(949) 478-1502
How to Increase Your Laptop Battery Life
The inconvenient truth is that the battery in your PC or Mac laptop won’t last as long as the manufacturer advertises unless you pay attention to some key factors: your power settings, how many apps you’re running, even the temperature of the room in which you’re working. The good news is that none of this requires very much work to sort out, once you know which settings to adjust. Let’s take a look at the highest-yield ways to get the most out of your laptop’s battery.
How to Increase Your Laptop Battery Life
Use the Windows Battery Performance Slider
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.

Simplify Your Workflow: Closing Apps, and Using Airplane Mode
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.

Close Specific Apps That Use Lots of Power
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.

Take Heed of Airflow
Take Heed of Airflow
Most laptops now come with lithium-polymer batteries that require much less maintenance than batteries of a decade ago, thanks as much to software and firmware improvements as innovation in the battery technology itself. You no longer have to perform a full battery discharge on a regular basis to calibrate it, nor do you have to worry that draining the battery completely will damage your laptop.

You do have to be careful about heat, however, which will hasten a battery’s demise. The biggest problems come from physical obstruction of the ventilation ports. Dust buildup is one problem, which you can take care of by cleaning the laptop’s vents and fan. (Periodically, use a can of compressed air to blow out some of the dust.) A more frequent issue that crops up, though, is using the laptop on a pillow or blanket, which can both obstruct the ventilation fan and retain the heat coming off of the system. Avoid this by using your laptop only on firm surfaces such as a table or a desk, which won’t flex and block airflow or cooling.

Keep an Eye on Your Battery’s Health
Keep an Eye on Your Battery's Health
In Windows 10, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and delve into world of the command prompts. First, type cmd into the Windows Search Bar in the lower left of the screen to summon the Command Prompt in Windows 10. Right-click on its search item and choose to run Command Prompt at an administrator level. Then, type powercfg /batteryreport at the prompt. Your PC will generate an HTML file whose location is displayed in the command prompt window. Open it, and check near the top for your battery’s design capacity, full charge capacity, and cycle count.
Carry a Battery Backup
Keep an Eye on Your Battery's Health
Finally, the easiest way to ensure that you always have enough battery power is to bring along an external battery pack.

These external power sources plug in to your laptop the same way your charger does. They generally cost between $100 and $200, but come with adapters for use with many different laptop models. They can be used on more than one system, and even for other devices, such as your phone or tablet.