You might think that you need to invest in a bigger technologically-advanced battery if your laptop isn’t holding as much of a charge as you want. Try these eight tips before you rush over to your favorite shopping site and plunk down some cash.
All of these tips are free and should work no matter what brand of laptop you own or what operating system you’re running! In many cases, the same advice can work wonders for your phones, tablets and other mobile devices too.
Unplug Peripherals You’re Not Using
External hard drives are great for watching long movies off of, but they take a ton of power away from the rest of your computer. Video game controllers, microphones, USB memory sticks, microSDXC card readers and other goodies all zap electricity as well. External devices use even more power if they’re connected via Bluetooth.
Removing these peripherals when you’re not using them can potentially add upwards of an hour to your laptop’s battery. Always make sure to properly eject drives and then fully unplug them. This will help save more power and ensure you don’t lose any data.
Tweak Your Power Settings
Regardless of which OS you use, there’s bound to be an integrated power manager that tells your laptop to automatically shut down when you’re not using this. You can usually access it by going into the Control Panel in Windows or clicking on the battery icon in macOS and Linux.
Once there, you can tell your machine to go into standby or blank the screen after a predetermined period of time. If you have a tendency to walk away from your computer and forget about it, then this is a great way to solve that problem.
Dial Down Your Backlight
Most laptops made in the last decade or so allow you to dial back the screen brightness, which could help your eyes as well as your battery. Click on the battery icon in your task manager or Apple bar, depending on which OS you’re using. A slider should pop up that you can use to reduce how much light your screen is putting off.
Take a look at your keyboard. If you have an Fn key, then chances are you have a brightness key as well. It’s usually shared with F1 and F2. Hold these down at the same time to adjust brightness on the fly. Once you get the hang of it, you can end up saving a ton of battery life.
Close Tasks You Don’t Use
Every program you have open just eats up more memory and CPU power, which in turn uses up your battery. Close anything you’re not using at the time. If you have some stubborn programs that won’t close, then you can use the old-fashioned Ctrl+Alt+Del keyboard shortcut to open a task manager.
Keep in mind you don’t want to close anything you’re not familiar with!
Shut Extra Browser Tabs
Modern browsers run each tab in a separate process, which means your adventures on the web could be sucking a ton of battery life away. Make sure to close any tabs you don’t need any longer. This is also great for performance, since too many tabs can slow down an otherwise healthy system.
Some browsers, like Chrome and Chromium, offer a mini task manager when you push Shift+Esc. You can use this to see how much CPU time each tab is sucking away.
Don’t Leave Your Charger Plugged In All the Time
Whenever your charger is plugged in, it’s actively charging the battery. Over time, this can reduce your battery’s lifespan. Make sure you periodically unplug it and use the battery naturally, which can help to level things out a bit. Some manufacturers actually recommend pulling the battery out when you plan on running it off wall power for too long, but this usually isn’t necessary if you just make sure to regularly unplug it.
Take the charger out of your laptop as well!
Change Your Charging Habits
You shouldn’t constantly run your battery all the way down and then run it back up again. This can force it to not charge fully over time. On some days, run your battery until it really needs to be charged. Only discharge it about 10 or 20 percent on others. Occasionally top off a battery that’s only been discharged a little bit. By changing up the way you charge, your battery’s chemistry won’t build up a memory.
Turn Off Wireless Networking
Usually, you’re going to want to have Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity on when you’re browsing the web or playing games. If you’re just using programs that run right off your machine though, then you can disable wireless networking and save a lot of juice that way. ChromeOS and Windows 10 users can enable Airplane Mode to immediately switch off all networking functionality.
Even if you still need the Internet, you might be able to at least switch off Bluetooth if you’re not using it. Users who only ever plug things in via USB can switch Bluetooth connectivity off and probably won’t ever realize they did it.