battery time and the percentage of charge. Moreover, running different processes on your laptop can lead to faster battery consumption. So, it’s hard to talk about the accuracy of predicting the remaining time.  

How to see the remaining battery time on Mac

How you view macOS battery life remaining depends on whether you use OS X or something else. We’ll cover each of the following today:

Let’s now look at how to identify MacBook battery life and better preserve our computers.

1. Use Energy Saver to see battery time

To check remaining battery time on Mac via Energy Saver, you’ll need to use versions of OS X and macOS before Big Sur (which was released in 2020). If your computer meets those system requirements, do the following:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Energy Saver.
  2. Or, alternatively, tap the battery icon in the toolbar at the top. This will show you a notification of how many hours and minutes you should be able to work in this session without recharging.
In older versions of macOS, you can check the battery time remaining on Mac by clicking on the battery icon. Here, you'll see how long is left before you need to charge your device.

The reason for Apple removing this indicator in the further macOS versions was a discrepancy in its readings. The remaining battery time either increases or decreases depending on how energy-intensive the programs opened and closed are.


Of course, most users don’t bother to track all fluctuations. At the same time, the problem doesn’t lie in the inaccurate estimation of the remaining battery time—it’s just that the charge controller is constantly recalculating the figures, and the data remains correct only in a specific operating mode.


On the other hand, the battery percentage icon in the MacBook menu bar cannot be erroneous or inconsistent with the current figure, as it only reflects how much charge the battery has, and doesn’t predict how long it’ll last.

2. Via Terminal

If you can’t tell how long your battery lasts before it requires charging via the battery icon, try using Terminal instead. Below are the instructions you should follow:

  1. Open Terminal by going to Spotlight and typing “Terminal”.
  2. Type this prompt: pmset -g batt and hit the Enter key.

Terminal will then show you how much battery time you’ve got left. It’ll be in this format: 5:43 (or whatever the hours and minutes are).

Check for battery time remaining on Mac by going to Spotlight and searching for the Terminal app. Here, you can type the required prompt to ensure that you see how much battery life you have.
Step 1. Open Spotlight > Search for Terminal
Once you've opened Terminal, type pmset –g batt and hit the Enter key on your Mac. Then, your device will show you how much battery life you have left in both percentage and minutes.
Step 2. Type pmset –g batt and hit the Enter key

Note from our experts: 


Several factors can impact your battery life and health, and the duration of which you leave your MacBook on might be one of those for some users. To ensure that you’re making the right decisions, consider reading this should you shut down your MacBook every night guide.

3. Using Activity Monitor

For those who use newer versions of macOS and want to get a calculation of the remaining battery time, this option is still provided in the Activity Monitor.


Here’s how to show the time remaining on the Mac battery in macOS Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, or Sonoma:

  1. Open the Activity Monitor by pressing Space + Command (⌘), then enter Activity.
  2. Open Activity Monitor when it appears in your search.
  3. Go to the Energy tab.
  4. This will open a window, at the bottom of which you’ll see the percentage of charge remaining, the estimated remaining time, and the actual battery life since the last charging session.
Open Spotlight by pressing Space + Command and typing Activity Monitor or Activity. The app will be one of the first results, if not the absolute first. When it appears, click on it.
Step 1. Command + Space > Activity Monitor
At the bottom of the Energy tab in Activity Monitor, you'll see a
Step 2. View your remaining battery percentage in “Time remaining”

The percentage of the remaining charge is still the most informative part for the user. We recommend analyzing how your laptop's battery is consumed during your usual mode of operation and estimating how long the charge will last based on these observations. In some cases, you might want to change sleep time on Mac.

4. Use of third-party applications

Besides the built-in services, there are also various third-party applications that allow you to find out the battery time remaining on a Mac and other data related to battery health. Their advantage is that you can get more information about the state of the battery in fewer steps.


CoconutBerry is one app you can use to check your battery life. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Install the CoconutBattery app on your MacBook.
  2. Open it and go to СoconutBattery > Preferences.
  3. Check the Launch at startup box.
  4. Place the application in the general Applications folder for the charge status to be shown in the menu bar. If done correctly, a second battery icon and a charge percentage indicator will appear in the menu bar
  5. Click on the new battery indicator. You’ll see a message with information on how long your laptop can last, the remaining percentage of the charge, how many full charge-discharge cycles your MacBook's battery has already worked, and even the current temperature of the battery.
When you've installed the CoconutBerry app, you'll then see how much battery life you have left. The program will also show you how much time your device has until it's completely empty. Moreover, you'll see a bar with this percentage.

Important: We should warn you that using such applications also has some downsides and risks to it. Firstly, Apple isn’t responsible for the accuracy and reliability of the data shown by such apps (or for their safety). Secondly, many users have noticed that the built-in charge indicator does not always show the same remaining percentage as the application. Finally, these applications run in the background, which means they consume both energy and RAM—and that means you won’t be able to save battery power with their help.

How to show battery percentage in the Mac menu bar

While newer macOS users can’t view their battery time remaining via the battery icon, you can make your percentage visible. Doing so is very easy, too.


Follow these steps to show the battery percentage in your Mac menu bar:

  1. Go to the Apple icon and click on System Settings.
  2. Select Control Center and navigate to Battery.
  3. Toggle Show Percentage on.
To start the process of showing your macOS battery percentage, go to the Apple logo and select System Settings. From here, you can toggle your battery settings however you please.
Step 1. Apple logo > System Settings
When you're in System Settings, navigate to Control Center. You can find this by searching for it or via the left-hand toolbar. Toggle Show Percentage on when you've gotten there.
Step 2. Toggle Show Percentage on

Our expert’s hint: You can also check your battery icon intermittently by clicking on the battery icon. Here, you’ll then see the percentage.

Click on your Mac battery icon to find the percentage of your battery life. After doing this, you can then see your battery percentage at the top of your screen. You can access this whenever you want.

How does battery health affect battery life?

The extent to which the actual ability of the battery to hold a charge differs from that declared by the manufacturer for a particular MacBook model is affected by the battery's health. The general guide is as follows:

  1. While pressing the Option key on the keyboard, click on the battery icon in the menu bar to open the battery status menu.
  2. Now, you’ll see the current state of battery health, which may show one of these options:
    • Normal. This status means that the battery isn’t yet worn out and, in an average session, consumes its charge within the number of hours declared by the manufacturer.
    • Service Recommended. This status indicator appears when the battery is worn out, and its ability to hold a charge has decreased, or if the battery has started to malfunction for some reason.
    • Replace Soon / Replace Now. Early versions of macOS can use different wording for indicating battery wear, depending on a lesser or greater degree of wear.

Our recommendation: 


If Mac battery service is recommended, you can try several things first. These include resetting the SMC and recalibrating your battery.

Remember, several factors can impact Mac battery life and Mac time remaining battery, including each of the following:

Discharge cycles

For most MacBook models, the number of these cycles is about 1,000. It means that the manufacturer guarantees that the laptop can be charged a thousand times to 100% of the battery charge, and then disconnected from the power source and discharged to complete zero. The duration of discharge in one cycle constitutes the above number of hours (from 10 to 13 hours for different models).


This doesn’t necessarily mean that after a MacBook has worked through a thousand cycles, its battery will immediately become unusable. But it’s most likely that the period of discharging from 100% to 0% will be reduced, and will gradually keep decreasing further—up to the complete inability to hold a charge without being connected to a power source.

Clean cycles

Most users hardly ever use their laptops in "clean" cycles—charging from 0% to 100%, disconnecting the power cord, and completely discharging the battery in one continuous session. It’s not uncommon to unplug the power cord before the battery is charged to 100%, or use a fully charged laptop with the power cord plugged in rather than disconnected, or start charging it before the battery dies.


However, no matter which mode is convenient for you, the cycles are still counted—even if you never see a 100% or 0% charge. The more you recharge your MacBook, and the less you use it unplugged, the slower the 1000 cycles go (even though you’re not counting them).


Contrary to an opinion often voiced by concerned users, using MacBooks with the power cord connected after reaching a full charge doesn’t pose a danger to the battery lifespan. This is a common misconception. To avoid "overcharging", each laptop has a built-in controller. As soon as the battery reaches 100% charge, the controller stops the process, lets the laptop discharge by 1-2% (that is, up to 98-99%), and then allows it to recharge. As a result, these microcycles are also counted as parts of a full cycle—each 1% is counted towards the 100%.

Energy consumption

The operating mode of the MacBook also affects both the energy consumption during a particular session and the performance of the battery as a whole. For example, the battery loses charge faster when used at temperatures below freezing.


Your Mac’s ability to hold the declared charge may irreversibly deteriorate if you store your turned-off MacBook at temperatures below -15 degrees Celsius / +5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, high temperatures (exceeding +35 degrees Celsius / +95 degrees Fahrenheit) are also harmful, as they lead to overheating of the processor and the need to spend energy on cooling it. To avoid overheating your Mac, you can place it on a special cooling stand.


Assuming the irregularity of use, the average battery lifespan in a MacBook is 3–4 years. But this is a very approximate indicator that doesn’t appear in the manufacturer's warranties, since it varies greatly depending on the intensity of use, the length of periods without use, and the operating conditions.


If you’re interested in keeping your device in the best possible condition, it’s worth learning how to check battery health on MacBook.

Use our tips for macOS to show the battery time remaining

Although Apple limited options to view your Mac battery time remaining in recent macOS updates, you can still view this metric in multiple ways. Activity Monitor is the easiest option, and you may also have success in using Terminal and third-party apps. It’s also possible to see how much battery time you have left by clicking on your battery icon.


In addition to viewing the battery time remaining on your Mac, you can also keep your Mac’s battery percentage on your screen at all times. If you ever need to improve your battery life, use MacKeeper’s Login Items tool to limit some of your computer’s non-essential programs.


Are battery percentage and time remaining on your Mac the same?

If you encounter this issue, it could have something to do with your battery health being in poor condition or inaccurate. You may also need to remove programs from your device or reset your Mac, as this usually shouldn’t be the case (unless you have a low battery percentage). Try closing programs you don’t need as well.

How long is your Mac battery supposed to last?

The answer depends on the model of your Mac. For example, the MacBook Air can run up to 12 hours while using a wireless connection and up to 13 hours of continuous Apple TV video playback. The 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook can run up to 10 hours, while the 16-inch models can operate without a power source for up to 11 hours.


The battery time remaining on your Mac will depend on your usage, too, so these numbers are just estimates.

How to get your Mac battery 'time remaining' estimate back?

Apple purposefully removed the Battery Time Remaining feature from macOS Sierra after observing discrepancies in its readings, so you won’t find an easy answer to the question of how to bring back “Battery Time Remaining” in macOS Sierra. You can bring the functionality back by using third-party apps like Battery Monitor and Battery Time Indicator.

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