A laptop battery is not a cheap item so it is in your interest to learn how to increase battery life on a laptop. In this comprehensive guide, we will explain how you can achieve that and make your laptop battery last longer.
You probably purchased a laptop over a desktop because of the portability that it provides. Being able to use your laptop when there is no mains outlet available is a very useful feature. However, if you are using your laptop in a way that is shortening the life of your battery, then you will have to replace it with a new one.
It is no fun having to run to the nearest mains outlet so that you can save your laptop battery. The good news is that the more modern laptops are much more efficient with battery usage than they used to be. Nevertheless, you should take all of the steps that you can to make your laptop battery last as long as possible.
With a modern laptop, it is common to find that it will run for around 8 hours on a fully charged battery. Of course, it depends what you are doing with your laptop. If you are playing resource-hungry games or using intense applications, then the operation time will be less.
Laptop manufacturers will state that the battery in your laptop should last for a certain period of time. However, you will not get anywhere near this suggested battery life period if you are doing the wrong things with your machine.
How to save battery on a Windows 10 laptop: use the performance slider
If you have a Windows 10 laptop, you can use the battery performance slider. Here you will find all of the settings that have an impact on battery life. The different categories are really easy to understand so you don’t need any skills or experience to make the right choices here.
The manufacturer of your Windows 10 laptop determines all of the settings controlled by the Windows battery slider. So, the actual settings available in the slider can vary from one laptop to another.
Despite this, keep these general guidelines in mind:
Mode for Best Performance
This is a category where you can decide to trade battery runtime for increased responsiveness and speed. When you enable this mode, Windows 10 will not prevent applications from running in the background and consuming lots of power.
Mode for Better Performance
You can use this mode to make your laptop perform well but not at the best performance levels. In better performance mode, Windows 10 limits the available resources for background applications but it will still prioritize performance over efficiency.
Mode for Better Battery
In this mode, you can set the slider to provide a longer life for your laptop battery. Windows 10 offers the option to override the default battery settings found in previous Windows versions. Choose this option if you want to conserve your battery life.
Mode for Battery Saver
You will only see this mode available when you have not plugged in your laptop charger to a mains outlet. It will prevent any Windows updates, suspend background applications so they do not consume batter power, dim the brightness of your display by around 30%, and prevent the synchronizing of mail applications.
How to increase laptop battery life for a Mac using the Battery Settings
If you have a laptop that uses the macOS, such as a Macbook Pro or a MacBook Air, there is no slider available to adjust the settings. Instead, there are some energy saving preferences that you can configure in the Battery Settings application.
To access the Battery Settings application on your MacBook, go to the top right corner of the screen and click the spotlight magnifying glass. Search for “energy saver” and when it returns the result, choose the tab marked “Battery”.
Here, you can emulate the Better Battery and Battery Saver options in Windows 10 by ensuring that you have specific options checked. You want to check the options for “slightly dimming display on battery power” and “make the hard disk sleep when it is possible”. Uncheck the option to “enable power naps on battery power”.
The reason for unchecking the “power naps” option is that when your MacBook sleeps and then wakes up, it will automatically check for any updates if you check this option. You can ensure that your MacBook stays in sleep mode until you decide to wake it up when you uncheck this option.
With the more modern MacBook laptops, the brightness of the screen will automatically reduce to around 75% when you remove the power adapter from the mains outlet. In order for this to happen, you must check the option to dim the display when you are working with battery power.
The thing with MacBook is that you don’t want to use the battery-saving options all the time as you can with Windows 10. This is because the battery-saving options will disable useful features. It is best to enable battery saving when your battery level falls below 20%.
If you turn off the “power nap” option, then it is going to take you longer to get up to speed with any missed notifications. The ideal scenario for MacBook users is to enable the settings for better battery performance and use the power nap feature for normal use.
Close applications and use airplane mode
It is a good idea to get into the habit of only using one application at a time if you want to save your laptop battery life. Do you need to be distracted with notifications while you are working? If not, turn off the notifications and check them when you have time. If you are not required to respond urgently to notifications, then don’t have them running all the time.
You know what you need in order to work efficiently, so close anything that you don’t need. If you can get by with one browser and Microsoft Word open, then go for this. It’s like turning off the lights in rooms that you are not occupying in your home.
If you are working on a document in a word processing application such as MS Word or an MS Excel spreadsheet, do you need to be connected to the Internet? If not, then you can use airplane mode in Windows or, with a MacBook, you can turn off Bluetooth and WiFi.
For a Windows laptop user, airplane mode will get rid of many things that can drain your battery. This includes background applications that are constantly running to process push notifications and other updates as well as any wireless connectivity applications.
Close power-hungry applications
If you have a lot of resource-hungry applications running on your laptop continuously, then you will shorten the life of your battery for sure. There is a good chance that you are not even using most of the apps that are running on your laptop.
With a Windows 10 laptop, you can use the settings application to identify what applications are taking up the most resources. If you have a laptop with an older version of Windows, you can use the Task Manager to find these.
In Windows 10, type “apps affecting battery life” into the search bar. A list will appear and you will see at a glance which applications are consuming the most resources. The thing to do here is to find an application that hogs power that you don’t use often and close it. You may have opened this application and stopped using it.
You can change the applications that automatically open when Windows starts. Use the search bar or Task Manager and stop any resource-hungry applications from opening on startup if you don’t need them.
You can also find applications that hog power that you can turn off if you have a MacBook. Do a search for “Users and Groups” and then look for the tab marked “Login Items”. Here you will see a list of applications that open and background run when you start your MacBook.
Adjust display and graphics settings
Many laptops now have powerful graphics cards in them and you can make adjustments to make sure that only graphic-intensive applications such as games use the graphics processor. When you do this, all excluded applications will use the inbuilt graphics card on the motherboard, which is far more efficient.
Usually, the graphics card will have its own control panel that you can use to adjust settings. With this, you should be able to allocate the various applications on your laptop to use either the power-intense graphics processor or the more efficient integrated graphics card.
With a MacBook, you can perform a search for “energy saver” and then ensure that you check the option for “automatic graphics switching”. This is not as good for fine-tuning as the video card control panel on Windows is, but it should still help you to increase the life of your battery.
Monitor battery health
Over time, any laptop battery is going to suffer from reduced charging capacity and at some stage you will have to replace it with a new one. Therefore, it is a good idea to check the state of your battery’s health regularly.
It is easier to see the state of laptop battery health if you have a MacBook rather than a Windows laptop. With a MacBook, you can hold down the “option” key and then select the battery icon from the menu bar. You will now see a screen for your battery status.
You may find a “service battery” or “replace battery” message here. This means that your laptop battery has reduced charging capacity. If you want more details, you can use the “system information” application and look at the cycle count to determine the number of charging cycles that remain for your battery.
With a Windows laptop, you can run a command prompt to reveal the health of your laptop battery. This is available with Windows 8 and 10. Alternatively, there are some free applications that you can download that will provide you with the same (and in some cases more) information on battery health.
If your laptop is always running hot, then this will shorten battery life. There are a lot of reasons why your laptop may be overheating and one of the most common ones is dust. Make sure that the air vents on your laptop do not have a dust blockage.
The fan in your laptop is essential for cooling and if it is not working properly, then this can definitely lead to increased heat. Put your ear to the case of your laptop and see if you can hear your fan running.
In this guide, we have provided you with a number of ways to preserve the life of your laptop battery. If you want your battery to last for the longest time, pay attention to preventing resource-hungry applications from running all of the time. Use your battery settings to save as much battery power as you can.