Best Ways to Charge a MacBook: 5 Tips & Tricks

You may know of some different tips and tricks on how to get the best battery life out of your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, but what about keeping the battery itself healthy and lasting a long time?

Batteries don’t last forever, and their quality degrades over time, to the point where it may even no longer hold a decent charge. However, you can at least slow down the degradation by taking good care of the battery and following a few simple guidelines to keeping your MacBook’s battery healthy for as long as possible.

MacBook-Pro-620x452

Every battery is different due to how it’s used by the MacBook user, but a battery should last around three years before it starts slowly degrading, but some users have reported that it’s been only two years before their MacBook’s battery life began plummeting. Again, there’s nothing you can really do to stop a battery from degrading and eventually dying, but there are ways to at least keep it from starting to degrade for as long as possible.

Don’t Drain It Constantly

It’s a bad idea to let your MacBook’s battery constantly get to a low percentage before you recharge it. In fact, it’s best to The shorter the discharge period, the longer the battery will last. It’s best to avoid full discharges and charge the battery more often between uses. A good percentage to aim for is discharging it to 50% and not letting it discharge further if you can help it. In fact, charging your MacBook in short spurts is best, rather than constantly recharging it from 0% to 100%.

Doing this can actually cause slow damage to the battery if you constantly discharge it to 0% and back up to 100%, but what about calibrating the battery? Good question.

Calibrate the Battery Every Once in a While

Calibrating a battery requires the user to completely discharge a battery to 0% and the charge it back up to 100%. This not only gives you a more accurate percentage reading when using your MacBook, but it also prolongs the life of the battery in general.

Advertisement

However, in order to get these benefits, you only want to do this every now and then. Apple recommends doing it once a month, but you can easily get away with doing it every couple or few months.

2014-04-21-11.22.40-620x446

Heat Is a Battery’s Worst Enemy

While a battery naturally gets hot when it’s charging, heat can quickly degrade the life of a battery. Heat is bad for any kind of gadget, because it can cause overheating and damage the processor and other circuitry, but batteries are more sensitive to heat, which is why it’s important to never leave your laptop in a hot car if you can help it.

According to research performed by the Center for Automotive Research at the Ohio State University in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards Technology, lithium-based batteries that are operating at above 30°C (86°F) are at risk, since this is considered an elevated temperature. “Exposing the battery to high temperature and dwelling in a full state-of-charge for an extended time can be more stressful than cycling.”

This is why we recommend using a laptop stand of some kind so that air flow can get to the bottom of the laptop and cool things down.

2014-04-21-11.24.20-620x417

What About Keeping It Plugged In All the Time?

Plenty of MacBook users leave their machine plugged in all day, especially if they’re at a workstation and not on the road. Leaving the charger plugged in all the time isn’t good for the battery, as the high voltage that’s used to charge the battery is still being applied over and over again to keep the battery at 100%.

Even the high voltages used to charge a battery isn’t good for it, which is why there’s a max voltage that chargers are stuck to. Ideally, the lower the voltage, the longer a battery will last before it needs replaced. Keeping the charger plugged in all day is simply just exposing the battery to the higher voltages, which can degrade the battery much quicker.

This is why I personally like to use something like Belkin’s Conserve Socket if I need to charge something up overnight. This little contraption cuts off the power after a set amount of time (30 minutes, 3 hours, or 6 hours), that way I’m not leaving my equipment charging all night.

Battery-Monitoring Apps You Can Use

There are plenty of apps that you can download and install on your MacBook that monitor the health of the MacBook’s battery. However, Battery Diag is one of the best apps we’ve tried out.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 12.04.51 PM

It’s a battery monitor app that shows your MacBook battery’s capacity and remaining charge as a percentage. The app also displays the source, battery health, number of charge cycles, and estimated time remaining on the current charge. You can even get more details, like the temperature of the battery and power usage displayed in watts.

Plus, Battery Diag looks great, with the user interface that resembles an iOS 7 app. It also uses minimal system resources and sits quietly in your menu bar.

  

Leave a Reply