We all have faced situations when we had to make an urgent dash to a power outlet to keep the laptop alive. That’s no fun, especially when you are working or learning something on your laptop and don’t have a convenient socket nearby. So, it is important to know how to save laptop battery. Fortunately, efficiency on modern laptops is much more than their predecessors. Nowadays, even inexpensive laptops can last for more than eight hours on a single charge. Some high-end ones can even go for 14 hours or more.
However, the inconvenient truth is that your laptop’s battery won’t last as long as the manufacturer’s markets unless attention is paid to some key factors; how many apps are running, power settings, and even the temperature of the room where you are working. You can sort all this out very easily once you know which of the settings you need to adjust. Here are 10 tips how to make your laptop battery last longer.
1. Windows Battery Performance Slider
The Windows 10 battery performance slider is the first step on our tour of saving the battery life of your laptop. It assembles all the settings that impact battery life into a few easily understandable categories. The manufacturer of your laptop determines which settings the battery slider controls. However, you can generally keep these guidelines in knowledge:
- Best Performance: This mode will give better speed and responsiveness in trade-off battery runtime. If you select this mode, the Windows will not stop apps in the background from running and consuming a lot of power.
- Better Performance: In this mode, background apps get limited access to resources, but it otherwise prioritizes power over efficiency.
- The Better Battery: This mode can deliver longer battery life than the default settings on earlier versions of Windows. On many PCs, it is labeled as “Recommended”.
- The Battery Saver Mode: This slider mode will only appear when the laptop is unplugged. This will reduce the brightness of the display by 30 percent, stop the Mail app from syncing, prevent Windows update downloads, and suspends most background apps.
2. Close Apps and Use Airplane Mode
If you are writing on your laptop or doing something when you don’t want to be distracted by notifications, you can enable Battery Saver. It is a good practice for conserving your laptop’s battery. Use one app at a time and close everything else when you are using it. It is much like turning off the lights of a room when it is vacant. However, if you are going back and forth between one room to another, by all means, keep the lights of both rooms on. This refers to using two apps back and forth and keeping both of them open. But, if you are using only one app, it would be optimal for your battery if you close everything else.
While you are closing all other apps and using only one, consider enabling the Airplane Mode in Windows. If you are on macOS, you can turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you won’t be needing them. Airplane mode not only reduces distraction but also eliminates a significant amount of battery drain.
3. Adjust Display and Graphics Settings
If your laptop comes with a powerful graphics processor, you can make sure that only graphics-intensive apps use it, while all the other programs can manage by using the more efficient on-CPU silicon for graphics processing. If the system you are using has Nvidia GeForce graphics, then open the control panel of Nvidia GeForce (which you could typically find on the right side of the taskbar in the Windows notification area). Now click on the program setting tab and allocate each program to a specific graphics-processing chip. Assign the discrete GeForce chip to graphics-intensive apps, such as Adobe Photoshop, and assign everything else to the integrated chip.
To perform the similar process on a Mac, search for Energy Saver and check the “Automatic graphics switching” option. Like the GeForce panel, here you don’t get the same kind of fine-tuned control over each app. So, when it comes to which program should use which graphics accelerator, you will have to rely on macOS’s judgment.
4. Be Mindfulness of Airflow
Now, most laptops use Lithium-polymer batteries. They need much less maintenance than batteries of the past. The credit goes to the innovation in the battery technology itself as well as the software and firmware improvements.
However, you still have to be careful about heat, which can accelerate the demise of a battery. The most significant issue comes from the physical block of the ventilation ports. Dust build-up is a problem that needs to be taken care of by cleaning the vents and fan of the laptop. Do this every so often and to blow out some of the dust, use a can of compressed air. A more recurrent problem that occurs is using the laptop on a blanket or pillow. This can obstruct the ventilation fan as well as retain the coming off heat of the system. Use your laptop only on firm surfaces to avoid this. Use it on a desk or table that doesn’t flex and block the airflow or cooling.
5. Turn Down Screen Brightness
One of the most power-hungry parts of a laptop is the screen. The laptop consumes a serious amount of battery power to keep the display look bright and clear. However, you won’t need the screen of your laptop to be super bright most of the time. Saving this power only requires you to simply turn the brightness down. Usually, the screen brightness button is represented by a small sun symbol with low and bright figure, and they are located on the second function of one of the F keys. To up or down the brightness of your laptop’s display, simply hold down the correct function key.
6. Turn off Wi-Fi
Most laptops come with wireless networking capabilities that can play a vital role in battery life. Wi-Fi constantly draws power from the battery and drains it, and when not in use, it drains the battery by looking for networks. When you are away from the grid or from wireless networks, you can turn off the Wi-Fi when using your laptop. To manually switch off the wireless adaptor, many laptops come with a function button, but previous laptops often don’t come with this.
If this is the situation, click the speech bubble icon on the lower right side of the taskbar and open up the Notification Center. Here, click on Wi-Fi to switch it off.
7. Eject your disc drives
Another huge drain on resources is having a disc spinning in the drive, and many programs do this constantly. So, eject the discs before you turn on battery power and gain vital extra minutes from your working day.
These days, most modern laptops don’t have disc drives installed. However, if yours come with a disc drive, it is worth ensuring that it’s empty when you are on the go.
8. Carry a Battery Backup
An external battery pack is another easy way to make sure that you always have enough battery power. These external power sources plug into the laptop as similarly as your charger.
Typically, they cost between one to two hundred dollars. They come with adapters for use, so they can be used with many different laptop models. You can use them on more than one system as well as for other devices, such as your tablet or phone.
9. Use battery setting on macOS
Apple’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops don’t offer a battery slider option. However, many of the similar settings mentioned above are available in the Energy Saver preference.
To open it, go to the upper right corner of the screen and click on the Spotlight magnifying glass icon. Search for Energy Saver, and now, click on the Battery tab. If you wish to approximate the Battery Saver Modes or Windows Better Battery, check the “Slightly dim the display while on battery power” as well as “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” options, and make sure that you uncheck the option “Enable Power Nap while on battery power”. (With power nap enabled, your MacBook will be asleep. Still, the machine will wake up from time to time to check for updates. You can also disable it to keep your MacBook fully asleep and wake it up when you choose to.)
On the latest MacBook Pro laptops, if you have “Slightly dim the display while on battery power” enabled, the display brightness adjusts to 75 percent when you unplug your laptop from power.
So, if you want to have optimal battery life, should you keep the Battery Saver always on? Not exactly. Some useful features get disabled when you enable the Battery Saver mode. So, you might want to enable it when your battery is lower than 20 percent, and you don’t have a power outlet nearby. Also, turning off Power Nap might make it longer for you to catch up with the notifications you had missed when you were away from the MacBook. That is why it is better to use the Better Battery setting as well as enable Power Nap most of the time.
10. Turn Off Keyboard Backlights
Just as the display, the backlighting of the keyboard drains the battery of your laptop as well. Turn them off when you don’t need them. Your laptop should come with a Function key that enables you to toggle the keyboard backlights off and on. If you don’t find this, you can find a control for it in your laptop’s Windows Mobility Center.
These tips will help you make your laptop’s battery last longer and keep it in optimal condition for a long time.
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