How to improve battery life


Battery life is so important these days. How mobile you can be with your wireless laptop will always be limited by how long the battery lasts. That’s why you’ll see freelancers congregating around the handful of power sockets in a coffee shop, and why battery life is a key news item in any new laptop or phone launch. 

MacBooks, on the whole, have good battery performance. The 2020 MacBook Air, for example, has the best of the lot, with reports of 11 hours of web browsing between charges. Battery performance inevitably declines over time. Still, there are things you can do to preserve your battery for as long as possible, so we’ve drawn up a list of our top five tips for improving your MacBook battery life.

  • Background app hunt
  • If you aren’t in the habit of checking, you might be surprised how many apps you have chugging away in the background using up processing power and battery power. One way to improve battery life is to close any you aren’t using at the time. The easy way to do this is to find Activity Monitor using the search function, then order the apps and processes by CU usage. If you don’t recognise it, have a poke around on the internet and try to identify it. Hopefully it’s not needed and you can save some power.

  • Turn off WiFi and bluetooth
  • Obviously this won’t be possible if you’re using the internet at the time with your bluetooth headset connected, but if you can turn these off, do. This will save you battery power then and there.

  • Dim the screen
  • This makes a huge difference to the amount of power your MacBook is drawing. Also, try dimming your display more than you might ordinarily run it, and try it for a while. You’ll probably find you get used to it pretty quickly – and as well as extending your battery life it may be easier on your vision, too.

  • Avoid extreme temperatures
  • Your device is designed to perform well in a wide range of ambient temperatures, with 16° to 22° C (62° to 72° F) as the ideal comfort zone. It’s especially important to avoid exposing your device to ambient temperatures higher than 35° C (95° F), which can permanently damage battery capacity. That is, your battery won’t power your device as long on a given charge. Charging the device in high ambient temperatures can damage it further. Software may limit charging above 80% when the recommended battery temperatures are exceeded. Even storing a battery in a hot environment can damage it irreversibly. When using your device in a very cold environment, you may notice a decrease in battery life, but this condition is temporary. Once the battery’s temperature returns to its normal operating range, its performance will return to normal as well.

  • Update all your software
  • We know this makes us sound like boring IT guys, but making sure your software is fully updated actually does increase battery life. The reason is that newer version of programs (particularly Apple software) often contain power-saving features and efficiencies.

    When the inevitable happens

    Finally, we have to point out that no matter how much care you take of your laptop battery, it will eventually need replacing. No battery is immortal, but fortunately replacing them isn’t a big deal.

    When we’re testing our refurbished laptops the battery is a key part. What we want to ensure is that any customer who receives a laptop isn’t going to have an overly worn battery. We don’t replace all batteries as it would be damaging to the environment doing it unnecessarily. We apply condition boundaries to our batteries of 80% design capacity or 750 cycles. We found this to be the correct balance between the impact on the environment and the customer experience.