The main concern regarding laptops is speed. As a result, nowadays, manufactures are pushing technology to its limits by continuing to upgrade processors, video cards, memories, monitors and so forth. At first glance, all of these seem beautiful, but a laptop has to be portable and all of these changes have direct effects on the battery life. Especially when we’re talking about a MacBook.

There are some tips and tricks to extend the MacBook’s battery life by several hours. A portable device that is plugged in all the time is not better than a normal desktop so keep on reading the following article to find answers to this problem.

Extend MacBook’s battery life

improve macbook battery life

The battery is the key component of a laptop. With the necessary calibration and proper maintenance, a battery can keep its optimum performance and resist much more through time. According to various producers, the battery for the newest MacBook Pro lasts up to 7 hours. Some concerns may appear when you see that your new laptop’s battery isn’t even close to that autonomy. Fortunately, there are some ways of extending that period:

Dim the display

The very first and easy thing you have to do is to adjust the brightness of the screen. The display is one of the most power-consuming parts of your laptop, so to save energy, just turn down the brightness.

This operation can be done in two ways: one is to press F1 to decrease brightness and the other one involves more steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences under the Apple menu, which is located in the upper-left corner of the screen, select Displays.
  2. Uncheck “Automatically adjust brightness” and drag the slider to left as it suits you.


Video card settings

Another way to improve your battery consumption is to change the settings of the default video card. This can be done only for the new MacBooks that have two video cards: one that is on-board and another that is dedicated.

To do this, just go to System Preferences from your Dock and click Energy Saver. Under Graphics, check whether “Better battery life” or “Higher performance” is ticked. Select the first one.


Adjust sleep time

Go back to the Energy Saver menu and adjust the sleep settings for display and computer. Drag the slider to left and also check “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible” and “Automatically reduce brightness before display goes to sleep”. These will only reduce the battery consumption a little, but a difference will be seen.

Disable Bluetooth

As long as you don’t use the Bluetooth service to connect a peripheral device, turn it off because it’s an energy drainer. This can be done in two different ways. The first one involves clicking on the Bluetooth icon, which is placed in the upper right-side of the desktop, and simply selecting “Turn Bluetooth Off”.


The second way involves going to Bluetooth settings under System Preferences. If you aren’t accustomed with the System Preferences icon, it’s the gray square with some gears inside. Here, just uncheck the box that says “On”. If everything is correctly done, the Bluetooth icon should be grayed now.

Turn off Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi remains turned on more frequently than the Bluetooth service because it’s used to realize the connection to internet. In some situations however, it can be turned down to gain more power. To do this, just go to the upper right of the screen, click on the Wi-Fi icon and select to turn it off.

Another way is to go to Network settings under System Preferences and click the box marked with “Wi-Fi Off”.

Turn off the backlit keyboard

Even though it represents a great feature for MacBooks, using the backlit keyboard can steal some dozens of minutes from your battery runtime. The simplest way to turn it off is to repeatedly press F5 button.

Alternatively, open System Preferences and select Keyboard settings. Uncheck “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light” and underneath, at the “Turn off when computer is not used for” set the slider to minimum.


Turn off Time Machine

Time Machine is the backup utility developed by Apple for its devices. The entire process is very easy, but it also implies the consumption of a huge amount of power. Therefore, you should think about turning it off while the laptop is running on battery power.

Go to System Preferences and select “Options” under “Time Machine”. In the new menu that appears, just uncheck “Back up while on battery power”.


Remove/Eject peripherals and hard drives

It’s important to remove the peripherals, such as mice, printers or external hard drives, and to eject CDs, DVDs when they aren’t used because they also consume battery power. Even if the power consumption isn’t so big, every little “juice” that you can spare, it counts.

Enable private browsing

This may be hard to believe, but if Safari is set to private browsing it will reduce the consumption of power.  When in private browsing, Safari will no longer access the memory to cache data. This feature has its ups and downs because if you set this, the browser won’t remember history or passwords and you will have to introduce them every time.

To set Safari to private browsing, open the application and select “Private Browsing” under the Safari tab.

Quit unused apps

Running applications in background require power, even if they aren’t really used. Therefore, look in your Dock and see if any of the applications have a light symbol underneath. To close all programs, click on them and press CMD+Q or right-click on them and select to quit. This will boost your battery’s lifetime.

Calibrate the battery

In case the battery life has shortened, it’s very important to calibrate your battery. Apple recommends a calibration once a month and to do this, just follow this:

  1. Fully charge your MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro.
  2. Once fully charged, let it plugged in another a couple of hours (minimum 2 hours)
  3. After, remove the power adapter and use your MacBook until the laptop will go to sleep. A warning message will appear, but just ignore it.
  4. It’s very important to not plug it in again and to let it sleep minimum 5 hours.
  5. Next, plug it back in and let it fully charge. Now, your battery is calibrated.

Keep it cool

To provide better experience and to protect its components, MacBooks are designed to turn ON or speed up the velocity of the fans when the laptop reaches some particular temperatures. These things will involve supplementary power that will shorten the battery lifetime.

A good way to keep your laptop under those temperatures and those fans turned off is a cool pad, without connecting it to the USB. Using a cool pad not only that you will conserve energy, but also the laptop will be situated in a better position for you to use. They are available in different shapes, colors, materials and all you have to do is to choose the one that fits you best.

Use an app

You should also take a look at an application named Battery Guardian which can remind when to deplete. Once installed, an icon in shape of a heart will appear in the top-right of the screen which will turn red when the battery needs depleting. The application is set to announce you at every 30 days after your last calibration.

More, the application lets you know if the battery is healthy or not. Click on the little heart and a menu will appear with an easy to understand indicator: three stars represents that your battery is healthy and the opposite, one star or a warning indicator represents that the battery must be verified and changed. Download Battery Guardian from here.

Also it’s good to know that if you are planning not to use your MacBook for a couple of months, Apple recommends that the battery should be 50% charged and kept in very low temperature and protected from humidity.

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Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.


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