Understanding batteries in Mac notebooks
Optimising battery life
Understanding batteries in Mac notebooks
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There are a bunch of apps that will tell you the health of your battery, its state of degradation, or an estimated running time for your Mac, but a system monitor app can do the same function. Battery Doctor: We’ve already written thoroughly about Battery Doctor. This free battery. Open the AirPods Case Near Your iPhone or iPad. The simplest way to check the battery life of your.
MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers come with lithium polymer batteries to provide maximum battery life in a compact space. To understand battery technology and battery life, it's good to know common battery terminology:
- Cycle count: Batteries are expected to function for a certain number of cycles. This number represents the sum of total and partial discharge cycles throughout the life of the battery. You can see the cycle count limit for your computer by reviewing Determining battery cycle count for Mac notebooks.
- Full charge capacity: Measured in mAH (milliampere-hours), this refers to the amount of power the battery is capable of containing, less the energy required to shut down the device. This number lowers as the battery becomes depleted with usage and age.
- Remaining charge capacity: This number represents the current amount of power left in the battery as measured in mAh (milliampere-hours). Using the computer when not connected to AC power will cause this number to lower as power is depleted from the battery.
- Consumed/depleted: Consumable parts are those that deplete over time as their internal components are used. Batteries, due to their chemical components, are considered consumables, and over time they lose their ability to hold a charge. If the cycle count on a battery exceeds its expected limit, the battery is considered consumed.
- Defective: Batteries are considered defective when they stop working due to a defect in materials or workmanship, or due to a manufacturing defect. Defective batteries are covered under Apple's one-year limited warranty and extended service contracts.
- Load: The amount of activity being performed by a task or tasks. Certain power-intensive processes place a heavier load on the battery and result in a much-reduced runtime per charge.
Setting up your Mac for the first time
When you set up your Mac for the first time, some activities — like setting up Mail and Photos, downloading your files from iCloud and indexing your files with Spotlight — can use more power than your Mac requires in general use.
If you have a large amount of data to transfer over Wi-Fi, it might take a few days for your Mac to finish its setup process. It's best to keep your computer connected to a power source during this time. Once setup is complete, the battery life will begin to reflect the regular activities you perform on your Mac.
The battery status menu
Your primary resource for viewing battery status is the battery status menu. It shows you how much charge your battery has and whether it's currently charging. This menu is on the right-hand side of the menu bar:
The battery status menu also tells you if your display or any apps are using significant energy. Click Display Brightness if it's listed under Using Significant Energy, and your display dims to 75% brightness. Also consider closing any apps that are listed to save battery power.
To see the health of your battery, hold the Option key and click the battery icon in the menu bar to reveal the battery status menu. You'll see one of the following status indicators:
- Normal: The battery is functioning normally.
- Service Recommended: The battery's ability to hold charge is less than when it was new or it isn't functioning normally. You can safely continue to use your Mac but you should take it to an Apple Store or Apple Authorised Service Provider to get your battery evaluated.
In earlier versions of macOS, the battery status might display Replace Soon, Replace Now or Service Battery if your battery holds less of a charge than when it was new or needs to be serviced. If the battery's lowered charging capacity is affecting your experience, get your battery evaluated at an Apple Store or Apple Authorised Service Provider.
While some third-party apps report on battery health conditions, the data reported by these apps may be inaccurate and isn't a conclusive indication of actual diminished system run time. It's best to rely on the information reported in the battery health menu, described above.
Optimising battery life
Your notebook battery life depends on your computer's configuration and how you're using the computer. Here are some settings and steps you can take to get the most from your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro battery.
Check Energy Saver settings
The Energy Saver pane in System Preferences has options to help improve the battery life on your Mac notebook when it's idle. For instance, setting your display to sleep when idle temporarily turns off the backlight and significantly improves the battery life.
Deselecting 'Enable Power Nap while on battery power' can also extend your battery's charge.
On Mac notebook computers introduced in 2016 or later, the display brightness adjusts to 75% when you unplug the computer from power if you have 'Slightly dim the display while on battery power' enabled.
The example above is from macOS Catalina. Some features such as Automatic graphic switching and Power Nap aren't available on all Mac notebooks or versions of macOS.
Adjust keyboard and display brightness
Your Mac notebook's built-in keyboard has settings that can help automatically conserve battery power:
- To allow your keyboard's backlight to automatically dim or brighten, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, select Keyboard, then select 'Adjust keyboard brightness in low light'.
- In the Keyboard section of System Preferences, you can also allow your keyboard's backlight to turn off after a period of inactivity.
You can use the F5 and F6 keys to manually adjust your keyboard's brightness, setting it as low as possible while still allowing you to see the keys.
Your display's brightness has a major effect on battery life, and allowing your display to automatically adjust can significantly help to conserve power. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences and then select Displays. Enable 'Automatically adjust brightness' to allow your display to dim or brighten based on your surrounding's light levels.
To manually adjust your display's brightness to a comfortable level, use the F1 and F2 keys.
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can quickly adjust your display brightness by tapping in the Control Strip on the right-hand side of the Touch Bar. To access the keyboard brightness buttons, tap in the Control Strip:
The Control Strip expands, and you can tap to adjust your display's brightness, and tap to adjust keyboard brightness:
Check graphics settings
MacBook Pro 15-inch and 16-inch notebooks commonly include two graphics processors, or GPUs. You might see them documented as a discrete GPU and an integrated GPU. The discrete GPU generally provides substantial performance at the expense of high power draw. The integrated GPU allows for optimal battery life, but in most cases doesn't have the performance of a discrete GPU.
For optimal battery life on your MacBook Pro, use automatic graphics switching.
Turn off features and technologies that use power
Mac notebooks have a number of integrated technologies that can have a significant effect on battery power.
- If you don't need Wi-Fi or bluetooth, you can turn off Wi-Fi or bluetooth from their menu bar icons or in System Preferences. This will help save power.
- External USB, SD card and Thunderbolt devices connected to your notebook can also draw power and should be disconnected for optimal battery performance.
A great place to start when troubleshooting battery issues is the built-in diagnostics that are available on your Mac notebook. Learn how to use Apple Diagnostics on your Mac.
If Apple Diagnostics tells you that your battery requires service and cites reference code PPT004, you should confirm this issue by running Apple Diagnostics over the internet, which uses the latest diagnostic information. To do this, turn off your Mac by choosing Shut Down from the Apple menu . Then press the power button to turn on your Mac. Immediately press and hold Option-D until Apple Diagnostics begins.
If running Apple Diagnostics over the Internet confirms the issue, contact Apple or take your computer to an Apple Authorised Service Provider or Apple Retail Store. They'll tell you which service and support options are available.
If you don't find any issues with Apple Diagnostics, read on for more information about troubleshooting your battery.
Battery App For Mac Pro
My battery runtime is low
- If you recently set up your Mac, wait until your Mac is finished with initial setup. When you use your Mac for the first time, activities like setting up Mail and Photos, migrating your iCloud content and indexing your files with Spotlight use more power than your Mac requires in general use. If you have a large amount of data to transfer, it can take several days before your battery life returns to average daily use.
- Identify what the battery life should be for the product you're using. The Tech Specs site provides Apple's battery life expectations for battery usage. The specifics for wireless web usage and standby time are included in the Tech Specs article for each product.
- Learn how to minimise common causes of battery drain:
- Optimise your battery life using the Optimising Battery Life section earlier in this article.
- Learn how apps can affect Mac battery performance. Some applications — such as web browsers, video editing software and video games — require more power based on how you're using them. Check regularly for updates to your software — it's important to use the latest versions available.
- Configure automated backup and sync software to run only when your computer is connected to a power source or to pause when your battery level drops below a certain percentage.
- Check Activity Monitor for any malfunctioning software processes, especially after installing software updates or a new operating system. Installing updates is important to ensure optimal performance for all applications.
- If you still have battery issues after optimising your computer's performance and checking for malfunctioning software processes, test in safe mode. Safe mode limits the active items on the system and allows testing in a more minimal environment. If the battery life is better in safe mode, you might need to do further software isolation for the items disabled by safe mode to determine what the power draw is while not operating in safe mode.
My battery isn't charging
Confirm the correct wattage AC adaptor for your computer. A power adaptor rated for a lower wattage than is required for the system might not reliably charge the computer. If you're not sure which power adaptor to use with your computer, learn how to find the right power adaptor and cord for your Mac notebook.
For more help, learn what to do if your USB-C power adaptor isn't charging your Mac notebook. If issues persist, reset the SMC.
My battery won't charge to 100%
Occasionally, the battery might not show a full charge (100%) in macOS, even after the power adaptor has been connected for an extended period of time. The battery might appear to stop charging between 93 per cent and 99 per cent. This behaviour is normal and will help to prolong the overall life of the battery.
My battery isn't recognised
If the battery in your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro is fully drained of power, the battery will put itself into a low power state to preserve its ability to charge in the future.
Connect your Mac notebook to AC power and allow it to charge for at least five minutes. If the 'connect to power' screen persists after charging for five minutes, reset the SMC.
The low battery warning doesn't display
If you don't receive a warning when your battery has a low charge, generally reported at or under 15%, it might be because the battery menu bar icon is disabled. Follow these steps to enable the battery status menu item:
- Open System Preferences.
- Click Energy Saver.
- Select the 'Show battery status in menu bar' tickbox to display the battery status menu item.
Portables using OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later display the low battery warning when the battery has approximately 10 minutes of power remaining. Earlier versions of OS X report it at 15% or less.
Servicing the battery in your Mac notebook
MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers with built-in batteries should only have their batteries replaced by an Apple Authorised Service Provider or Apple Retail Store. Attempting to replace a built-in battery yourself could damage your equipment, and such damage is not covered by warranty.
Most older Mac notebooks have removable batteries that you can replace yourself. Contact an Apple Authorised Service Provider or Apple Retail Store for assistance servicing a removable battery.
Battery warranty information
Your Apple One-Year Limited Warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. If you purchased an AppleCare Protection Plan for your Mac notebook, Apple will replace the notebook battery at no charge if it retains less than 80 per cent of its original capacity. If you don't have cover, you can have the battery replaced for a fee.
Learn more about the batteries used in Apple products.
In this article, we'll look at common problems and 5 fixes for these MacBook and MacBook Pro battery problems.
Why is my Mac battery draining so fast?
There can be a number of reasons. For example, different browsers consume different amounts of battery power.
In some cases, a recent upgrade to a new macOS can be the cause and therefore a temporary problem. It either stops doing this in its own time, or a new macOS patch/upgrade is sent through and once downloaded the problem goes away. It is known to happen around the time of new releases and is an issue many Mac owners anticipate.
However, in other cases, the issue is less widespread and more localized. We cover five of the most common problems and fixes for Mac users, in particular MacBook owners who have suffered from a fast draining battery.
5 solutions for Mac battery problems
1. Check and change Battery Settings
In the top menu, where the battery appears, it’s always useful to switch usage to a statistics setting, so that you can clearly see how fast it's draining.
If you click on the battery, it will show which apps are using the most amount of power.
- From here, click on Open Energy Saver Preferences
- Within this you’ve got the option to put the hard disks to sleep and dim the display when a Mac is not connected to power.
2. Switch on Energy Saver
Always useful when trying to conserve battery power on any device, and it could be a lifesaver if you happen to be out without a power cord or plug.
- From the Apple menu;
- Go to System Preferences > Energy Saver
- Now click on the Battery tab
- A slider should be on this screen: Switch Power Nap off, while sliding the scale along to ensure the screen goes dark after a reasonable amount of time when not being used, which should reduce battery drainage.
3. Find out what is using energy
When investigating a fast draining battery, it’s always useful to know what is using energy in the first place. To find out, follow these steps:
- Go to Applications;
- Click on Utilities > Activity Monitor;
- Activity Monitor will show what is taking up CPU and GPU;
- Giving you the ability to close anything that is clearly taking up too much battery power.
4. Identify background apps
Behind the scenes, most Macs can run dozens of apps without us realizing it. Some of these could be running because we forgot about them. Others open during the startup sequence. And others, without us knowing it, could be malware or ransomware, or other viruses, either designed to steal data or steal processing power to mine cryptocurrency or even run remote DDoS attacks.
Now, clearly that sort of thing isn’t ideal and you won’t want apps running that drain power, steal data, or that use your Mac for something you aren't even aware. To solve these potential battery draining problems, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Download CleanMyMac X (for free, here)
- Click on Uninstaller
- It will run a scan of every app on your system: Either click to rest or safely uninstall everything you don't need or aren't aware of.
Also, click the Optimization tab in CleanMyMac. You’ll find the tool called Launch Agents.
It displays tiny background applications otherwise non visible to a user. This very often gets exploited by advertising scripts — a sure way to drain your battery power.
As you can see, these items can be easily switched off using the Disable button.
5. Adjust screen brightness
The brightest lightbulbs consume more energy, same is true for your screen's lighting. In your Preferences, look up Displays settings and do a couple of tune-ups there. Make sure to tick 'Automatically adjust brightness' checkbox.
Mac Battery Health App
6. Clean up your Mac
Coconut Battery Mac
Macs battery benefits from various forms of cleaning. Why? Because the cluttered hard drive uses more CPU resources. The more strain on CPU, the more it affects and eventually wears off your battery. There are dozens of pretty good tools to remove hidden junk from Mac but my personal favorite is CleanMyMac X. It's so enjoyable to use even for such a trivial operation as deleting junk files.
- Download CleanMyMac X — here 's a link to a free edition
- Click on the System Junk tab
As you can see, I was able to remove 18.9 GB worth of useless files: caches, broken downloads, localizations, etc.
Battery Health App For Mac
Sit back and know that with a tidy Mac, with it free from all of the clutter of years of use — and a monitoring system in place to look after it — your battery should be operating at optimum levels again.