Calibration vs Conditioning

A Brief History of Calibration

The definitive Apple support article for notebook battery calibration has always been Knowledgebase Article 1490. Note that the last modified date of that article is August 4th, 2011. It changed in July 2011 as well, but the August 4th edit just re-arranged some of the new content that arrived in July. Prior to July 2011, the article did not contain the section titled “Portables with built-in batteries” and the sentence, “Current Apple portable computer batteries are pre-calibrated and do not require the calibration procedure outlined in this article”.

The development of FruitJuice started quite a while before that article changed. One of the primary features of FrutiJuice is that it automates, as much as possible, the error-prone calibration procedure outlined in that article. FruitJuice still makes calibration easy to accomplish.

How do I know if Knowledgebase Article 1490 applies to me?

A quick glance at the FruitJuice menu bar will answer your question. The main menu of FruitJuice changes based on the type of Apple notebook machine you own. The menu will contain “Calibration” for machines that have user-swappable batteries and “Conditioning” for machines with built-in batteries.

Welcome to Conditioning

Even though Apple says in article 1490 that “calibration” is not necessary for machines with built-in batteries, they DO say that you still need to use the machine on the battery for optimal performance and longest lifespan. For these machines, FruitJuice implements a procedure that we call “Conditioning”. This is essentially the same as the “classic” calibration procedure, but it shortens the 2 hour pre-charge rest and 5 hour rest periods. The same notification messages that are sent for a “calibration” are sent for a “conditioning”. Performing regular conditionings is a great way to exercise your battery. In addition, FruitJuice maintains a history so you can prove that you’ve been treating your battery properly.

FruitJuice 2.3