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Home / Tips and Tricks / Frustrated with the battery life of your MacBook? 10 tips to squeeze out power every last minute

Frustrated with the battery life of your MacBook? 10 tips to squeeze out power every last minute



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The battery life of your MacBook can always be better.

Óscar Gutiérrez / CNET

Apple’s latest MacBooks are powered by the company itself Apple Silicon M1 processors, and that allowed Apple to extend battery life M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro way beyond what we’ve seen in previous Apple laptops. But if you’re having battery life issues for any reason – on these MacBooks or others – then we’re here to say you don’t have to lug around a large charger to get through the day (although old laptop batteries can legitimately are) need replacement).

For most people, it can take a few minutes to adjust some settings to extend your laptop’s battery. Below we’ll show you how to check its status, as well as tips such as reducing the brightness of the keyboard and display. We also advocate using the Safari browser over Chrome.

How to See Your MacBook Battery Percentage

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You can see a lot of information by clicking the battery icon in the menu bar.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Keeping an eye on the remaining battery life will stop it from going, but it can help you plot out how much work you can get in before you need to charge. With the release of macOS 11, Apple removed the option to display the battery percentage in the menu bar. Instead, if you want to see a hard number for how much charge your battery has left, you need to click on the battery icon.

Apple has also implemented new charging methods for MacBook batteries. As you can see in the screenshot above, charging is on hold with my MacBook Pro battery at 91%, but I have an option to fully charge on demand. Apple knows my MacBook Pro is almost always plugged in, so to extend battery life, my MacBook Pro rarely charges to 100%.

There you can also see which apps, if any, are causing significant battery life.

How to Check Your MacBook Battery Health

Whether you bought a refurbished MacBook or tried to squeeze everything out of your obsolete MacBook, it’s a good idea to check the overall health of your battery. MacOS includes a tool that tells you the potential capacity and whether you should have it replaced.

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Check the battery status of your MacBook so you know when it is time to have it replaced.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

To view your battery health report, click on the battery icon in the menu bar and select Battery preferences. Then make sure that the Battery tab on the left side of the window is selected and click Battery statusA window will appear showing the current status and the maximum capacity. If you have any questions or want to know more about what the status means, click the Find out more to open an Apple support page specific to your MacBook’s processor (Intel or Apple Silicon).

For those who want more insight into their MacBook’s battery history, you can check out the number of charge cycles the battery has gone through. Click on the Apple Icon in the top left corner and then hold down the Choice key on your keyboard, click System informationThe system information app will open, where you can then enter the power section and then search for health information. There you can see the health, capacity level and number of cycles of your battery. For reference, refer to Apple’s chart of expected battery cycles. Most newer MacBook batteries have an expected life of 1,000 charge cycles, after which Apple suggests you have your battery replaced.

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Double check that you are using the correct version of an app.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Do you have a shiny new M1 Mac? Search for M1 apps

Apple’s M1 MacBooks use a very different type of processor than Intel, which requires apps to be optimized to be efficient. Most if not all apps should work on your M1 Mac regardless of whether the developer has gone through the optimization process or not. But there’s a downside to using apps that aren’t optimized: they can be battery hogs.

Developers are slowly releasing updates that bring M1 compatibility to their apps, which means making sure your most used apps are up to date. If this is the case and you don’t see anything in the M1 compatibility release notes, then it’s not a bad idea to check the app’s website to see if there is another download specific to your Mac.

For example, Google has listed two different versions of Chrome on its site. One is for Intel-based Macs; the other is for Apple’s chip. It only takes a few minutes to check the app’s website to make sure there’s no other version you should be using.

Speaking of Chrome …

If this is your main web browser, consider switching to Apple’s Safari browser. Chrome is a well-known resource hog, consuming precious memory and, by extension, eating up a laptop’s battery life.

Apple’s estimated battery life for its MacBooks is calculated using Safari as the default web browser. If you’ve never used Safari as a means of moving around the web, you’ll be amazed at how powerful it is. I personally use it as my main browser and rarely run into issues, which was not the case a few years ago.

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A battery with a perfect health report looks something like this.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Save battery by dimming your screen and optimizing video streaming

Powering the display is the biggest burden on the battery. So the first thing to do: lower the brightness of your screen to a level that is comfortable for your eyes. The brighter your screen, the shorter the battery life. You can also set the display to dim slightly on battery power and turn off after a period of inactivity by going to System Preferences> Battery (or use the menu bar shortcut described in the previous section)

There is an option to dim the screen slightly when running on battery power, and to reduce battery consumption when streaming video on battery power. I also suggest adjusting how long your screen stays on for as short as you can. That way, when your attention is elsewhere, your MacBook’s screen will turn off completely and save precious battery life.

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Apple’s M1 MacBooks have crazy battery life, but you can always tweak it.

And Ackerman / CNET

Stay tuned with software updates

By staying up to date with MacOS updates, you can get the best battery life possible. To see if an update is available for your MacBook, go to System Preferences> Software UpdateCheck the box while you’re there Automatically keep my Mac up to date, and click on it Advanced The button allows you to automatically check for updates, download them automatically or install them automatically.

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Every little bit helps, right?

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Turn off the keyboard backlight if not needed

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If you’re not using Bluetooth, why is it turned on?

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

A backlit keyboard is great for typing in the dark, but it can also drain your battery. You can set the keyboard backlights to turn off after a period of inactivity, so they are on when you need them and off when you leave. Go to System Preferences> KeyboardOn the Keyboard tab, check the box for Turn off the keyboard backlight after [X secs/min] of inactivityYour options range from 5 seconds to 5 minutes.

I also suggest ticking the following box to Adjust the brightness of the keyboard in low light to make sure your custom brightness controls are preserved no matter how dim or bright the area you are working in.

Turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it

Chances are, you won’t be carrying a Bluetooth mouse or speaker with you when you get off your desk. With nothing to connect to, there is no point in turning on Bluetooth. I recommend turning off the radio to save battery. Just click the Control Center icon in the menu bar, then click Bluetooth and click the switch to take it to it from position.

The only possible downside to disabling Bluetooth is that Apple’s continuity feature, which allows you to quickly and easily share information between your iPhone or iPad and Mac, is not working.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott / CNET

Close applications that you are no longer using

It is best to close programs when you are done with them. This can be done by pressing the Order and Q buttons simultaneously, or click on the program name in the menu bar and select it Shut down choice. Open it Activity monitor and click on it Energy tab or click on it Battery icon in the menu bar.

Disconnect accessories after you are done with them

As with Bluetooth, if you are not actively using a USB connected device (such as a flash drive), disconnect it to avoid draining the battery. If the power cord is not connected, charging your smartphone or tablet via the USB port of the MacBook will also charge your battery.

If you are looking for ways to get better performance from your Mac, we are behind youWe also have one long list of macOS features that are easy to forget, but you need to know about it. Before you forget it, take care of it back up your Mac


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