How to Maximize Battery Life and Lifespan of a Mac

Introduction

Getting the most out of your MacBook's battery involves some care and some simple maintenance.

This guide will walk you through updating, basic care, and some things you can check to get the longest, and best performance from your Mac.

Apple MacBook.

1 Updates Check

Apple takes care of a great many battery optimizations for you, through software updates.

Making sure your Mac is up to date is often the first, and easiest way to ensure you're battery life will be good, as well as keeping your Mac in excellent working condition, generally.

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Getting the most out of your MacBook's battery involves some care and some simple maintenance.

This guide will walk you through updating, basic care, and some things you can check to get the longest, and best performance from your Mac.

Apple MacBook.

Apple takes care of a great many battery optimizations for you, through software updates.

Making sure your Mac is up to date is often the first, and easiest way to ensure you're battery life will be good, as well as keeping your Mac in excellent working condition, generally.

  1. Select the Apple menu, then App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. You will now see the app store pull up. Select Updates.
    macOS 10.14 Mojave or LaterApp Store side bar with Updates highlighted.
    macOS 10.13 High Sierra or EarlierApp store menu bar with Updates highlighted.
Any version of macOS 10.7 (Lion) or older can check for available updates through the Apple Menu and Software Updates.

Operating your Mac in low temperatures can cause a shorter battery life for that use. Doing so does not cause damage.

Operating, charging, or storing your Mac in high temperatures, such as in your car in a parking lot, can cause damage to your Mac's battery, decreasing the charge it will hold long-term. This damage is not reversible, and would require the battery to be replaced.

Temperature When Using Your Mac

Like most electronic equipment and most batteries, your Mac and its battery does not function well in extreme heat or extreme cold.
MacBook Comfort Zone diagram.

  • Apple recommends an ideal operating temperature between 50°F and 95°F (10°C and 35°C).
  • If your Mac is too hot, the battery will not charge to full; it will charge to around 80% and stop, to avoid damaging the battery.
  • If possible, avoid leaving your Mac in direct sunlight on warmer days. The combination of the warm ambient temperature and direct sunlight can bring your Mac's temperature up well beyond the recommended range very quickly.

Temperature When Storing Your Mac

Again, as with most electronics and batteries, the way your Mac is stored can affect its battery life.

  • Apple recommends an ideal storing temperature between -4°F and 113°F (-20°C and 45°C).
  • If you're storing your Mac for more than 12 hours, it is recommended to Shut Down your Mac, rather than leave it in Stand By (just closing the lid).
    • To Shut Down your Mac, select the Apple Menu, then select Shut Down.
      Apple menu with Shut Down highlighted.
    • If you intend to store your Mac for longer than a week, it's best to bring the battery to between 40% and 60% charge before turning it off for storage. Do not fully charge, or discharge, the battery before you store your Mac.

There's a number of different areas to check on your Mac to make sure your battery is going to provide you the best performance.

You may, or may not need to check every last item listed. If you are using, or depend on a feature of your Mac, such as Wi-Fi, it's best to leave it enabled for now, and disable that feature last.

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
    apple menu with system Preferences highlighted
  2. Choose Energy Saver.
    System Preferences with energy saver highlighted
  3. Drag the slider bar at the top all the way to the right to disable turning off the display.
    Energy Saver Preferences

When trying to maximize the battery life on your Mac, it's often a good idea to check all different areas. This way, you have the best chance of getting the best battery life from your Mac.

Try using your Mac now, after charging. You should notice an improvement in how long you can use your Mac between recharges.

It's best to test for a day or two, then return to this guide.

  1. Select Apple menu > System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Displays.
    System Preferences with Displays highlighted.
  3. Check the Brightness slider and options.
    Display preferences with Brightness highlighted.
    • If your Mac has the option, it can use its built-in ambient light sensor, and try to adjust the display brightness automatically to a comfortable level.
    • If you do not have this option, or choose to disable it, use this slider to make the display brighter or dimmer so it is comfortable to use, yet as low as possible.

This will stop your ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks, and you will be unable to use the Internet or other network resources over Wi-Fi until you turn it back on.

  1. Click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar. By default it will be in the upper right corner near the time and date.
    Wi-Fi symbols.
  2. Select Turn Wi-Fi Off.
    Wi-Fi menu with Turn Wi-Fi Off highlighted.
  1. Open the Apple menu and then click on System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences selected. Screenshot.
  2. Click on Bluetooth.
    System Preferences with Bluetooth selected. Screenshot.

  3. Click Turn Bluetooth Off.
    Bluetooth radio toggled OFF. Screenshot.

External devices, such as mice, keyboards, and drives, use power from your computer to function.

If you are not using a device, it's best to disconnect it from your computer, to help save battery life.

When you hit the red circle to close a window, the program may still run in the background. If you run too many applications at the same time you can have issues where you run out of memory, or an open program is using a good chunk of your CPU, and decrease battery life.

There are 2 ways to close a program on your Mac. The first way is preferred.

Quit A Program Normally

  1. Look at the Dock, the bar with the icons, usually at the bottom of your screen.
    Mac Dock with running items highlighted.
    • Items that are running have a small black dot below them. Select that item to bring that App to the forefront.

Finder, the first icon on the bar, will always be running, and can be ignored.

  1. Select the name of the program from the menu bar at the top, then choose Quit.
    App menu with Quit highlighted.

Force Quit a Program

  1. Select the Apple menu, then select Force Quit.
    Apple menu with Force Quit highlighted.
  2. Select the program you are having problems closing, then select Force Quit.
    Force Quit window with app and Force Quit button highlighted.
  3. You will be prompted to confirm, select Force Quit.
    Force Quit dialog with Force Quit button highlighted.
  • Any unsaved work will be lost from a program that you Force Quit.
  • You can not close the Finder application.

When your Mac starts up, it launches extra programs you, or other programs have setup to launch right away. These programs are 'in use' on the computer, so they decrease battery life and can cause your Mac to run slower. It's best to disable these programs if you are not using them.

  1. Select Apple menu > System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Users & Groups.
    System Preferences with Users and Groups highlighted.
  3. Select Login Items.
    Users and Groups with Login Items highlighted.
  4. Select the lock at the bottom.
    Users and Groups with lock highlighted.
  5. Enter your password, then select Unlock.
    Password prompt with Password and Unlock highlighted.
  6. Select items you do not use, then select the minus button at the bottom to remove that item from startup.
    Users and Groups Login Items with items list and minus sign highlighted.

Any items you've removed will remain running until you reboot your computer. You don't have to reboot right away, simply do so at your next convenience.

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
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