One of the most appealing features of the MacBook is its battery life – just consider the 12 hours of the MacBook Air – along with their build quality and the software that comes with it. Still, when you start using the device you may well get a battery whose life is different to that of Apple’s testing. The reason is because the machine’s battery life depends on usage.
Batteries are considered consumables due to their chemical components and have certain limits of up to 1,000 charge cycles (depending on the model). In addition, batteries deplete over time as their internal components are used.
Can you improve battery life and the overall battery lifespan of your MacBook? Read on to learn how.
1. Check Battery Status Menu
The quickest way to view the health of your battery is by clicking on the battery status menu while holding down the Option key. There are four status indicators: normal, replace soon, replace now and service battery. Here you will also see which apps have a huge impact on battery usage, and you should quit any that are listed here.
2. Keep Software up to Date
It’s important to keep your OS and other software up to date since they usually improve the overall macOS experience. Head over to the App Store, and click Software Update.
3. Use the Energy Saver Settings
If you click on System Preferences > Energy Saver, then macOS will give you several settings options to improve the MacBook’s battery life while it’s idle. As an example, you wouldn’t want to leave the display on when you’re not using the device, so adjust the slider to a little more than one minute. Also, select “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” and “Slightly dim the display while on battery power”, and maybe you will want to disable Power Nap while on battery. We recommend adjusting the display brightness to normal levels or use the “Automatically adjust brightness” setting. Tweak keyboard brightness using the F5 and F6 keys, too, or go into System Preferences > Keyboard and then enable “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” to allow your keyboard's backlight to automatically dim or brighten.
4. Turn Off Features
Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and muting sound also helps you squeeze out more battery life from your MacBook.
5. Remove Connected Accessories
Every accessory connected without a power source of its own will draw power from your Mac, and so removing them definitely helps. Eject CDs/DVDs from MacBooks, and that includes Superdrive, SD cards, external drives, 4G modems, external USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt and Expresscard, and any peripheral you have plugged in.
6. Quit Unnecessary Apps
Avoid graphically intensive apps such as games and video editing apps, and be sure to shut down any unused apps. Open Activity Monitor to have a glance at which apps are running, and there you’ll see which ones have the most impact on your battery life. Quit whichever you don’t need, either manually or from Activity Monitor, by selecting the process and then clicking “Quit process”. You can do the same in the CPU tab of the same utility app.
7. Extreme Measures to Max Out Battery Life
For emergency situations when you need every drop of energy your battery can supply, you can take extreme measures such as changing Mail’s frequency of checking new emails. To do this click on Mail > Preferences and, in the General tab, change “Check for New Messages” from “Automatically” to “Manual”.
Another extreme step would be to switch off Spotlight, which will prevent macOS from indexing the changes on your machine. Launch System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy, and drag your Mac’s startup disk to the Privacy list.
Get Informed About Your MacBook’s Battery Cycle
Apple has a support page with detailed information about the battery cycles each portable Mac supports. A charge cycle doesn’t mean a single charge, but the full use of the battery power. As an example, if you use only 50% of your MacBook’s charge one day and then recharge it fully and do the same the next day, then this would count as only one charge cycle, not two. As a result, a cycle could take a few days to complete.
To get the latest information about your MacBook’s charge cycle, you can either use a third party app or click About this Mac > System Report > Power. Here, you’ll get detailed information about your battery, as well as the system’s power settings.
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