3 Ways to Fix the Service Battery Warning on Mac

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Battery service warnings on your Mac/MacBook can turn up suddenly and unexpectedly, even if your precious laptop has only been out of the box for a few months.

If you check the official Apple support community page, the concerns and complaints are likely related to software updates, a bug, poor battery management and maintenance, strange battery performance, or simply the need to replace the battery itself.

Note: this battery problem could have arisen from several factors and is a case-to-case basis. If the warning isn’t solved after executing the first two DIY solutions, you may have to go down to an authorized Apple service center for a proper checkup.

Before we move forward, let’s look at a rundown of the three battery conditions to detect if you need a service. On the battery status menu you’ll see one of the following:

  • “Normal” – this means your battery functions well and normally
  • “Replace Soon” – the battery is still working but has the potential to lose its ability to charge
  • “Replace Now” or “Service Battery” – needs to be serviced

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We have a few possible fixes for you, but you should do something first.

Each MacBook battery has a certain cycle count which stands for the amount of 100% – 0% uses its battery has before its overall battery life starts diminishing. The more recent a MacBook, the better its battery and the bigger the cycle count. (You can find all the relevant information on Apple’s official support page).

Once you’ve hit your MacBook battery’s official cycle count, it’s normal to start expecting “Service Battery” warnings. Thankfully, you can keep track of your cycle count right there in macOS.

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To do this, hold the Option key, click the Apple menu logo, then click “System Information.” Scroll down to the “Hardware” section in the pane on the left, click “Power,” and you’ll have all the relevant battery information displayed. This includes your cycle count.

If your cycle count here exceeds the number listed on Apple’s support page, that would explain the Service Battery warning. If, however, you think your cycle count is way higher than it should be, read on.

You can try resetting the SMC if your MacBook comes with a non-removable battery (e.g. Mac computers 2009 and up).

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1. To reset the SMC, shut down the computer.

2. Plug in the power adapter or MagSafe to your computer and power outlet.

3. Press Shift + Ctrl + Option keys and the power button simultaneously.

4. Release the three keys plus the power button at the same time.

5. Afterward, press the power button to turn on the computer. Check the battery status menu to see if the “Service Battery” warning disappeared.

Normally, resetting the SMC should do the trick. However, if nothing happens, you may want to try the next suggestion.

This method will take you hours. However, if you really want to get rid of the warning, follow the steps below. Apple also suggests users do this as a way to take care of the battery performance every few months. However, the intervals are dependent on how often the computer is used.

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1. Charge your battery up to 100% and make sure that the MagSafe light ring charging jack shows the green light, which indicates a full charge.

2. Once it is fully charged, continue using the computer while the MagSafe is still plugged in to the power source; do this for two hours. Afterward, unplug the cord and use it until it runs out of battery power, and you’ll see the low battery warning on the battery status menu. The Mac will sleep automatically without any warning. Once it sleeps, simply turn it off.

3. Wait for five hours or more, and then connect the Mac to the power adapter or MagSafe and charge it. This will calibrate your battery.

Note: in the author’s case, the battery status goes back to “Good” (for the mean time), and the Service Battery warning disappeared (screenshot on 717 loadcycles).

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Lastly, if still nothing happens, here’s the ultimate option:

If the Service Battery warning isn’t solved, perhaps your battery needs to be replaced, and it’s time to hand things over to the experts.

Author’s case: The Service Battery warning came out five months after an authorized Apple service provider fixed my battery issue – I had the habit of charging my devices via USB and plugging them into the MacBook, which had caused an irregular flow of the power, draining the battery faster. When I recalibrated my computer, the warning disappeared. However, after a few weeks it showed up again, and as of this writing my computer has the warning. Perhaps recalibrating the battery again will help.

Let us know if you experience the Service Battery warning, and feel free to chime in with your thoughts and suggestions.

This article was first published in May 2015 and was updated in May 2018.

23 comments

  1. Only 432 charges on my mbp, and have had the message for 1.5+ years. Also I only can hold 74% of my batteries original capacity.

  2. Reseting SMC did the job for me also (service battery message). Will see hot long it will last. Just an observation…I was developing apps for iPhone and had iPhone connected on usb so I was also charging iPhone. I read somewhere that this causes bigger battery drain (doh lol) and that system thinks that battery is kaput. So it is false-positive. Lets hope that this was the case in this situation.

  3. I did the SMC Twice, and still the Service Battery message is there, i hope the second option does the trick.
    the Message only appeared after i installed Google Drive and the battery notified that it consumes a considerable amount..

    i have a mid-2011 macbook air, and its a real bummer if i would resort to the 3rd option since the nearest mac center is 600km.,

    and is it okay to use my Mac even though it shows the service battery message?

    Thanks in adv.

  4. On the second option you say ‘unplug the cord and use it until it runs out of battery power, and you’ll see the low battery warning on the battery status menu. The Mac will sleep automatically without any warning. Once it sleeps, simply turn it off.’

    How are you meant to turn it off once the computer has put itself to sleep because the battery is dead?

  5. Loads of misinformation here. You really don’t need a third party app to check the cycle count [were these guys paid to shamelessly plug that app?]. You can just go into About This Mac > System Information > Power > and check the cycle count there. Also not every Mac has a cycle count of 1000, depending on model and year yours may be as low as 300.

    • I doubt they were paid since the app is free. I use CoconutBattery even though I know how to get to the cycle count since it’s more informative than System Report, specifically it reports the design capacity of the battery, giving me a good idea whether I should replace the battery or not.

  6. I have a MacBook Air less than 3 years old when I saw the “service battery” warning. Option 2, recalibrating the battery, worked for me but I had to do the entire process twice and my laptop has been good so far. Thanks.

  7. Hi,
    I made SMC reset witout any positive resault. Step 2 I finished on sleep state. After 5 hour I connect power, after 4 hours I powered up my Mac. Now battery is loaded 100%, has 71% designed capacity, Service Battery state.

    Could be reason I didn’t powerde off after computer goes to sleep?
    Is any chance to return it back to Good stste? Should I make calibration again, or buy new battery?

    I have MacBookAir4,2 Intel Core i5, 1.7 GHz

  8. I did SMC reset and after all done I went to start my computer it has a half screen showing and I can’t sign in. It got past the Apple but now won’t let me sign in because it looks like there are two screens open. What to do?

  9. I did the Calibration routine, and after the machine went to sleep I was unsure if I actually shut it down. I held the power button for some ten seconds or so. In any event the recalibration had no effect on the service warning alert. Perhaps I should shut it down before it completely runs out of power, say 2%?

  10. Found this article very helpful! I have a MacBook Air mid-2012 model, battery health has been hovering in the 80s for more than a year, but just in the last week has dropped to 77%. Just noticed the “service battery” warning today, but there’s no telling how long it’s actually been there, since I use a third-party app to track my battery stats. I calibrate regularly so I was worried about the warning, but resetting the SMC as this article recommends did the trick and “service battery” is gone.

  11. Getting a new charger did it for me! I had been using a frayed 60W magsafe 2 charger (they’re junk). I started getting the “service batter” message and never put two into together.

    Yesterday, the exposed wire on my old charger finally shocked me, so I went and paid $80 for a new one (ripoff considering they last like 2 years).

    I just fully charged with my new magsafe and the message is gone.

  12. hey david, don’t know if you’ve solved the problem since, but the same thing happened to me, that last part of the instructions is a little misleading.
    Essentially, you just have to shut down the computer again once more.
    I followed the steps exactly, and when my computer turned back on it still had the warning. but thats because when you let the battery die like that, it doesn’t actually shut down, just goes into a low-power mode to preserve the memory.
    so just follow the steps exactly, and when your computer boots back up (should still have the warning), just shut down from the apple menu, and everything should be good when you turn it back on, no warning!

    hope this helps,
    cheers

  13. “Service Battery” Notice with only 304 cycles, from February 2017 – June 2018 (no touch bar). The new battery is not as good by any stretch of the imagination when compared with my 2012 MacBook. Of course the warranty is over, and no word from Apple.

  14. hi there,

    I tried 2x “Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)” without success.

    “Recalibrate the Battery” did the trick for me, though!

    Many thanks for this helpful guide!

  15. Bless you!

    And thank you, my macbook pro from 2014, started showing service battery out of blue and the cycle count was only 326 and I tried SMC reset and it still did not work. I tried the second option of draining and recalibrating the battery, it still did not work. I even switched off, after it slept by itself. And waited for 6 hours, before plugging and rebooting.
    Then I again shut down the macbook and again reset the SMC and now the “service battery” is gone, for now, for sure :)
    I don’t know if it is fixed for good. But the apple service advisor also suggested to go to repair and with 2 deadlines approaching and no other way to work on computer, it would not have been possible.

    Thank you once again, I find angels, when I need them :), I may not see them, may not know them, they come to help me.

    Thank you.
    Regards,
    SB

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