to commonly asked questions.


Time to replace the battery?

Hope you are well and were able to have some downtime over the holidays.
I have an early 2014 Macbook Air that is starting to give me some concern. Wanted your opinion about replacing. 8GB RAM / 500 GB SSD.
It has recently shut down unexpectedly. I believe this is only happening on battery power, but it may have occurred once while plugged in. The last time was this week. Definitely on battery power and was at ~20%. I was working and it died about 5 min later - battery fully dead. It has been operating normally since then, but I'm wondering if I have the early warnings of a system (or battery) about to reach the end of its life. 


2014 Computer= 8 years of battery life. Every battery has a limited number of charge cycles. (How many times a computer's battery can be FULLY depleted and recharged.)
. Their number is around 1000 but I feel it to be much lower than that before the battery starts holding less and less charge. The sign of a failing battery is just as you described. One moment the battery will state it has 80% then a couple minutes later down to 3% then dead. That is very common behavior to a dying battery.

Apple states that they will replace your battery out of warranty for somewhere around $150 depending on the computer model but keep in mind, the battery you'd be getting has been sitting in their inventory for around 6 years at best. Third party batteries are not a safe alternative. I don't trust battery replacements outside Apple as this are often cheaper and possible fire hazards. I've seen several after market batteries go up in flames. So I don't recommend that either.

With all this considered, I would push toward replacing the machine in the near future. If you'd like to see the current cycle count as well as the condition of the battery go to "About this Mac' under the apple in the top left corner of the screen. Next, select "system report". On the left column you'll see "power". That will tell you the current condition and cycle count.

All this being said, we are talking about an 8 year old battery. Think of it like a car battery. An 8 year old car battery might start the car today but it's going to soon leave you stranded on the side of the road. Rechargeable batteries are just disposable parts.

More Battery info here:
Mac Repair - Official Apple Support

My battery is bad.

Fix my battery issue - laptop won’t charge

I have a very strong feeling that your battery is bad. It’s rare that software issues can be the cause of a battery that will not charge. There are, of course a few things we could try but it’s very doubtful they would work. To get a better idea of the health of your internal laptop battery, go to the Black Apple in the top left corner of the screen, choose “About this Mac” then select “System report” on the window that pops up.

Next select "Power from the left column:

Screen Shot 2020-11-11 at 5.44.10 PM

After selecting Power, on the right you'll see a new listing in the details called "cycle count". There will be a number next to it. (Note: the screenshot above does not include cycle count as it was taken from a desktop computer that does not have a battery). That number tells us how many times the battery has been completely depleted in it's lifetime. My general rule of thumb is under 450, the battery has some life left. Over 450 it's time to start thinking of other options like replacing the battery. I do not do battery replacements. That is best handled by the Apple Store.

You will also see an area in the right column around "cycle count" called "condition". That is another good indicator as to the health of the battery. If you have a second, check that area out and report back to me the number prior to our session. If it is over 450 then there's not much reason for us to meet. It would be the end of the road for that battery.

battery replacement during COVID

I need to get these batteries replaced in these 2 MacBooks, any recommendations on how to do that?

Apple store would be the way to go on battery replacement in my opinion. Since the apple store is closed or limited service, you’d maybe have to mail them in via their AppleCare line. Not pleasant.

My is my laptop just cutting off randomly?

The laptop you took a couple weeks ago and wiped clean is acting up. It keeps on randomly turning off in the middle of zoom calls and now it won’t even turn on even though its full charged. I can set up a session with you but I think you may need to take the laptop with you unless you think otherwise.

Sounds to be a hardware, or specifically, a battery issue. To check the batterie's health, you can go to the Black Apple in the top left corner of the screen, choose "about this Mac" then select "system report". That will generate a report that has some very useful information. Select "power" from the left column then look at "cycle count". In the example below, you can see that the cycle count for this laptop is 445. This means the rechargeable battery has been fully depleted and then recharged fully 445 times in its lifetime. My magic number for a normal batterie's life expectancy is 450. That means that after around 450 full charge cycles, your battery will start depleting faster. Not holding as much charge, etc… You'll then see that "condition" start to say "replace soon".

So let's check that number first. More battery info available from apple here. I do not do battery replacements. I am software support only. If the computer is less than 7 years old, there is a possibility that Apple may do the replacement for you however.

Battery not holding a charge

Scott, the battery you put in the computer I gave to Ruth is not taking a charge. Seems to stay at 2% even when charged for a longer period of time. Is there something that I could do to fix things?

Let’s try this first: with the computer plugged in to the charger and the computer turned off: hold down the Shift+Option+Command+power button all at the same time. You should see the small light on the charger change colors. Green to Orange or Orange to Red. Then restart the computer.

Next shut the computer down and when you restart hold down the Command+Option+P+R all at the same time and continue to hold them down during start up. Ou will hear the computer chime. Continue to hold those keys down through 3 chimes then release. The computer will then restart completely.

Lastly, you’d want to make sure you are using the correct charger on the computer. Depending on the computer, some MacBooks charge via 45 watts, 65 watts, etc…. If the charger was underpowered it may not allow the battery to charge. So if the power adapter is the original it should be fine but if has been swapped at some point then that could also be the issue.

If neither of those solutions solve the issue for you, I would be happy to replace the battery at no cost. Keep in mind if we swap the battery and the problem persists, that would be strong evidence that the power adapter was the issue.

My Phone battery is loosing it's charge fast

Suddenly my Apple phone runs out of juice 4 times more quickly than 3 days ago . What should I do !

Either the software has an issue making the phone think that the battery is dying or the battery is actually dying. More on batteries in a moment but first…

Here are a few things to do before wiping the phone and starting all over as a last effort:

1. Reset all settings. In settings go to General, scroll all the way to the bottom and select to reset. DO NOT erase all content and settings. First try just "erase all settings". While there you can also choose to reset network settings separately after a restart as well. This will make the phone forget what networks it knows so you'll have to rejoin your home wifi at some point.

2. Shut the phone off and restart completely.

3. Kill all apps, turn location services off, turn bluetooth and wifi off. Then continue to use the phone for a day or so to see if either of those could be at fault.

Things that kill battery the fastest are:

Screen Brightness
Location services (including Maps)

Limiting any of those will help preserve battery life.

Now for the dirty little secret of the battery industry: ALL rechargeable batteries, whether Energizer, Asus, Apple, Duracell, Dell, HP, Tesla or anyone else all rely on chemical reaction to hold a charge. As a battery ages that chemical reaction weakens. The more times a current is run through those chemicals inside a battery, the weaker the ability to hold a charge becomes. My estimate is around 450 full 100% charge cycles is around the useful life of a rechargeable battery. You phone has some battery information that can help. In Settings/Battery you'll find what your maximum capacity is. Over time this will go down. This is not a master plan by Apple to get you to buy a new phone. This is a limit to current battery technology. After about 1.5 years a batteries ability to recharge will begin to deplete.

If you've tried all these things and the phone is still not holding charge then the next step to take would be to wipe the phone completely and restore it from your backup. If even that doesn't do it, then it's time to consider the battery has failed.

Where can I buy a new battery?


A couple of weeks ago you helped me transfer some data from an old computer to a new desktop.  On the old computer the attached file was an address list in a spreadsheet format.  When i now try to open it, it is unreadable.

Any thoughts as to what i can do to get this is a readable format?

Thanks very much,



Hi Wendy,

1st: If you are still using Appleworks, stop! 2nd: If you are just trying to open an old file then you might want to start by looking at this software:
Panergy Software - Products - icExcel / icXL- Screenshots

It's not supported in Snow Leopard so you may be prompted to install Rosetta but your Mac will handle all that automatically.

Update: I've been trying a few things to open this file on my end but we've moved so far passed Appleworks that at this point, it may almost be too late.  I do have one or two clients who are still using Appleworks and could send out a plea for help.  I found some help here Panergy Software - Products -- Mac viewers and converters for Office documents but the files came out almost unreadable on several attempts.  

Note: if anyone reading this is still using Appleworks, or has it installed, please let me know. I may ask you to convert a file for me.

Macbook pro battery is dying

Just wanted to try to figure how to get the mini disc out of the macbook pro.


This is not good news. Sorry for the delay in responding. As you may now know, you can't use a mini disc in Apple drives. If you don't have luck with the usual methods, I or Apple may have to disassemble the drive to get the disc out.

1. Try booting the computer holding the mouse button or trackpad button down.
2. Try command + E

Is my battery charging?

have you run into this problem....

I have a kid film maker who makes movies for me for real estate.  He loads them up to his web site and I have always been able to right click them and hit Save As Source and save them to my computer... then I upload them to youtube, etc.
Here is an example

Now on my Safari, I can not get the little down arrow, or the right click to work at all.

I loaded a new copy of Quicktime 7, and quick time player... and nothing.
I finally got it to open in Explorer and had to buy a new Quicktime 7 pro for that... and finally I think got it to download... but I really want to do it in Safari so it's on the Mac and not on the Parrellels.  
Have you heard of any reason why this wouldn't work on Safari anymore? 
I also tried it on Foxfire and don't get the little down arrow either????    
It is making me nuts.  

There are a couple of things to consider.

1st, be sure the entire movie has downloaded before right-clicking to save as source.
2nd, if you have upgraded to snow leopard, quicktime 7 is not loaded by default and the new Quicktime X has not been met with open arms.
3rd, the creator may inadvertently be selecting a "no save" option when creating the movie. It used to be called KIOSK MODE. Your video editor would probably know what I'm talking about.
4th, we are in a bit of a transition period in that quicktime X has most of the "pro" features now built in and the need for Pro 7 is going away. Or at least Apple would like it to.

I was not able to download the movie from the link as well which really seems to suggest to me that the 3rd item may be more likely.

By the way, the video is great. Very well done. The file size is huge as you know. He could encode it in a smaller file size without compromising quality if youtube is the ending destination.


Previous versions of Quicktime did in fact give the ability to enable kiosk mode as seen here:

This image is a theme.plist hack