Maintain Your Laptop Battery and Make It Last Longer:
There are few things more frustrating than feeling like your laptop’s battery is dying on you. After a certain point, it can feel like the battery gives up on you and won’t charge the same way anymore. As luck would have it, there are ways to preserve and maintain your laptop battery.
These include reducing battery stress through a series of physical and settings changes. By first understanding how your battery works and what to do, you can take care of it better and help it last longer.
Read this guide on how to keep your laptop’s battery working for as long as possible.
Understand How Your Battery Works
The vast majority of laptops today use lithium-ion batteries, and they aren’t alone. It shouldn’t surprise you that there are physical limits to your laptop battery.
Laptop battery maintenance is something that most people know in theory. However, many also ignore it in practice. We all know that the batteries on our laptops don’t last forever. You can only recharge them so many times.
Most modern laptop batteries these days last for around 500-cycles. This is regardless of how large or small the battery is. One cycle is equivalent to one full charge from 0-100%.
Some laptops are able to get more cycles. For example, companies like Lenovo at lenovo.com have been at the forefront of better batteries.
That said, all things being equal, the closer you get to 500, the more obvious the degradation of your laptop battery will be.
You’ve likely noticed that older laptops can’t hold a charge for as long and seem to drain fast, and this is why. Even the best laptop batteries have an estimated cycle limit.
Reduce the Drain and the Need to Recharge
So you know that your battery has a limit, and it’s ticking down the more you use it. The obvious thing is to reduce your usage.
This does not mean reducing how much you use your laptop. Instead, you need to reduce how much juice your laptop consumes. This is easier to do than you think and won’t require you to change your usage habits very much.
The first thing you should do is check your power settings. Most computers, laptops included, let you adjust how much power your device uses. Among all the laptop battery maintenance strategies we’ll talk about, this is number 1.
Playing With Your Power Settings
Start by going into your power management settings in the control panel on Windows. You’ll see options for balanced performance, high performance, and even a power-saver mode. Switching between these based on your needs will save your battery.
Unless you are in a gaming session or doing demanding processing work, you don’t need to leave your laptop on high performance. Even balanced can be overkill for most daily browsing. However, the power-saver mode is sufficient for emails, word-processing, and medium browser usage.
You can further edit these three power options to better suit your needs. For example, you can adjust brightness or when your laptop hibernates or goes into screensaver mode. You can also set it to change its usage patterns based on if it’s plugged in or not.
Minor settings like brightness or hibernation sensitivity make a big difference. You won’t use as much juice or have to charge as often. Remember, the less often you need to assess, the longer your battery capacity will last.
Lower Your Background Usage
Stop and take a quick look at your taskbar and all the apps currently running on your laptop. More often than not, you aren’t using half of them. By leaving them on, you’re only draining your battery.
Quit programs you don’t need right now and change your start-up settings for apps you don’t use on the regular. Skype is a great example. If you don’t need it for work, stop it from auto-starting or lingering in the background.
It’s always active, meaning it eats tons of memory, processing power, and of course, your battery. Turning off features like Bluetooth can also save you, as long as you don’t need it. After that, it might be worth taking advantage of the Battery Saver feature.
Battery Saver and Power Nap
If you have a Windows laptop, then you have something called “Battery Saver” built-in. All you have to do is enable it. What this does is wait for your laptop to drop down to ~20% battery.
At this point, battery saver springs into action to block any background apps that could drain what little power you have left. It will also lower your brightness and generally try to prolong your charge for as long as possible. It’s like an automated version of what we mentioned above.
The major difference is that this one will be more aggressive since it’s trying to buy you time to plug it in. While in battery saver mode, you won’t get automatic updates, nor will your calendar sync. If you’re in desperate need of access to the cloud or similar connections, you can override it.
If you have a Mac, look into Power Nap. It also helps prolong your battery by hibernating your Mac. Unlike battery saver mode, though, Power Nap still lets your Mac receive updates.
This means you can still receive mail and notifications even while your Mac is “sleeping,” and thus saving power. Some Macs also can switch to lower graphics when doing simpler tasks. It’s a feature that some Windows laptops can also take advantage of to save power.
Extra laptop battery maintenance tips include disabling power-hungry features like backlighting.
Stop Following Old Advice
Bad advice has been circulating for as long as laptops have existed. Some have become engrained as folk wisdom but are actually wrong and harmful. The first is you should always fully drain your battery.
The second is you should never leave it plugged in. This laptop battery maintenance guide will debunk these. They have their origins in the days before lithium-ion batteries.
Old laptop batteries used to be nickel-metal hydride. They’re famous for the issue of poor battery memory. They lose their full-charge capacity by forgetting what their max storage was.
This problem became worse if you recharged the battery without emptying it. Over time the battery would remember the lower capacity and wouldn’t charge to its original limit. If you keep charging it from 50%, it would soon cut its capacity in half, making it appear to drain faster.
With modern lithium-ion batteries, this isn’t a problem anymore, and neither is overcharging your battery. Modern laptops stop charging when the battery is full. You won’t stress new lithium-ion batteries as you could in older nickel-metal models.
Also, you should charge your laptop when it’s around 20%. This will stress it less than charging from 0% and can even buy you a few more cycles. If leaving it plugged in at 100% makes you uncomfortable, there’s nothing wrong with unplugging or shutting it down.
Batteries also lose charge over time, even unused. Leave it at 50% before storing it away for prolonged periods to stop it from bottoming out.
Keep Them Cool
When it comes to laptop battery maintenance tips, this is a big one. Your laptop generates heat, especially when doing heavy tasks. A lot of this comes from the batteries, and an excess of heat can damage them over time.
Lithium-ion batteries work through a complicated series of electrochemical reactions. These create energy which creates heat. More heat causes more reactions, and more energy.
You’d think this would make your charge last longer, but it’s actually the opposite. The problem is your hot laptop battery is now producing more energy than it can safely use. Trapped in place, it damages your battery and erodes its capacity sooner.
It’s vital to keep your battery and laptop cool. If you notice your device is getting hot, turn it off. See if you can pop the battery out to let it cool down or give the whole device a rest.
As mentioned earlier, messing with your power settings or apps can help reduce some of the heat. Another tip is to avoid blocking the fans on your laptop, as they help cool the device. If you live in a hot climate and it’s hard to find a cool place to work, consider getting an external laptop fan.
Elevating it off of your lap or desk can also help with the airflow. You want to avoid leaving it anywhere hot during a hot day, like your car or under the sun. Freezing temperatures can also damage your battery, but heat is the faster killer.
Keep Your Laptop Battery in Good Shape
When it comes to your laptop battery, there’s a lot to consider. To keep it as healthy as possible, lower how much unnecessary stress you put it through and keep it cool. Even the best batteries have a cycle limit, so plan to preserve it – but know it won’t last forever.
For more guides like this one, explore our site. We have all the up-to-date info to help you take care of your devices.