Improve Your Macbook Battery Life
Macbook battery life is a major concern of most mobile Mac users. While Apple (Macbook, Macbook Pro & Macbook Air etc) portables all have really good battery performance and are able to run many hours on a single charge, the battery always seems to be just slightly less than you need.
You can extend your Macbook’s battery run-time using a few battery conservation methods.
Extending Your Mac's Battery Run-Time
Getting the best run-time out of your Macbook's battery starts with having a battery that is in good shape and calibrated. Calibration is the process by which your Mac battery's internal processor (yes, they do have a bit of smarts built into them) is able to estimate the remaining charge on the battery and predict when the current charge will be used up. If the calibration is off, then your Macbook may either tell you it's time to shut down while there is still a good deal of life left in the battery, or worse, tell you it's time to shut down when it really is time to shut down, without leaving you enough time to save your work and end your session.
For this reason, you should always keep your Mac's battery calibrated, starting with the day you receive your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air.
Apple also suggests that you re-calibrate your battery every month, but I've it’s more likely dependant on usage. With that in mind, I recommend between 1-4 months depending on usage.
You can follow this guide to calibrating your battery: (From lifewire.com – edited)
- Start by ensuring your Mac is fully charged. Don't go by the battery menu item; instead, plug in the power adapter and charge your Mac until the light ring at the charging jack or the power adapter's light turn green, and the onscreen battery menu indicates a full charge.
- Once the battery is fully charged, continue to run your Macbook from the AC adapter for two hours. You can use your Mac during this time; just be sure the power adapter is plugged in and you're running off AC power and not the Macbook's battery.
- After two hours, unplug the AC power adapter from your Mac. Don't turn your Macbook off; it will transition to battery power without any trouble. Continue to run the Mac from the battery until the onscreen low battery warning dialog appears. While you wait for the low battery warning, you can continue to use your Macbook.
- Once you see the onscreen low battery warning, save any work in progress, then continue to use your Mac until it automatically goes to sleep because of very low battery power. Don't perform any critical work after you see the low battery warning, because the Macbook will go to sleep before long and with no other warning. Once your Mac goes to sleep, turn it off.
- After waiting a minimum of 5 hours (longer is fine, but no less than 5 hours), connect the power adapter and fully charge your Macbook. Your battery is now fully calibrated, and the internal battery processor will deliver accurate battery time remaining estimates.
With battery calibration out of the way, let's look at some tips for extending the battery's run time.
The Energy Preferences
The Energy preference pane in System Preferences allows you to manage your Mac's energy use. There are multiple options for conserving battery life, including turning off the display and putting drives to sleep. The Energy preference pane is the best place to start with battery conservation:
Look in System Preferences. Look to…
- reduce brightness – low as possible, while still being easy to see
- turn hard drives off after a certain number of minutes e.g. 5 or 15. This means they aren’t working hard while you aren’t working.
Turn Off Unused Services
Your portable Mac has many built-in services, such as AirPort and Bluetooth, which can be turned off if you're not using them. You can disable AirPort or Wi-Fi if you're not using this feature. Doing so will prevent your Macbook from continually scanning for active wireless networks, or making an automatic connection to a network. Either way, you'll save power by turning Wi-Fi off – but of course you will lose internet if not using an ethernet connection to your modem.
HOW TO: In your Macbook, launch System Preferences and select the Network preference pane. In the Network preference pane, select the Wi-Fi item in the list of network services. Click the Turn Wi-Fi Off button.
Bluetooth is another energy drain for your Macbook that can be disabled if you're not using it.
HOW TO: Launch System Preferences, and select the Bluetooth preference pane. Remove the check mark from the On box.
Turn off keyboard backlighting. This feature uses an ambient light sensor to determine whether the keyboard needs to be illuminated in low light conditions. I find that the macbook keyboard is lit more often than not, even when backlighting isn't needed. You can turn keyboard backlighting off using the Keyboard preference pane in System Preferences also.
Don't use the Macbook optical drive. Spinning up the DVD drive is a large energy user. Instead of using the optical drive to watch a movie on a trip, make a local copy of the movie using a DVD ripper. This will allow you to store the movie on and watch it from the hard drive, which, while still using much energy, is less of one than the optical drive.
Muting sound is another way of reducing energy usage. By turning off your Mac's built-in speakers, the battery won't be used to generate all of the default squeaks and squawks associated with various events. Just hit the Mute button on your keyboard, or use the Sound preference pane to mute the output.
Hopefully this will help you improve your battery performance of your Macbook – any questions please call.
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