n00b Questions

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Hello there!

Switched after using Windows for the longest time after getting a pre-owned Macbook Pro. Been lurking for a couple of days now and I have few questions, if y'all please. Thanks in advance!

  • How do you extend battery life? I used to remove the battery whenever I had to use my machine for more than 2hrs, mainly to avoid/reduce the battery's charging cycles. I typically use my machine anywhere between 2-18 hours a day.
  • Is Adware Medic is like Adblock?
  • I switch between the Mac and my office desktop (Windows), do I need an AV at all?
  • In relation to the previous question, what's the best format for an external hdd so I can use it between the Mac, the Windows desktop, and a Linux machine?
  • I installed MS Office for Mac and it has a ton of updates/patches. The frequency of updates/patches is one of the reasons why I shied away Windows. Do I need to install these at all?

These are the only questions I can think of at the moment.
 
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chscag

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2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 8, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 Mini, Numerous iPods, Monterey
1. Maximizing battery life for your MacBook Pro

2. Adware Medic is an adware removal program while Adblock does exactly what it says it does and that is... it blocks ads from your browser.

3. You certainly need AV on your Windows machine, but you already know that. You do not need an active AV scanning program for your Mac. Please read thru our security forum for more info.

4. The only compatible file format between Windows, OS X, and Linux is FAT. Of course there are drivers available for all three operating systems for interaction.

5. MS Office for the Mac does not have "a ton of updates". Definitely an overstatement. Mac Office 2011 is now at 14.4.5. And after all, it's a Microsoft program isn't it? Need I say more? And yes, you need to install all recommend patches from MS.
 
M

MacInWin

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Let me add to the battery discussion. LiIon batteries' life is measured in "cycles." A cycle is defined as fully flat to fully charged to fully flat. After a certain number of these, the battery starts to show decay in that it won't get to the same charge level, meaning it's useful time is slightly reduced. But LiIon batteries also decay with time, no matter how gently they are used. The decay starts about 24 months after manufacture (note, manufacture, not service or use). The decay is very slight, but increases over time. Cycles are also "fractional" to an extent. In other words, if you let the battery go from 100% to 50% and then recharge back to 100%, that's a half cycle. Theoretically you can add all these fractions to get the total load cycles of the battery, but it's not totally linear. You can get more that four times quarter cycles that full cycles, for example, because quarter cycles are "gentle" to the battery.

For example in my 2011 MBP I'm using right now, the original battery, rated at 8450mAh, now has a maximum charge of 8078mAh, or about 95.5% of original specs. CoconutBatttery reports that the battery has 54 full cycles on it during the 1328 days it has been in service. As you can see, I don't use the battery very hard. Most of the time my MBP sits on my desk, plugged into mains power, with the battery topped off, which is why it only has 54 full cycles. But if you do as you are doing, removing the battery, you aren't adding to the longevity. The circuitry in the MBP is designed to feed a trickle charge to the battery and to measure it's health. Removing it from the machine means the battery is no longer getting that trickle and sustainment, which means when you put it back in, it's actually going to be LOWER in strength that it would have been if you left it in.

Apple suggest a full discharge once a month. But that recommendation is not for battery health, but to allow the battery circuit to recalibrate the battery capacity so that the % or time remaining it shows is more accurate.

So, leave the battery in, leave the machine plugged in as much as you can and avoid deep discharges. The battery may well outlast your MBP that way.
 
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And, in case you do have a MacBook with removable battery, I would advise against removing the battery in use. Operation without battery will earn you a throttled CPU performance.
 
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Thanks, chscag and schlagi.

The circuitry in the MBP is designed to feed a trickle charge to the battery and to measure it's health. Removing it from the machine means the battery is no longer getting that trickle and sustainment, which means when you put it back in, it's actually going to be LOWER in strength that it would have been if you left it in.
Thanks a lot MacInWin.

It's good to know Apple configured their machines this way. I used to have a ThinkPad and really appreciated how it's battery was also fed trickle charges. But having owned 2 other brands where I don't see any control over the battery, I was worried that I would over-charge the Macbook's battery too.

So I can safely leave it plugged for 12hrs straight, right? And should I need to unplug it, would it be better to charge it before the level goes below 50% or 20%? (I'm currently observing the latter.)

Thanks again! I think I'll install CoconutBattery too.


EDIT: Do all Apple products work this way? iPads, iPhones?
 
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MacInWin

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My battery has been on mains power 24 hours/day for about 99% of the time. I rarely take it off mains, which is why I have so few power cycles on a battery that is almost 4 years old. If you need to take it off mains, it's better to try to get it back on mains before it reaches 50%. But don't let that scare you from using it as long as you need. Occasionally going down lower will NOT really impact the battery life, unless you do that repeatedly. And yes, iPads, iPhones all have that same power management process in place. Most, if not all, well made machines will have similar battery management. If you had two brands that did not, that would be surprising unless they were pretty far from mainstream.

Bottom line is, to preserve battery life keep it topped off as much as you can, use it as you need to, but be prepared that in about two years you'll start to see a rolloff that just accelerates over time. That's unavoidable because of the chemistry.
 
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And generally, it should be remembered that a battery is a consumable, which will naturally be used and need to be changed in due time. It is not designed to last through the life of the computer.
 

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