Best tips to extend your Mac battery life

Mac batteries don't last forever. Anyone with an iPhone will tell you that, but everyone with any long-term experience of Mac computers will eventually find out that batteries have a finite lifecycle. Apple's battery life estimates are based on reduced screen brightness, browsing the web or checking mail, running applications have a high Average Energy Impact, etc. If you've got the screen at 100%, are downloading gigs with poor Wi-Fi, and playing a game while you do it, your battery life will be substantially less.

Watch out for the warning signs. Charges don't last as long as they did when it was new. Macs can just shut down without any warning, which is really annoying when you're in the middle of doing some work, playing a game or watching a movie.

Mac batteries - in MacBook Air, Pro and iMac models - have lifespans measured in charging cycles, so once your charge stops lasting and starts drastically reducing it's a sure sign that your battery doesn't have any or many last. Some only have 300, or 500, and more expensive models have over 1000 charges in them; but, sooner or later, those charging cycles are going to run out.

But don't despair. We have a few sure-fire, tried-and-tested ways to extend your battery life and improve your Macs operating capacity.

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#1: Keep an eye on your battery

Before you worry about replacing it, check how it does over the course of a working day. Charge it to full, then unplug and see how long it takes to get down to the point where you really need to charge your Mac again.

In the top toolbar, you should see - or can see with an easy setting change - the battery percentage and time remaining until it needs a charge again. A Mac can display this in actual time - which can increase or reduce depending on the number of applications running at once - and a percentage of full charge available.

macOS default battery info

Another way, to monitor in more detail is with iStat Menus, available from Setapp. Not only will it alert you when battery performance and charging issues start to occur, but it can monitor CPU and GPU performance while also giving you a S.M.A.R.T. status monitor for a wide range of Mac features and applications.

Get battery info with iStat Menus app

One more helpful app is Endurance. Endurance  helps your Mac run 20% longer. This app runs in the background and when your battery level drops to a certain level, it automatically starts adjusting your settings and turning off features which use a lot of energy. The best part about Endurance is that all of the above can be both absolutely automatic and entirely customizable.

#2: Control network access

When apps are running, they're often set up to automatically connect to the web to make updates and backup, which drains battery life.

One way to prevent this is to download TripMode which blocks network access except when apps are whitelisted (by yourself). So that when an app needs to make an update or backup, you can control access, which is especially helpful when travelling and you are using public Wi-Fi or mobile data. 

Download TripMode and the other apps described in this article from Setapp: keep your Mac battery going longer and ensure your Mac is free from clutter and systems that drain your computer's energy.

#3: Use energy saver

Macs come with an inbuilt energy saving function, the same as any iPhone.

Switch to energy saving mode either directly through the battery (in the top toolbar) or in System Preferences to stop the dreaded mid-day battery drain.

#4: Clean your Mac

Most of us have way too much clogging up our Mac disk drives.

If you run a power-hungry app, you may want to close that application or switch to an alternative app that’s using less of power least in instances where you need your battery to last as long as possible. You can see what's running at startup and prevent apps from using battery power in the background until you launch them. 

How to see which apps are draining your Mac's battery? iStat Menus helps you to see what apps are using battery and energy on a Mac.

iStat Apps Using Significant Energy section

In fact, we probably have a lot more than we realize. Every time you connect an iPhone, iPad or iPod, a Mac duplicates everything stored on that external hard drive. Using iPhoto means multiple backups and duplicates are created, even though we often don't realize. Macs are littered with file copies, cache material and other junk that we really don't need.

All of this clutter drains batteries and takes up valuable space.

One of the easiest ways to clean up a Mac is with CleanMyMac X. Used by over 3 million people around the world, this identifies space hogs within your system and deletes them. On average, most Mac users find an extra 62GB of storage, which does wonders to battery performance and lifecycles.

Mac's cleanup complete

#5: Update your Mac OS

Longer battery life is something that Apple engineers often work on improving whenever a software update is released. People always need longer battery lifecycle's, so they keep using their Macs, which is important for any technology maker, especially Apple.

If you've not done so already, review the Mac OS X you are currently using and if it's outdated then now might be a great time to declutter your Mac, backup your files, then upgrade macOS. The most recent version is MacOS High Sierra.

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