How Long Does a MacBook Pro Last (The Truth) | 2020
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How long does a Macbook Pro last? If you’re like most, then you’re probably in search for the average lifespan of a Macbook Pro. Most want to know how long a MacBook Pro will last before the need to upgrade to a new laptop.
So, how long does a MacBook pro last?
According to experts, a well-cared for MacBook Pro should last 7 years on average. However, many get rid of their MacBook Pro after 5 years for a new one. How long a MacBook pro really lasts before you need to upgrade is a completely different answer and depends on if you’re heavy laptop user or not
How so? You’ll have to take into account how many years until the MacBook Pro just “can’t keep up” anymore.
This includes keeping up with software updates, ram, storage, overall errors, frequency of freezing, and not being able to update to the latest operating system.
The tasks that will be possible with a MacBook Pro several years from now may not be possible with the ones created today. This goes for any laptop brand as technology is advancing so quickly. While it’s true Apple does an outstanding job with macOS updates, there are always going to be some hiccups.
Compare: See how long a Macbook Air lasts
Make no mistake, the MacBook Pro is extremely strong and stable over time, especially when compared to every other laptop brand I’ve owned. (and let me tell you, I’ve had a lot of laptops).
Let’s dive into how long a MacBook pro will last… as well as how casual, moderate, heavy & gaming usage affects its expected lifespan.
Table of Contents
How long will a well-cared for MacBook Pro last?
- There’s how long your peers will say your MacBook Pro should last.
- There’s the length that Apple experts will say your MacBook Pro should last…
- Then there’s the truth on how long a MacBook Pro lasts (the truth).
The truth is your Macbook Pro will last a few years less than what Apple fanatics will claim.
I’ve found a MacBook Pro will last 7 years on average… a few years less than what experts claim. This is a longer life expectancy than all the Windows-based laptops I’ve owned had.
I had to replace my battery well before the 7-9 year mark and also endured a minor error and a slight dip in performance overall by the 6th year.
Surprisingly, obstacles like these from an aged Mac actually aren’t too bad of a journey for a laptop.
Is the MacBook Air worth buying for heavy users?
How you use a mac will determine how long it lasts before an upgrade is due. So how long do apple computers last?
A MacBook Pro should last 7 years on average. Even though Macs may appear to survive the duration experts claim, it doesn’t mean that the Mac is actually usable.
The Macbook Pro life expectancy depends on your personal needs and what you use your Mac for.
How long will my MacBook last with heavy use
Your Macbook pro will survive roughly 5-7 years with heavy use. If you purchased the optional upgrades to RAM and Graphics card it could last longer.
Heavy users are commonly considered as those who use their laptops for gaming, video, editing, animation, or similar CPU-intensive tasks.
Heavy users are those who consider a laptop to be their “workhorse”.
Why won’t most laptops last as long as you’d hope with heavy use?
The reason why CPU-intensive tasks wear down a laptop’s life expectancy is more due to the fact that technology advances so quickly, and your battery, RAM, graphics card, software updates (and more), just can’t keep up.
As a heavy laptop user myself, I’ve done a lot of research… I personally bought this Macbook Pro 16 inch (Amazon). It feels like it hasn’t aged at all yet.
I expect this laptop to last me quite a while and is my overall top pick for those on the fence of a Macbook Pro.
I also have a Asus Zenbook and the competition isn’t even close, the Macbook Pro wins by a landslide overall.
How long should my MacBookPro last with moderate use
Your Macbook pro should typically last between 5-7 years with moderate use.
Moderate usage can be considered as:
- Browsing the web for work or school daily.
- Handling google sheets, CRM, writing papers, etc.
- Low to moderate usage of their Macbook for gaming, animation, or CPU-intensive tasks.
How long does a Macbook Pro last with light use
With light use such as browsing the web or basic tasks, you could get away with 7-9 years as many experts claim.
- We define Light use as using your Macbook for 3 or so days out of the week for less than 2.5 hours per session.
Light use typically means you’re main focus is browsing the web and not gaming, video editing, or downloading a plethora of apps. This length pertains to those who use absolutely no CPU-intensive tasks on their Macbook, such as gaming or video focused activities.
When will I need to replace my MacBook Pro?
Determining when to replace your Mac depends on if you only use your Mac for light use such as browsing the web. In most cases, replacing a MacBook Pro that is 5+ years old is likely necessary if you use it for work, gaming, video software etc. and you see it is slowing down to the point you’re annoyed everyday.
There are of course other reasons to replace your Mac which I’ll be explaining in further detail below.
Your Macbook no longer supports the latest MacOS
A Macbook Pro without an updated OS could be highly vulnerable to viruses, malware and may have issues running certain software.
Certain software apps may end up not work properly as well and will need to catch up with the new OS system.
A Macbook Pro that’s 7 years or older may not be able to upgrade to the latest operating system. For example, Macbook pros made before mid-2012 are unable to upgrade to the 2019 Catalina update. (source)
This is super important since many frameworks depend on the latest update. Including, but not limited to third party software and apple-related apps such as iTunes and apple offers.
Apps on Macbook Pro start to run slow.
After a number of years, your Macbook Pro just won’t run the way it used to.
I saw performance issues begin at the 6 year mark with my previous Macbook pro. Basic functions ran quite slower than expected… even with a reformat.
Sidenote: What MacBook did I choose?
When I saw how much the new Macbooks have improved I simply had to upgrade.
As mentioned, I purchased the Macbook Pro 16 inch from Amazon and I could not be happier. Doing so, made a world of a difference.
For those who want something light and compact the Macbook Pro 13 inch is a reliable and strong alternative you absolutely can not go wrong with. Serious gamers will be better off with the 16 inch, 1TB option, or a 13 inch with memory and storage upgrades.
You can’t upgrade it any further
Any Macbook Pro or Air model with a retina display or touch bar can not upgrade the RAM or the graphics card. Many of these models have the RAM, processor, and flash memory soldered to its motherboard… making it extremely difficult to replace for anyone that isn’t an Apple genius.
You can’t upgrade the Ram
So, unless you’re a computer technician, upgrading the RAM or Graphics card will require an external graphics processor such as the Razer Core X Chroma (amazon).
This works quite nicely if you really need to upgrade your device and buying the latest Mac is not an option. It gives the lightweight Macbook Pro the performance of an extremely strong desktop; capable of gaming, video processing, animation heavy work, and more. (source)
If you know you’re going to be gaming or video editing, simply get the upgrade when you first purchase the Macbook. Most I’ve spoken to have never had a problem since Macbooks are already pretty strong.
Here are all the Macbook Pros with non-upgradable Ram.
MacBook Pro laptops with non upgradable RAM (working memory)
|iMac Pro: All|
|Mac Mini: 2014 and 2018|
|MacBook Pro with Retina display or Touch Bar: all models|
|MacBook Air: All models|
|12″ MacBook: All models|
The batteries are difficult to replace on the model
After about 4-5 years I definitely needed a battery replacement.
I noticed Apple is now making the battery on the Macbook Pro become much more difficult for third-party repairmen to replace. Not only has Apple made it a complex process to access these parts, but removal for replacements require custom tools and new adhesive.
If you need a Macbook Pro battery replaced in the future, then you’ll likely be forced to go to an official Apple service provider and not the guy down the street who does it for much less.
Your MacBook Pro starts to look old
The Macbook, like any laptop, will also tend to aesthetically appear old after 4-5 years. Even if it’s well-cared for. It’s going gets scratched up in one way or another over time (just like everything else in life).
This includes keys not working and the occasional touchpad or minor screen crack. Some may not want to spend money replacing these parts and will opt to replace the entire Macbook itself, which may be warranted anyway 6+ years in.
It doesn’t sync to your other devices anymore
An outdated Macbook pro could also mean a lack of synchronicity between all your devices (such as iPhone, Apple TV, Macbook Pro, Apple Watch etc.). Why is this is a big deal? Well, one of the biggest pros to mac is that it can sync seamlessly with nearly all your other Apple devices.
While there’s no real way to predict the future of this… I’ve seen the sync between all my Apple products to last 5 years minimum. This is much longer than I’ve personally seen with other brands who’ve attempted brand-wide device syncing.
Should I upgrade my MacBook Pro?
You should consider upgrading your MacBook Pro if there are performance issues beyond just the battery draining quickly.
Many want to believe that a MacBook from 2010 should last until 2020 for the price they pay. However, with technology advancing… this is far from even realistic. Naturally, new technology needs to be supported by laptops and this is not always solved by a quick software update, but by a hardware upgrade.
The new MacBooks being released have capabilities we couldn’t even imagine existed 10 years ago.
How often did you see someone with a 2010 laptop (of any brand) in the year 2020? Chances are not at all… Apple is not to blame, technology is advancing so quickly that 10 years is usually far too long for any laptop replacement requiring moderate use.
Let’s say for argument sake that your Macbook lasts you 10 years, the new models that Mac will come out with in 5 years time will absolutely blow your mind… making anybody even remotely interested in technology feeling the need to upgrade.
The gap of technology between the 2010 MacBook Pro 2020 is massive. In the eyes of many mac users; the ideal time to upgrade from a 2010 Macbook was 2015 or 2016. It’s extremely common for moderate users of any laptop to want to upgrade in 5-6 year intervals.
When asking the question “how long will my MacBook last“, be sure to keep in mind how exactly you personally plan to use it. Are you looking at cpu-intensive tasks like photo editing, animation, adobe suite or gaming? If so, you may be looking at an upgrade 5 years in.
How long should a MacBook pro battery last?
The entire first year, my MacBook Pro battery lasted a few hours short of what Apple had advertised its battery length to be per charge, which was 11 hours. (This is actually pretty good)
Why does the battery charge last less than advertised?
Well, for one, most laptops boast an extensive battery life that their devices can’t live up to. Apple products are actually a bit more accurate than others I’ve experienced.
One reason the charge is a few hours shorter than it claims is because Apple is advertising a battery life based on a Macbook Pro that is likely using Safari browser (probably with no other apps present).
Since Safari was created by Apple it naturally uses much less resources than Chrome on a Macbook Pro.
I found that the google chrome browser will drain your MacBook Pro battery considerably faster than Safari will. I personally use Safari unless I need a chrome extension as Mac as greatly improved the quality of the Safari web browser over the past few years.
How long does a Macbook Pro battery charge really last?
When I first bought my Macbook Pro, the battery lasted roughly 8 hours with Safari and a plethora of apps running.
After 3-4 years it lasted 3-5 hours per charge, roughly half the battery life it first had the first year. This is why so many upgrade their battery at the 4-5 year mark.
After 5+ years, those who moderately use their Macbook may have some trouble holding a long charge; thus requiring the power cord to be plugged in the majority of the time using it.
MacBook battery life vs other laptops
In general, the benefits tech products advertise to us are oftentimes just remarks they can get away with marketing-wise.
I bought an Asus Zenbook at the same time as my Mac… The Macbook Pro battery held up significantly longer. I reached 1 year in and the Zenbook battery could barely hold a 30 minutes charge… whereas the Mac battery was still at a 6-8 hour charge.
…and this was a Zenbook that advertised an 11-hour battery life! It didn’t last 3 hours out of the box since I didn’t use ‘low power mode’ 100% of the time. Overall, my Macbook battery held up significantly longer.
What about repairing my mac to make it last longer?
As mentioned earlier, most Macs make it difficult to upgrade RAM and parts later on. Mac is also making their products harder to repair for third parties. Mac has even decided to transfer from intel processors to their own “Apple Silicon”, which enables iPhone-like technologies such as the Face ID feature.
Should you replace your battery or just upgrade to a new Macbook Pro?
At the 5-7 year mark, expect to upgrade your battery or your entire Macbook. If you’re a light user and only 4-5 years in then you can absolutely get away with grabbing a new battery, which could last you the full 7-9 years.
If you’re on a budget, a replacement battery will make your Mac last much longer… especially if there is no pattern of issues emerging issues occurring presently on your device.
It may be difficult to repair a Mac past the 5-year mark
It may not even be possible to repair certain parts of a Mac that is over 5 years old… at least not without finding the parts from an old Macbook on Ebay and salvaging the faulty part yourself.
It’s known that Apple oftentimes does not have these parts readily available for repair. This means it may be up to you to salvage the broken part on your own and try to get an Apple service provider to assist you in replacing it.
On Macbooks 5 years or older you could run into the obstacle where even apple care won’t be able to help. Mostly because certain vintage parts aren’t always covered… or even available.
According to Apple support a vintage battery repair cost could run you even more than the batteries for new Macbook replacements.
The longer you have your Macbook pro, the chances of a hard to salvage Macbook piece breaking on you likely rises.
The chances of breaking hardware on a Macbook pro that is difficult to repair only increase as your Macbook ages; making repairs more costly, and a replacement laptop more attractive.
Overall, a MacBook Pro should last you 7 years on average. This is bit less long than what experts and Apple fanatics claim (7-9 years). It’s important to note that how long a MacBook Pro should last depends on what you actually use your Mac for.
If you’re a super casual Macbook Pro user that needs internet and the occasional program or two here and there, then the 7-9 years may actually hold true.
However, if you’re actively using photoshop, gaming, or rendering animation, then you’re likely looking at roughly 4-6 years of hassle-free use…
Moderate use on a Macbook will last you 5-7 years. This means working, school, and minimal amounts of gaming or video software (this includes photoshop).
Think of an old Macbook Pro like you would your favorite old rusty bike: while it still gets you from point A to B, you’re still passing all those new shiny ones being released. Meanwhile yours is making noise (but just barely meeting your requirements).
At some point we will all have to accept everything we purchase will be outdated at a certain point. At least, with a Macbook Pro, you know you have the reliability of a credible, customer-focused brand: Apple.
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