The batteries of our laptops give us the freedom to take our work and / or entertainment to any place, but also – paradoxically – we are chained to that small indicator of charge and the dreaded gradual wear of its capacity. But knowing how to take care of the laptop battery does not have to be a declaration of income, much less, and here we will give you some keys to make your faithful companion’s battery endure more and live a thousand battles.
TAKE CARE OF THE CYCLES, KEEP YOUR BATTERY
All laptops batteries are designed to handle a certain amount of charge cycles, usually around 500 full cycles, and sometimes even more. Essentially, a charge cycle equals a complete discharge up to zero percent, which is followed by a recharge of up to 100 percent. A discharge of up to 50 percent and then a 100 percent recharge would be equivalent to half a cycle. Over time, each charge cycle decreases the capacity of a battery, according to its design specifications, which means that the fewer times you recharge it, the longer the battery will last.
And then, where do we start? You can start by visiting the power settings corner of your laptop and learn how your battery works, as well as what settings to enable. Also, pay attention to hibernation modes. Ideally, your laptop goes into hibernation mode before the battery runs out completely, as well as during downtime, when you are not going to use the laptop for a while.
To save even more energy, take a tour of your applications and exit all those running in the background. In Windows 10, for example, we suggest you search and activate Battery Saver. This mode will be activated automatically when your laptop reaches approximately 20% of the useful life. The Battery Save will automatically block background applications, and prevent features such as Calendar from synchronizing or sending notifications. In addition, it will decrease the brightness of the screen and apply other settings that will conserve the battery.
For MacBook’s, consider enabling Power Nap so you can “sleep” your Mac without worrying about skipping important tasks, saving more battery life. Enabling automatic graphics switching can also help Mac computers save energy, switching to a lower graphics mode when engaged in simple tasks (such as a text-based job where graphics are not as important).
There are also many manual changes you can make here. Cloud storage services or video players that you are not using can also be closed securely. You can also manually reduce the amount of energy you consume when turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re not using them, disable optional features such as keyboard backlight and, in general, reduce the number of power-consuming components. Both Microsoft and Apple have guides that explain this process.
KEEP YOUR BATTERY IN THE AREA
Years ago there was a problem called “battery memory”, which caused the nickel and metal hydride (NiMH) batteries to “forget” their full charge capacity and begin to recharge at increasingly lower levels. This problem no longer exists thanks to modern lithium-ion batteries, but it has resulted in bad advice on battery care, based particularly on outdated information. It’s time to clarify some things.
Contrary to some recommendations (almost urban legends, at this point), it is not necessary to completely discharge a lithium-ion battery and then recharge it to restart or calibrate it in some way; This is a destructive practice, and it is very hard for the battery. If it is a good idea – or not – to make a complete download a couple of times a year, this remains an unanswered question. Generally, the consensus says that it is best to let the battery discharge about 20 percent and then recharge it.
Users have also been advised to refrain from keeping their devices plugged in once they are charged, based on the idea that this could wear the battery more quickly. Today, however, modern devices are designed to stop charging 100 percent and, therefore, keeping them plugged in does not affect battery life, according to Battery University.
As with many questions related to the battery, the issue of keeping your laptop connected when its maximum capacity is reached is hotly debated, so there is nothing wrong with turning the machine off and unplugging it. If you are going to store your laptop for a long time, download it (or charge it) at 50 percent before closing it.
Generally speaking, the best thing you can do for your lithium-ion battery is to prevent it from discharging below 20 percent. The good news is that with batteries and modern systems there isn’t much else you should do, except expect your battery to start losing its total capacity over the years.
THE OVERHEAT PROBLEM
Today’s lithium-ion batteries are durable, but they cannot withstand so much heat. For example, if you are charging the battery and it starts to get too hot, it may be because the CPU or graphics processor is working hard, or maybe the environment is too hot. Close or turn off the device. Give it a rest to cool down, or move to a place with a lower temperature. Of course, many modern laptops have sealed batteries, in which case it is recommended to cool the machine and let it cool, if you are interested in maximizing battery life.
Similarly, keep the laptop out of your lap. If the damage and discomfort are not enough reasons, realize that they also get worse by blocking the vents. You should ensure that both vents that receive fresh air and those that expel hot air can do their job.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, avoid placing your laptop anywhere it can get hot. This includes your car on a hot summer day, next to a window that receives direct sunlight, or near a stove. Unusual conditions like these can cause a lot of damage to a battery in a short period of time, although you may not realize it immediately.
Cold temperatures are generally not a problem to some extent, and it is recommended to store your laptop in a cool place. Just don’t leave your laptop at freezing temperatures. Too cold can also kill the battery or reduce its life.
If you want to control the temperature even more closely (if, for example, you live in a particularly warm climate), we tell you that there are a number of applications that you can run and that will control the heat of your laptop. These include Core Temp and Real Temp for Windows, which you can download for free.
SOFTWARE AND YOUR BATTERY
Finally, a tip about your software: keep it updated! Companies work hard to improve the way programs use power through software updates. The same updated operating system could use much less battery, giving you a longer life and without changing anything. Check your operating system and keep your machine and battery with a healthy “update diet”.
Erika White is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. Erika is based in Manhattan but travels much of the year. Erika has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN Money, and the Huffington Post. Here at Morning News Ledger, Erika covers entertainment stories, focusing on performance arts and culture.