How to improve your MacBook’s battery
MacBook batteries last most of a working day before you need to plug in for a recharge. Apple reckons the latest models can last for most of the working day.
However, older MacBooks can’t match this battery life longevity. Who doesn’t want to be able to use their laptop for as long as possible before giving in to being tethered to the mains while it recharges?
One way to overcome this tethering tyranny is to carry an external MacBook battery pack. This adds to the bulk in your bag, but buys you a few more hours of mobile working or entertainment.
However, judicious use of preferences on your Mac can make a material difference too. Usefully, OS X provides several built-in energy monitoring and management tools to help you eke out extra battery life. Turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth might be sensible since both use energy looking for wireless connections but you need to weigh up whether you want to be without the ability to use AirDrop, iCloud Drive and Continuity features such as phone call and SMS relay from your iPhone to your Mac before you click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar and turn it off.
Let’s take a look at other useful ways make your MacBook’s battery last a bit longer.
1. Choose mobile settings
The Energy Saver pane in System Preferences should be your first port of call. Click Battery to change settings for mobile use. You can adjust how quickly the screen and hard drive switch off when the Mac is idle, and whether Power Nap is active.
2. Get system updates
System updates sometimes include tweaks to power management. In the App Store pane in System Preferences, turn on automatic checking for updates, and the options to download and install them.
Note that Power Nap only allows updates to download while on mains power.
3. Keep an eye on the time
An estimate of how long your Mac’s battery will last under current activity is shown when you click the battery icon in the menu bar. You can turn on a percentage indicator too.
The menu identifies any open apps that are contributing to power drain, in case you want to close them.
4. Limit streaming and video
Streaming a lot of online video from sites like NetFlix and YouTube can put a dent in battery life because your Wi-Fi connection will be very active.
Remember, some video services, such as iPlayer, permit you to download content to watch offline.
5. Monitor the temperature
A hot environment isn’t healthy for your Mac, and a busy hard drive (rather than flash storage) will further contribute to heat inside your Mac.
A hot processor is bad news, and will cause your Mac’s fans to spin up, and all of this can make your battery drain faster. Monitor heat levels using Temperature Gauge, or a similar app.
6. Check for energy hogs
CoconutBattery provides a health check for your battery by showing its current maximum capacity and its original capacity when new.
Finally, in Mission Control’s preferences, set a Hot Corner so that you can put the display to sleep in an instant.