How to Optimize Your MacBook’s Battery Life

Several weeks ago a friend approached me and asked why his MacBook Pro’s Battery life seems unstable and only stays on a couple of hours, considering his is only months old and mine has been with me for more than 2 years now. There has been an article written here on how to save battery life of your Smartphone. Now we will try to discuss how you can save your Pro’s battery, thereby giving it more juice, especially when you need it the most.

Battery maintenance is important for laptops, so is battery calibration. With these two steps along with other helpful tips, you can ensure that your Mac’s battery is at its optimum performance. Read on to find out more info on how to do proper maintenance of your Mac’s battery.

Maintenance

How you use your MacBook, and how you recharge or discharge it is vital in keeping your MacBook’s health. With this said, since the ‘Pro is a laptop and is designed to be plugged in during use and unplugged after, there will be times when this amazing piece of equipment gets fully charged and fully discharged or drained.

Let’s put it this way, suppose you’re the kind of user that utilizes his machine while it is plugged the whole time, bear in mind that you should discharge or calibrate your Mac one time or the other. If this is the case and you rarely use your battery, (meaning it is always plugged in) you should completely discharge it and recharge again once a month. However, If you are like me, using the battery more frequently and just recharging your Mac to add to the current capacity, then discharge isn’t required as often as the first scenario.

Calibration

Most New MacBooks now don’t require Calibration as it has already been done at the factory for the simple reason that today’s Macs have built-in batteries. To be sure, read the manual that came with your Mac when you purchased it. But nowadays, who likes to read Product Manuals, really? If uncertain, here is a list of MacBook Pros that have built in batteries, which means there won’t be a need for Calibration, Yey!!!

MacBook from latter part of 2009 onwards

MacBook Air (all models)

MacBook Pros 13”, 15” & 17” released 2009 and onwards

MacBook Pros with Retina Display 13” & 15“

Calibration is easy. Before you calibrate though, make sure all the files and documents you are working on are saved, all programs and applications are closed. Just follow the steps outlined below, and you’re well on your way to optimizing your batter’s performance:

For older Macs (including PowerBooks except G4 and iBooks):

1. Charge your computer’s battery fully with the use of your power cable. To ensure this, wait until the battery indicator turns green (meaning battery is fully charged) from red, when you started charging it.

2. Disconnect your Mac portable from the power cable and use like how you would normally do. When the battery gets low, a window will appear warning you of the current status of your battery capacity. Just  continue using your mac till it totally drains and goes on to sleep mode. By then the battery has been completely drained and ready for calibration.

3. Once again connect the power cable and charge the Mac until the battery is full.

Note: Calibration by means of fully charging and then discharging your battery should only be done once. After that, you can use your Mac regardless if it were plugged in or unplugged, and now you can also charge the battery regardless of the charge level.

Gauging

Battery Capacity is measured in mAh or milliamp-hours. To gauge how much juice is left of your MacBook , pull up your Terminal (Go to Applications, then Utilities, there you will find the Terminal). Once inside it type this in: ioreg -l | grep Capacity and press the Return (enter) button thereafter. A window will appear showing you your Mac’s battery capacity status. The “MaxCapacity” is your Mac’s maximum when fully charged,  “CurrentCapacity” is what you have at the moment while you are using it and “DesignCapacity” is its original intended battery capacity.

Terminal Batt Stat

Battery Status and Life Cycle

On a Mac OS, There are several ways to check your battery’s status. First, you can hoover to the upper right corner of your Mac and click on the Battery icon. A dropdown menu will appear showing you the current remaining time of your capacity and the way you want the battery capacity status displayed. You can choose whether in percentage, time or just the plain icon.

Batt Life 1

Another way is to press Option while clicking on the Battery icon. The same dropdown menu will appear, but this time, it displays another word right on top of the rest. There are several battery states it might display, depending on your Mac’s actual battery status. Read below:

Normal would mean the battery is working properly and in order.

Replace Now would mean the battery is working normally but has much lower charge than when you first got your mac.

Replace soon, as it suggests, means the battery may be working fine at the moment, but it actually does need a replacement.

Service Battery – make a run for the nearest Apple Service Centre! Kidding aside, once this status is displayed, you may actually want to bring down your Mac to an authorized centre for servicing as the battery may not be working normally the way that it should.

Batt Life

For more information on your Mac, click the (Apple logo) on the upper left-hand corner of your screen, in the dropdown menu hit About This Mac, and press the More Info tab once the window appears. The System Profiler window will appear and from left-hand side displaying options, click on Power. Then on the right-hand side once you click on Power, you will see your Mac’s charge and it’s actual capacity in full. All other necessary info will be displayed here.

System Report

Storing Your MacBook Pro

Here’s the deal, if you are going off on a holiday, a hiatus or simply disconnecting yourself from you Mac and will not be using it for quite a while, store the laptop with remaining 40-50 percent charge. Batteries have a tendency to loose capacity over long un-used periods. If you store your Mac with 50% charge, you are assured that your laptop will not be fully and totally drained one you get it out and use again.

In terms of storing your Mac, one thing to also consider is the temperature. You see, batteries loose capacity more quickly in hot temperature. Ideally, if you can find a place where the room temperature is always 22° C, that would be good for your Mac.

So there you go. Hope this bit of information has been useful. 

One Response to How to Optimize Your MacBook’s Battery Life

  1. aX says:

    Great article! Helped out a lot! Thanks so much. I’ve been wondering whether or not I should drain my laptop all the way or not. I’ve read an article that we didn’t have to and another saying we should once every so often but I’ll see if I’ll do that. Hopefully it’ll help maintain my Macbook Pro’s battery life.

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