Tips for Saving Battery Life on Mac

One of the main features of OS X Mavericks touted by Apple upon its release was improvement of battery life on laptop systems. The improved OS featured new abilities such as the ability to suspend battery-draining tasks (video editing, large file graphic designing) that were not in the foreground etc. However, even with such new features, you may find that your portable Mac has a very short battery life.

So, what do you do when your Mac is losing energy fast? Well, for starters, the first thing to saving battery life on Mac is to have an idea of how much battery is actually left. Many of you will already have enabled this option, but for those who haven’t, simply follow the steps below to enable an option to show your Mac’s battery status in the menu bar:

1. Open up System Preferences from the Apple menu:

OSX-Battery-Issues-System-Preferences

2. Click on the “Energy Saver” section of System Preferences.

Saving Battery Life on Mac - Energy-Saver

3. Enable the option to “Show battery status in menu bar.”

Saving Battery Life on Mac - Show-battery-menu-bar

Once you’ve done this, you’ll notice an extra section next to the Date and Volume icons in the menu bar, similar to the screenshot below:

OSX-Battery-Issues-Battery-menu-bar

This pane will let you monitor your battery status on the go. The most important information that you can get from this pane is which apps are taking up significant energy. You can then close extra unwanted apps to save some energy.

In addition, holding down the “Option” key and clicking on the battery icon will give you a little extra info in the form of your “Battery Condition.” This should be “Normal;” if it is any thing other than this, then your battery needs repairing or replacing. For this, take it to your nearest Authorized Apple Repair center or Apple Store.

OSX-Battery-Issues-Battery-Condition

The next thing that you can do is get some additional precise statistics on which apps and background processes are having a profound energy impact. For this:

1. Open up Activity Monitor either by Spotlight or by accessing it through “Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor.”

OSX-Battery-Issues-Activity-Monitor-Spotlight

2. In the window that opens, you can sort the “CPU” and “Energy” tabs by “%CPU” usage and “Energy Impact” respectively to view statistics of background process as well as various programs.

OSX-Battery-Issues-Energy-Impact

OSX-Battery-Issues-CPU-percent

Note: Make sure that “All Processes” is enabled in the View menu of Activity Monitor to ensure that the utility shows background processes too.

While the above tips let you go into the specifics of which apps are draining the most battery, there are also some general tips on how to save battery life. One example of this is to turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi options when they are not in use, which can be done by accessing the respective utilities’ menus in the Menu bar.

Other options include:

  • Dimming keyboards and displays as much as possible.
  • Putting your Mac to sleep when you’re not using it or when you take a break
  • Quitting unused applications and app windows, especially including active ones such as network monitors, scanners etc.
  • Closing Activity Monitor when unneeded. Keep in mind that whether you’re actually viewing it or not, Activity Monitor itself can sometimes take up 10 percent of system resources, so our advice is to only keep it open while you’re troubleshooting your system and then to close it.
  • Remove any third-party devices connected to your Mac when they are not in use.

Our last and final option is to enable the following options in Energy Saver (System Preferences -> Energy Saver):

OSX-Battery-Issues-Energy-Saver-Options

Enabling these options will ensure that your system’s hardware is only ramped up to high-energy usage when you need it.

Do you have any other tips for saving battery life on Mac? Be sure to tell us in the comments below.