Maximizing MacBook Battery Life

People who choose MacBooks love them for their slick graphics and beautiful displays, but all that beauty can be a real power drain when you’re running your MacBook on battery power. Fortunately, Apple has built in some easy energy saving features to help you make the most of your battery life. If you combine those settings with some smart user practices, you can get the most out of every battery charge.

Set Sleep Modes

If your MacBook is going to be turned on all day but you’re not going to be constantly using it, adjusting sleep mode settings can help you save battery. You can find these settings by clicking the Apple icon in the top left-hand corner of your screen and selecting System Preferences. From there, select Energy Saver.

There are two sleep mode settings: Computer Sleep and Display Sleep. Computer Sleep saves the most power because it pauses all processes until you wake up the computer. Hardware takes a break and all applications and processes are on hold.

Display Sleep turns off only the screen. Other processes could be running in the background. This means that the MacBook may still be drawing significant power from the battery. But since your screen can account for nearly half the energy used by your laptop, turning the screen off when you’re not actively using it can prolong the life of your battery.

Both Computer Sleep and Display Sleep can be adjusted by sliding the selectors on the Energy Saver Screen. Settings range from less than a minute to never. The two settings work mostly independently, although you can’t set your display sleep to a time greater than your computer sleep.

Dim your Screen

According to testing by MacWorld.com dimming your screen can reduce power draw by up to 5.2 watts. That means your battery should last significantly longer between charges.

Dimming your screen is easy. Just press the F1 key. If you find you’ve dimmed it too far press the F2 key to make the screen brighter. If that doesn’t work (and it might not depending on how old your MacBook is) go to the Apple menu, click system preferences, and then click displays. From there you can use the slider to adjust brightness.

Limit External Power Draws

Settings can have a big effect on battery life, but so can your habits. Some people use an external mouse or keyboard that connects via Bluetooth. The power draw from those devices is low, but can still have an impact. If you really want to maximize batter life, skip the extras and use the built in keyboard and track pad on your MacBook.

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