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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Best for battery life?


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newbimac

 
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Got a new 13" MBA, is there anything I should be doing to get the best battery life, such as leaving on charge for 24 hours and then allowing it to fully discharge, for example?
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pendlewitch

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbimac View Post
Got a new 13" MBA, is there anything I should be doing to get the best battery life, such as leaving on charge for 24 hours and then allowing it to fully discharge, for example?
Hi there.

You only need to fully discharge the battery once every few months in order to re-calibrate the fuel indicator. Instructions are on the Apple support website

My top tips are:

Don't regularly charge from the red zone as this is damaging to Lithium batteries.
Don't leave it on charge all the time.
Re-charge with smaller more frequent charges and this will keep your battery ions moving properly.

Cheers

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newbimac

 
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So in terms of keeping the battery in good condition, if I get home and have 70% battery life left rather than just leave it in my bag and think 70% is enough to get me through tomorrow i'd be better off charging it back up to 100%?

Also is the a "sweet spot" or best compromise for screen brightness in terms of brightness vs battery life, i.e. does 50 % give a noticeable more battery life than say 60% or is it just what you'd expect?
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cwa107

 
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Apple has a great article about this, I'd highly recommend giving it a once over:

Apple - Batteries - Notebooks

Screen brightness doesn't matter as much as it used to in this era of LED-backlit screens. The power consumption is significantly lower than traditional CCFL-backlit screens. I'd say the differences are negligible at any brightness level in terms of battery runtime. Where you can really maximize your runtime is in the software you use - particularly playing videos in a browser and other CPU-intensive tasks can significantly degrade your runtime.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Shootist

 
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The thing to do is Use It but don't Abuse it.

Never let the battery run down until the unit turns off by itself. That is very bad for the battery.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
Never let the battery run down until the unit turns off by itself. That is very bad for the battery.
Not according to Apple. Please read.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Shootist

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Not according to Apple. Please read.
Have you read that article?
No where in it does it say to Completely discharge the battery. It also does not say not to completely discharge the battery, which can be confusing to some people.

It also says, Quote

If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month.

End Quote

That does not mean to Completely drain the battery. It does mean to use the battery by discharging it and then recharging it without giving any specs on how much to discharge before you recharge it. It is just to keep the Electrons moving in the battery, as stated earlier in the article.

If you do some searches on how to care for lithium batteries they will tell you that completely discharging them is not good for the battery.

And although the Mac, or any, notebook will shut off when the battery gets to a certain point it really does not Turn Off completely. It will go into a sleep mode state which will also draw power until the battery is Completely drained.

Thanks.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
Have you read that article?
No where in it does it say to Completely discharge the battery. It also does not say not to completely discharge the battery, which can be confusing to some people.
Sure it does.

Apple refers to this process as "calibration" and it does refer to completely discharging and recharging the battery:

Apple Portables: Calibrating your computer's battery for best performance

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
Have you read that article?
No where in it does it say to Completely discharge the battery. It also does not say not to completely discharge the battery, which can be confusing to some people.
I think what "cwa107" is saying is...no where in the Apple battery article does it say that completely discharging a battery till the computer shuts off...is "bad" for the battery.

Since this is an Apple article...if discharging the battery until the computer shuts off was bad for the battery...then the Apple article would probably mention this as a "bad thing to do". Since it does not..."cwa107" is probably pointing out...that making such a statement may lead folks to incorrect conclusions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
If you do some searches on how to care for lithium batteries they will tell you that completely discharging them is not good for the battery.
I completely agree with you...that there are probably some articles on the internet that say this. Also consider that there are LOTS & LOTS of misleading information on the internet...and not everything is correct.

Since this is an internet forum for Macintosh computers...and Apple products...our best information to follow for the maintenance & use of Apple computers & products...is to follow what Apple recommends. Which in this case...is the Apple battery maintenance article linked earlier.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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cwa107

 
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Thanks Nick.

Batteries are not a precise science. So, our policy on Mac-Forums is to point to Apple's specific recommendations.

Yes, there are vastly differing views on what's best for notebook batteries. But what we've found over time here is that if you occasionally do a calibration as Apple recommends, it tends to produce very good results.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Yes, there are vastly differing views on what's best for notebook batteries.
Boy is there ever!!!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Shootist

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Sure it does.

Apple refers to this process as "calibration" and it does refer to completely discharging and recharging the battery:

Apple Portables: Calibrating your computer's battery for best performance
Really you have to start reading the articles you are posting links to.

QUOTE:

Portables with built-in batteries
Current Apple portable computer batteries are pre-calibrated and do not require the calibration procedure outlined in this article. These computers use batteries that should be replaced only by an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

MacBook

MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009) and later

MacBook Air

MacBook Air, all versions

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009) and later
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) and later
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009) and later


END QUOTE:


In the end everyone will do as they like, and that is the way I like it.
So you put your money down and you take your chances.

Have a great day.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
Really you have to start reading the articles you are posting links to.
I have read them. Yes, they are pre-calibrated and don't require a initial calibration. But this article, in tandem with the previous article refer to specific circumstances where calibration is a desirable process.

The point in question was whether it was ever necessary (or recommended) to completely drain and recharge the battery. As noted, there are circumstances in which it is recommended.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Shootist

 
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I must disagree.

And I will continue to post my point of view from years of personal experience.

Thanks and have a great Saturday.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
I must disagree.

And I will continue to post my point of view from years of personal experience.

Thanks and have a great Saturday.
And that's fine. The reality is, battery chemistry is not a precise science and experiences will vary. While, we as staff tend to lean toward Apple's recommendations here, I've had personal experiences that echo your own opinion.

I've worked in IT for a little over a decade and in a past life have been responsible for the administration of several hundred laptops (mostly Dells and Lenovos). I'd say the vast majority of those laptops sat docked and fully charged for most of their lives - and those batteries would have decent life even after 3-4 years (their average service life).

With that said, I've seen members here who were religious about doing a calibration once per month and have had battery health reported at 98% after a full year of usage. So, it's really kind of a crapshoot.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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