Anker PD Capable Power Bank & MacBook Pro 15 - 2017

Before I get into my question I just want to preface what I’m about to ask by stating that I am fully aware of 30 Watts being insufficient with regards to charging a MacBook Pro 15 whilst in-use. Especially not with the load I’ll be placing on the laptop.

Having said this;

I’m about to purchase a top tier, or rather the top tier MacBook. Considering this is rather expensive and constitutes well over 50% of my annual “expendable” income… not that I have any expendable income… I need to make sure my investment is well taken care of, and of course concurrently used to within an inch of it’s operational life.

It is thus, and among other things, that I am looking to invest as well in a premium external battery.

My question therein is twofold. Taking into consideration my above disclaimer, will a Power Delivery capable Anker Battery Bank meet the minimum requirements of the 15 inch laptop? And as stated, please take into consideration that I am not expecting any such current Anker product to charge my egregiously priced workhorse.All I’m seeking, within the scope of this post, is an answer insofar as whether such an Anker product will reduce the rate of discharge.

At times, and it won’t be often, I will need to extend the battery life of the specified laptop. Even if this means it just drains a bit slower due to supplemental power.

An example of such is the USB port provided in my Ford Fiesta. Whist actively using a device plugged into said port, say a 10.1" Samsung tablet for its GPS capability, the device does not charge per se. It does however ensure that I am able, on an extended trip, to reach my destination where otherwise I would have depleted the device’s reserves.

Continuing on the above, if the above is possible, would supplementing the laptop’s battery as such impact negatively; it’s longevity?

Finally, I have made an assumption that a (the) Power Delivery capable battery will be capable of charging the laptop while the laptop is powered off. Am I mistaken?

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A good place to start is in forums of who own that specific macbook and see how well it works off anything other than its official charger. Because there will be more macbook owners there to learn about the macbook’s USB input capability.

The most typical situation is a negotiation to 5V 2A 10W which is useful (slowing discharge as you state) you might get lucky and get a higher Wattage or unlucky and totally ignores (0W).


Indeed, thank you. I fully intend to broach the topic via some or other MacBook forum. Which I’ll likely do tomorrow if I have the time.

In all honesty it was your posts which initially attracted me to this specific forum as your replies tend to be thorough and verbose.

I’m a sucker for context.

In your opinion, if you should have one on the matter, do you think there is any harm in supplying some power to a device (a laptop in this case, but any similar electronic device really) whilst the rest is supplied by the built in battery? I can’t seem to find any information on this, I doubt Mac owners would know and I lack sufficient scope on relevant terminology to power search.

I’ll figure it out on my own eventually but it’s easier to put your hand up and ask sometimes. Just in case.

Do you mean this model?

Built-in 76.0-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery
87W USB-C Power Adapter

I’m seeing a 87W charger, so the electronics are designed up to that, so the chance of damage is low.

Also I’m seeing a typical battery life of

Up to 10 hours wireless web
Up to 10 hours iTunes movie playback

So that implies it is draining at 76/10 ~ 8 Watts. Hence if you got the middle reality of 10W then it would keep the laptop around its current level of charge.

If you’re at all concerned then play safe and don’t do it!

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You make a valid point. I am extremely concerned, as the MacBook needs to last a minimum of 4 years for the purchase to be viable. Given that this is one year more than the extended (maximum) three year warranty period, I believe I have at least some cause for concern. It’s essentially costing me the current equivalent of $6100.50, just the device alone. Due to my locale.

I think I’ve learned what I set out to. I’m looking for a Boolean, and anything which isn’t explicitly true is implicitly false. So I’ll err on the side of caution. Thank you.

it will not last 4 years because batteries age.

My advice, you won’t like but I give it anyway…

  • Buy a lower end model to carry around like a Chromebook

  • build a tower system at home and a UPS for it to run for brief times and the UPS use lead acid battery you can swap out, they usually last years, 5+

  • remotely access the tower system using RDP from your low-end carrying device for when you need performance of a tower system from a laptop

  • make a NAS via a Raspberry Pi which is also off the UPS to allow your tower system to shutdown, you can use wake-on-Lan to wake it up.


  • when you drop and break or spill drink on your laptop, its less $ wasted, the repair is cheaper too
  • tower systems are faster and/or cheaper

I already have that exact setup.

I have a dual-CPU HP tower server at home with redundant PSU and UPS backup, paired with a 5KVA generator (also powers the fridge, etc.).

I’ve set up an ESXi 6.5 host on the HP and run on average approximately 10 VMs at any given time. Included in this is the VM I’m working on now. The server has two 256GB SSDs in RAID1, and four 500GB HDDs in RAID1+0. Additionally I have a 100/50mbps fiber connection to my ISP.

I’m a full stack dev-ops sysamin and network engineer/architect. I’m fluent in every layer… save for the components themselves, wherein I defer to those more knowledge than myself. Such as you.

Unfortunately having said all this, my problem is such that connecting remotely to my home server is becoming more and more of a challenge. Whilst at home I have reliable and fast fiber, I do not however have any measure of reliability in regards to my 3G/LTE connection on the go. If I’m lucky I’ll spot down at a WiFi hotspot, but at the rough equivalent of $10/30minutes… no thank you. This is a non-issue at the office.

A MacBook provides a semi-decent solution, whilst the RAM is fairly low for my needs I can and will survive. I can run some VMs independently of infrastructure, I can rely on it’s performance and should there be any problems there is a nation-wide support footprint available. Apple has no presence in South Africa directly, however there are (just one) premium re-sellers.

Also, XCode would be very useful. I do a lot of programming for automation, code quality control / auditing.

Anyway, the point here ins’t to garner sympathy or persuade you. Rather see this at merely face value, if you could. I have a set of requirements which, even taking cost into account, are met comfortably by the Mac.

Your suggestion is a very good one, and I can attest to this being a valid and performant deployment. And recommend it myself.

I do realize that the battery in this laptop (any laptop) won’t survive four years of regular use without significant loss of capacity (barring outright failure). I do understand that this is normal and don’t expect any battery or power generation technology to defy thermodynamics. I unfortunately gave the wrong impression in my previous statement; I need the laptop itself to last at least four years insofar as the hardware needs to keep functioning. Normal wear and tear aside, battery included. I can replace the battery should it come to it, in a few years.

There are lots of considerations to be made. For example I’ll be over provisioning the SSD to assist in wear leveling, but I won’t bother this forum with that. I feel I’ve already gone too far off topic.

I’m trying to be as perniciously anal as possible in protecting both the battery and circuitry of the Mac, whilst simultaneously using and degrading the battery. I suspect there’s a balance to be found.

I see you said 4 years which is not realistic, not without it having a good servicebility rating and popular spares market, so check its Fixit rating, and it being a relatively significant % $ for you.

My 3 year old Lenovo laptop battery is so bad now it won’t even power on without the power cord so its basically not portable! I’ll probably get around to replacing battery next weeks.

If you want it to last 4 years then it has to be user serviceable, not sure which model but

So the issue is that you mention a portable battery for a laptop implying you will be running it a long time away from wall power socket which implies a lot of recharge cycles implies its battery will be aging a lot. If it spends many days running on battery and you’re wanting to use a Anker powercore to recharge it then you’re probably talking a 2 year battery life. If you’re fully aware you’re going to be using it in an aging situation then you’re prepared to not last 4 years, or to check repairability before purchase.

I have an expensive “laptop” in the form of a Pixel C tablet and to make it last the longest as its really going to be adverse to repair so I only use it for when i need its specific benefits and it spends its time at 40%-60% charged in a cool dark place and I fully charge it and use when I’m travelling. Most of my off-wall socket laptop use is of a Chromebook which is easily repairable and is on its 2nd battery already after 2 years.

As to your core question will an Anker Powercore charge a Macbook Pro - probably - but if you’re want to be sure then ask in a macbook forum. What an Anker Powercore could potentially usefully defend is your Macbook’s battery because, whilst batteries age when not used regardless, they will age less than if you fully discharge and recharge, so if you plug in the Powercore at the start of a long time off-power to keep the battery charged, then you’re going to be aging the Anker Powercore more and replace it ~ 2-3 years and so stretch your laptop investment into the 4 year period. If that’s your thinking then it might be a good strategy.

This is a good question. I see some good answers here in the thread. I have the smaller MacBook Pro and was worried about charging it with a power bank. I guess I was a little afraid that it would brick my Mac due to insufficient power. Looking forward to seeing some more answers for some good advise.