You probably know some tricks to extend your laptop battery, either by lowering the screen brightness or disconnecting the Wi-Fi. However, there are many more things that you can (and should) do take care of battery duration. Below we explain how to squeeze the most out of your laptop battery just by following some simple rules.
The battery of any portable device will degrade over time, it is inevitable. But by following the tips below you will at least ensure that you won’t have to replace it (or buy a new computer) earlier than normal.
Temperature and cleaning
The laptops temperature can have a big impact on battery life: check the manufacturer’s instructions for the temperature safety range for your equipment. These tend to be different depending on whether you are using the laptop or it is not in use. For reliable temperature range readings of the laptop, users can go to OS X Temperature Gauge, which costs five dollars, but it gives you more information than you’ll be able to use. If you’re using Windows, Rainmeter is a free monitoring system that gives you all kinds of data, including temperature.
In general, the ambient temperature (or the closest to it) is ideal. That means you should not leave your laptop locked in the car or in a backpack during the summer, or outdoors in winter. If you feel hot in the room you’re working, so will your computer. Same for the cold. It’s that simple. Make the necessary adjustments to the rooms’ temperature for the ideal temperature.
Excess heat is particularly bad for the battery. If you are someone who tends to use the laptop while in bed, on the couch, on your lap or in the middle of the beach or by the pool in summer, the battery will last for a lot less years than it should. You have to keep your laptop cool and on a flat surface, keeping it as stable as possible, and making sure the fans are completely uncovered. Buy a stand for good air circulation or air disperser if necessary, they are not expensive.
If your laptop has replaceable battery, it is important to take it off once every two months and cleanse the metal contacts at the edges with a dry cloth and a cleaning liquid containing a tiny bit of alcohol – that helps to keep energy transfer your computer in the most efficient way possible.
The Energy Flow
To make sure that your laptop battery lasts do everything to avoid constantly charging it. The electrons inside must move normally. Think of it as doing occasional exercise versus sitting all day in a chair. In general, the less you use your laptop, the less chance of it discharging.
Ideally you should deplete your laptop battery to 40-60% at least once a week. Furthermore, it is recommended to discharge and then again completely recharge it at least once or twice a year. In other words, and to continue the metaphor, the routine should be going to the gym occasionally during the week and run a 5 kilometer or twice during the year.
The reason behind this is that doing a complete recharge, constantly, is more damaging to the battery. If the laptop is plugged in all the time, the battery is working harder than if you were alternating between 40% and 80%. Some experts recommend completely removing the battery when the computer is plugged in to avoid overheating, especially if you are doing intensive tasks. Letting the battery drain completely from time to time also helps to calibrate it, making readings of the battery more accurate.
There are also rules for cases of disuse. If you’re not using your notebook for more than six months, it is best to leave it with 40-50% battery remaining. If left fully charged or discharged there is a risk that the battery will be damaged over a long period of disuse.
Some minor adjustments to the power options can make a big difference at the end of the day. And remember, the less battery does, the longer it will last. In Windows, if you go to the Control Panel> Hardware> Power Options, and if you use a Mac go to System Preferences> Energy Saver, and you can make those changes.
The basic settings let you control the display and the status of the computer, while advanced Windows let you change power saving options for the hard disk, Wi-Fi adapter and USB devices.
It is likely that your laptop manufacturer has added some additional functions for battery management. Take a look at the default applications that come on the computer to see what you find. If you want to keep the battery as long as possible, reduce your workload as much as possible: decrease the screen brightness, close unnecessary applications, limit the number of tabs in your browser, and disconnect USB devices that are not in use… For Mac users, you can get download the free program Battery Health, which tells you exactly how much battery you have left, and for Windows users BatteryCare is just as useful.
Finally, be careful not to use another charger than the one that came in the box with your laptop. It’s best to not opt for chargers bought at second hand stores or bought at unofficial stores. Even if it works, it’s probably not optimized to take good care of the battery.