Taking proper care of your laptop’s battery is important to ensure that your mobile machine can last as long as possible. Although battery technology has evolved in the background, except for “best practices” a few years ago, there are still many ways by which you can expand (or reduce) the health of your laptop battery. We’ve rounded up the top tips for taking care of your laptop’s battery, how long you should leave it plugged in, how low you must keep the battery running.
Unlike many desktop computers, there is a one-size-fits-all approach to laptops. Every machine is a little different, so the more you know about your laptop and its battery, the more important it is. Our suggestions apply to lithium-ion batteries, which are by far the most commonly used batteries in modern laptops.
Save your bicycle, save your battery
- 1 Save your bicycle, save your battery
- 2 Keeping your battery in the zone
- 3 It’s heating up here, so hide your battery
- 4 Plug it in (but not all the time)
- 5 Download software to get battery health report
- 6 Enable battery-conscious mode on your computer
- 7 Update your operating system
All laptop batteries are built to handle a certain number of charge cycles, typically around 500 full cycles – and sometimes even more. Essentially, a charge cycle equals a full discharge to 0% and then a recharge to 100%. A discharge will be equal to 50% and then back to 100% for a half cycle. Over time, each charge cycle reduces the capacity of a battery by its design specifications, meaning that the more times you dry it, the longer the battery lasts – all other things being equal.
So where do you start? You can start by going to the power settings corner of your laptop and learn how your battery works and how to enable battery settings. Also, pay attention to hibernation mode. Ideally, you want your laptop to enter hibernation before the battery runs out completely – as well as during downtime when you won’t be using the laptop for a while.
To save even more power, visit your apps and leave any work running in the background and eat continuously throughout your battery life. For example, on Windows 10, we suggest you to find and enable Battery Saver. This mode will be turned on automatically when your laptop reaches approximately 20% battery life (more on why this is particularly important below). This will automatically block background apps, protecting your features from syncing or pushing calendars, lower screen brightness, and various other changes that will keep your battery safe so that you can access an outlet ASAP.
For MacBooks, consider enabling PowerNap so that you can leave important tasks to your Mac randomly, saving you more battery life. Enabling automatic graphics switching can also help Macs save energy by switching to low graphics mode when engaged in simple tasks (such as text-based work where graphics are not important).
Here you can make a lot of manual changes. You can safely close things like cloud storage and messaging applications that are running in the background. You can manually power the power you use when you are not using them, by turning off optional features like keyboard backlighting, and turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to reduce the number of components that typically burn. Can be reduced as follows. Both Microsoft and Apple have guides to further explain this process.
Keeping your battery in the zone
In ancient, less enlightened times, there was a problem called “battery memory”, which began to “forget” their full capacity to nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries and start charging at lower and lower levels. This problem does not exist thanks to modern lithium-ion batteries, but it has given very poor advice and arguments about the care of batteries based on outdated information. It is time to clean the air.
Unlike some recommendations, you don’t need it regularly Discharge the lithium ion battery completely and then reboot it somehow or calibrate it – this is a destructive practice that is very difficult for your battery. Whether or not it is a smart idea to discharge completely twice a year remains an unanswered question. Generally, it seems unanimous to allow your battery to discharge (Without Bringing it down – aim for about 20%) and then charging it when possible is the best practice.
Next, there was a time when users were advised to refrain from keeping their devices plugged in, based on the idea that charging up to 100% of the battery could cause the battery to drain more quickly. Today, however, modern devices are designed to prevent charging at 100%, so keeping them plugged in does not affect battery life, according to University of Water.
As with many battery-related questions, this is hotly debated when your laptop is plugged in to reach its full potential, so turning off your machine and unplugging it when you feel more comfortable nothing is wrong. But in general, the best thing to do for your lithium ion battery is to allow it to be less than 20%. Plug it in and charge it when you can, and then rinse and repeat. The good news is that with modern batteries and systems, there really isn’t much you need to do – outside of predicting that your battery will eventually start to lose its overall capacity.
Finally, if you are going to store your laptop for an extended time without using it, then discharge or charge it by 50% before taking it away.
It’s heating up here, so hide your battery
When a laptop’s battery becomes too hot, the electrical responses inside are accelerated – but this does not mean that the battery is more efficient. Instead, the battery is now producing a lot of energy that it cannot use and cannot safely route any hardware. This produces even more heat, reducing the problem. This can not only eventually permanently damage the inside of the battery, but it also wears the battery with a set of chemical reactions that are not necessary but burn through the lifetime of the battery anyway.
Today’s lithium-ion batteries are durable, but they can only carry so much heat. For example, if you are charging your battery and it starts to overheat, perhaps because the CPU or graphics processor is working hard or the environment is overheating, turn the device off and if possible So take out the battery. Give it a break so that it can cool down, or you can move it somewhere with a lower temperature. Many modern laptops have sealed batteries, so shutting down the machine and letting it cool is highly recommended if maximizing battery life is your concern.
Likewise, keep the laptop away from your lap. If restlessness is not a good cause, as with many machines, you are making the problem worse by blocking the vent. You want to make sure that both the vents that pull in the cold air and those that draw out the hot air are capable of doing their job.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should avoid keeping your laptop warm anywhere. Including your car on a hot summer day, under a window that gets direct sunlight, or near a space heater. Such unusual circumstances can cause a lot of damage to the battery in a short period of time, although you may not realize it immediately.
Generally cold temperatures are not reduced to a certain point, and it is advisable to store the battery in a cool place, but do not leave your laptop in an empty temperature. Too much cold can also permanently kill a battery or shorten its lifespan.
If you want to watch the temperature even more closely (say, you live in a particularly hot climate), there are several apps you can run that will monitor the laptop’s heat. This includes CoreTemp and Real Temp for Windows, which you can download for free.
Plug it in (but not all the time)
It is safe to leave most modern laptops plugged in. In fact, most high-powered gaming laptops work best when plugged in. The most important aspect of battery health is the discharge cycle. No matter how vigilant you are, your battery will deteriorate over time and you recharge it. Whenever you are running an intensive application – such as a game – you can run it when your laptop is plugged into your battery to reduce the number of discharge cycles.
You should not leave your laptop in this state all the time, however, when you drain the battery too fast. As mentioned, it is better to store your battery at 40% to 50% capacity, if you do not plan to use it a bit, then it is to be stored at 100% capacity. Degradation is faster on fully charged, non-charged batteries, especially at higher temperatures.
So, if you are not moving around and running an intensive application, it is a good idea to leave your laptop plugged in for that length of time. If you are handling day-to-day tasks that do not consume electricity as quickly – such as browsing the Internet – you can rely on batteries alone.
Download software to get battery health report
At a glance it can be difficult to know how your battery is. Devices like iPhones come with native battery maintenance settings and alerts that provide at least some information, but these diagnostics are harder to find on laptops unless you install them yourself. Here are some battery monitoring app options for you to consider.
Batterycare: This extra-lightweight app – designed for Windows computers – provides all the information, CPU / storage temperature reading, discharge cycle monitoring, and lots of useful information in one place.
Battery monitor: Designed for MacOS, this app shows battery charge in a friendly interface with information about battery health and cycle, alerts, battery temperature readings, and current total capacity.
If you do not want to download any dedicated app, you have options available. For example, you can open PowerShell on your Windows computer and run the command “powercfg / batteryreport”, which will give you a file path for a somewhat cryptic report. Copy or drag it into a browser window, and you’ll find a page with full information about your battery, including recent usage, cycle count, usage history, and more. It does not have the monitoring app’s intuitive interface, but you don’t need to download anything extra to get it.
Enable battery-conscious mode on your computer
Windows 10 operating systems provide a battery saver mode under their power settings. If you turn on battery saver mode when your power runs out, you will be able to extend battery life until you can get the charger. By activating the battery saver mode on your computer, you will protect your battery from damage by letting it reach 0% charge. MacOS has similar capabilities.
It is a good idea to also enable adaptive brightness mode. These modes adjust the brightness of your screen according to the ambient light to help save battery life when you are in a well-lit location. You can also activate your laptop’s dark mode, which saves energy and can ease your eyes as well. Any option that helps you save energy will prolong the battery life of your laptop.
Update your operating system
For optimum functionality, you will have to constantly update your computer’s software. When the manufacturer releases a new update, it not only has patches and upgrades, but can also help the program run more efficiently, which will conserve battery power. On later patches, the same operating system can use significantly less battery power, giving your battery a longer life without changing anything else. And so, review your OS and keep your machine – and its battery – on a healthy diet of updates.