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Monday
Nov262018

Ways to Increase your Laptop battery life

Use the Windows Battery Performance Slider

The first stop on our battery-life betterment tour is the Windows battery performance slider, a recent addition to Windows 10. It aims to group all of the settings that affect battery life into a few easy-to-understand categories. The company that made your PC determines exactly which settings the battery slider controls. But in general, keep these guidelines in mind:
  • The Best Performance mode is for people willing to trade off battery runtime to gain performance and responsiveness. In this mode, Windows won't stop apps running in the background from consuming a lot of power.
  • The Better Performance setting limits resources for background apps, but it otherwise prioritizes power over efficiency.
  • Better Battery mode delivers longer battery life than the default settings on previous versions of Windows. (It's actually labeled "Recommended" on many PCs.)
  • Battery Saver mode, a slider choice that will appear only when your PC is unplugged, reduces the display brightness by 30 percent, prevents Windows update downloads, stops the Mail app from syncing, and suspends most background apps.

Close Specific Apps That Use Lots of Power

Multiple apps and processes running on your system will chew through battery life more quickly, and chances are you probably aren't actively using everything that's currently running on your PC. In Windows 10, the Settings App is the first step to find energy-hogging programs.

Type "see which apps are affecting your battery life" into the Windows search bar for a list of apps that are consuming the most power. If you see an app that you rarely use hogging a lot of power, make sure you close it. Often, these are apps you've opened in the background and forgot about, such as Spotify or Adobe Reader.

Next, type "See which processes start up automatically when you start Windows" into the search bar. This will open the Task Manager's Startup tab, which lists every utility that runs as soon as you start your PC. Anything with a name like "Download Assistant" or "Helper" is usually safe to disable. For example, unless you frequently open Spotify playlists, tracks, or albums from links in a web browser, you can disable the Spotify Web Helper.

To perform similar app purging in macOS, search for Users & Groups, then click the Login Items tab, where you'll find a list of apps that run in the background when you start up your Mac.

Use Battery Settings on macOS

Apple's MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro laptops don't have a battery slider, although many of the same settings described above are present in the Energy Saver preferences.

To open it, click on the Spotlight magnifying-glass icon in the upper right corner of the screen, search for Energy Saver, and then click on the Battery tab. If you want to approximate the Windows Better Battery or Battery Saver modes, make sure that the options "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" and "Slightly dim the display while on battery power" are checked, and the option "Enable Power Nap while on battery power" is unchecked. (With Power Nap enabled and your MacBook asleep, the machine will wake up now and then to check for updates. Disabling it keeps your MacBook fully asleep when it is asleep—until you choose wake it up.) On recent MacBook Pro laptops, the display brightness adjusts to 75 percent when you unplug the computer from power if you have "Slightly dim the display while on battery power" enabled.

So, if you want the best battery life, should you use Battery Saver all the time? Not exactly. Because Battery Saver mode disables some useful features, you might want to use it only when your battery is below 20 percent and a power outlet isn't near. Likewise, turning off Power Nap can mean it will take longer to catch up on notifications you've missed while you're away from your MacBook. That's why most users should use the Better Battery setting and enable Power Nap most of the time.

Simplify Your Workflow: Closing Apps, and Using Airplane Mode

On the other hand, if you're writing a novel or playing a local video file and don't need to be distracted by notifications, it's fine to enable Battery Saver. It's a good habit to adjust your laptop use in more battery-conserving ways, such as by sticking to one app at a time and closing everything else when you're not using it. It's a bit like turning off the lights when a room is vacant. If you're going back and forth between the kitchen and the pantry all the time, or between Firefox and Word, by all means keep both sets of lights and apps on and open. But if you're just cooking or watching a YouTube video, you'll be best served by turning off and closing everything else.

In addition to aiming to single-task, consider enabling Airplane mode in Windows, or turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in macOS if you know you'll be editing a document with no need for web access. In addition to eliminating distractions, Airplane mode eliminates a significant source of battery drain: not only the wireless radios themselves, but also the background apps and processes that constantly use them, such as updaters and push notifications.

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