Battery Saving Tips For Mac Notebooks

Written by Tim Baran

Jun 24, 2013
Battery saving tips for MacsFor road warriors and remote workers in coffee shops, the new 12-hour battery life MacBook Air is a dream come true. But if you’re not ready to make the upgrade or switch just yet, here are a few battery saving tips for your existing Mac notebook.

Adjust Screen Brightness – Screen brightness has a significant impact on battery life. To set the default brightness level, go to System Preferences > Display, and slide the Brightness ruler to the lowest level you can handle. With the default brightness level set, you can easily adjust brightness up or down as needed, using the F2 and F1 keys.

Adjust Energy Saver preferences – Go to System Preferences > Energy Saver. Slide the Computer sleep and Display sleep bars as far left as you’re comfortable with, then select the following checkboxes:

Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible.
Slightly dim the display when using this power source.
Automatically reduce brightness before display goes to sleep.

Mac battery saving preferences
Turn off Bluetooth – When bluetooth is on, your computer periodically searches for things to connect to. Turn it off if you don’t regularly connect to external devices. Go to System Preferences > Bluetooth, and uncheck the box marked On.

Use Time Machine only when plugged in – The built-in Time Machine automatically backs up your Mac. It keeps hourly, daily and weekly backups. Since most of your important information is likely stored in the cloud – Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, iCloud, etc, turn off Time Machine updates when using battery power. Go to System Preferences > Time Machine > Options, and deselect the Backup while on battery power checkbox.

Close unused windows and tabs – Some tabs may display static web pages, but others may have active scripts, flash, video, page refreshes and plugins, draining battery power. Keep open tabs to a minimum. While you’re at it, close unused apps also.

Pause syncing apps – When I’m in a power crunch and need a few more minutes of battery life, I pause Dropbox and Evernote auto-syncing. Dropbox is easy – simply click on the icon in the menu bar, click on the gears icon and choose Pause Syncing. Evernote is a bit more complicated – you’ll have to go into the apps’ preferences and disable syncing and remember to turn it on again.

Activity Monitor – Some applications or open web pages with lots of activity can quickly drain the battery. If you see that happening, do a Spotlight search for Activity Monitor, find the guilty party under the %CPU column, highlight it and click on Quit Process. This has saved me many times.

Others recommend more extreme and complicated steps , but I’d rather balance convenience, security and a productive working environment with battery saving measures.

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