5 Tips to Prolong Your MacBook’s Battery Life

0
97

The latest edition of the MacBook Pro has an advertised battery autonomy of up to 22 hours or, in Apple’s words, the longest-ever of any Mac computer ever released. However, your actual battery life depends on factors such as brightness settings, power-saving options, resource utilization, usage environment, and battery charging habits. Inefficient battery management habits can cut your battery life by several hours, giving you much less time before your laptop needs a charge. Follow these five top tips to extend your MacBook’s battery life and enjoy your device for longer periods.

Although macOS updates might not seem like a solution to battery life issues at first glance, they are among the most important. Updating to the latest macOS version helps ensure your system can access Apple’s latest battery management and energy efficiency improvements. 

Newer macOS versions frequently include improvements to help your system run efficiently and consume less power. They can also fix bugs and glitches that accidentally impact battery life, such as issues increasing resource consumption.

As of December 2023, the latest version of macOS available is Sonoma 14.1.2. To check whether you are on the latest version, navigate to the Software Update menu by following this path: Apple Menu > System Preferences > Software Update. 

  • Update Now button. You may see a segment titled “Updates Available” and an “Update Now” button if a minor update for your current macOS version is available. 
  • Upgrade Now button. If a new macOS version is available, you may see an “Upgrade Now” button instead. Upgrades indicate a major new macOS version is available, with significant changes and upgrades.
  • Use Power-Saving Options

macOS includes a range of power-saving settings to help users manage their devices’ energy consumption and extend the life of their laptop batteries. You can access most of these features from the Battery menu. Access it by following this path — Apple Menu > System Settings > Battery — from the sidebar.

Try these solutions to limit your MacBook’s power consumption and extend your battery life:

  • Low Power Mode. Low Power Mode automatically adjusts specific settings to save power, such as decreasing screen brightness and turning off certain background processes. Open the Low Power Mode pop-up menu and choose Always to keep it on at all times or Only on Battery to activate it when the charger is unplugged.
  • Optimize Battery Charging. This feature lets your Mac learn from your charging habits and automatically adjust charging speeds, improving the battery’s life span and limiting battery cell wear.
  • Put Hard Disks to Sleep When Possible. You can find this power-saving feature under the Options menu. This feature is primarily useful on older MacBooks with mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs). When enabled, your MacBook will detect whether your HDDs are in use. When your system isn’t actively accessing files or reading data from your HDDs, it will put them in sleep mode, reducing power consumption.
  • Automatic Graphics Switching. This power-saving feature is also located under the Options menu. It is useful on MacBooks fitted with both an integrated GPU (a part of your CPU) and a separate, more powerful graphics processor (like a dedicated graphics card). Enabling this option lets macOS switch between the two depending on the intensity of your current tasks. It can optimize battery consumption by ensuring your dedicated graphics card only turns on when needed.

Screenshot 2023 12 25 144811

Source: Zyracuze / Shutterstock.com

  • Don’t Let Your Battery Fully Charge for Too Long

Although it is common for MacBook owners to always leave the battery charger plugged in, with the indicator reading 100 percent, you should avoid doing so. 

MacBook laptop batteries use lithium-ion cells, which generate heat under load. The faster they charge or discharge, the more load they are under and the more heat they generate. While MacBooks feature safeguards and battery management technologies to minimize damage, you should still avoid leaving it at 100 percent for extended periods. 

Leaving your battery fully charged and plugged in for extended periods keeps your battery under a certain amount of load. It increases the risk of overheating and accelerates battery wear and tear, reducing your battery life.

  • Avoid Using Your MacBook in Extreme Temperatures

The recommended ambient temperature range for a MacBook is between 50°F and 95°F. Using your MacBook outside these temperatures negatively impacts the battery’s life and performance. To safeguard your MacBook’s battery and maximize its lifespan, adopt the following safety measures:

  • Optimal Usage Environments. Avoid using your MacBook in environments with extreme temperatures. Opt for settings that maintain a moderate temperature range whenever feasible.
  • Storage Practices. Store your MacBook in areas where temperature fluctuations are minimal. Do not leave it in direct sunlight or places prone to rapid temperature changes.
  • Invest in Cooling Accessories. Consider using a cooling pad during prolonged usage to dissipate excess heat effectively. This accessory helps maintain a stable operating temperature for your MacBook.
  • Insulating Covers in Cold Environments. In extremely cold conditions, use insulating covers to shield your MacBook. These covers act as a protective barrier against temperature drops, preventing temporary reductions in battery capacity.
  • Limit Resource-Intensive Applications

To prolong your MacBook’s battery life, you must limit resource-intensive applications. These applications consume CPU and GPU resources, leading to faster battery drain. For instance, video editing software, graphics-intensive games, or even multiple browser tabs, especially those with video content, can rapidly deplete battery power.

To manage this, try the following:

  • Regularly Check Your MacBook’s Activity Monitor. Found in the Utilities folder, this tool provides real-time CPU, memory, and energy usage data. Pay special attention to the Energy tab, which highlights the most power-hungry processes. If you notice certain apps consistently at the top, consider limiting their use when on battery power.
  • Use Optimized Settings for Resource-Heavy Applications. Programs like games and video editing software can drastically compromise your MacBook’s battery life. If you are a gamer, adjust the game’s graphics settings. Lower the resolution from 4K or 1080p to 720p, and reduce detail levels from “Ultra” or “High” to “Medium” or “Low.” Also, consider disabling resource-heavy features like ray tracing, high dynamic range (HDR), or anti-aliasing. 
  • Close Unnecessary Background Applications. Even if not actively used, each open app consumes CPU and memory resources. For instance, quitting unused apps like Photoshop and Spotify or multiple open browser tabs, especially those with active scripts or videos, can significantly reduce CPU load and memory usage. This action frees up resources and decreases energy consumption, extending your MacBook’s battery life.

Screenshot 2023 12 25 144750

Source: GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com

Maximize Your MacBook’s Battery Life

Good battery management practices are essential to get the most out of your MacBook’s battery life. Besides getting more hours of use between each charge, following these tips can help limit the battery’s overall wear and tear and extend your MacBook battery’s service life span. These solutions are the best way to enjoy your MacBook for longer and reduce the need for a battery replacement.