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Old Jan 29, 2013, 12:44 PM   #1
mtreys
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Battery Maximization Techniques

I have the 2011 13" MBA and was just curious what methods you guys use to ensure you get every single minute out of your battery that you can. I get pretty good usage as about half of the time I have my wifi off to keep me on task, but what do you guys do to keep away from a power outlet?
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 12:50 PM   #2
GGJstudios
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Originally Posted by mtreys View Post
I have the 2011 13" MBA and was just curious what methods you guys use to ensure you get every single minute out of your battery that you can. I get pretty good usage as about half of the time I have my wifi off to keep me on task, but what do you guys do to keep away from a power outlet?
Run on battery whenever you need to and plug it in whenever you can. You can plug or unplug any time you need to, regardless of the charged percentage, and you never need to completely drain your battery. Just make sure you don't run on AC power exclusively, as your battery needs to be used regularly to stay healthy.

There are many factors that impact your battery life. See the BATTERY LIFE FROM A CHARGE section of the following link for details, including tips on how to maximize your battery life.

The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
Apple Notebook Battery FAQ
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:32 PM   #3
Mrbobb
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After a while, the "fun" of babysitting ur toy will worn off.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 05:25 PM   #4
Abazigal
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After a while, the "fun" of babysitting ur toy will worn off.
I agree. I personally don't bother, just use it or plug it in as and when I have to.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 07:24 PM   #5
designs216
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Well, the SSD in the Air helps and there's no discrete graphics card. Check Energy Saver settings to make sure they are optimized for battery life. Turn off Bluetooth if you don't need it. I also read that you shouldn't hide your SSID because the machine has to keep reaching out to verify. Yada, yada, yada...
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:08 PM   #6
Stingray454
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I set up a "hot corner" to power off the display when I move the mouse pointer to a specific corner. That way, whenever I'm in a meeting, lecture, get a phone call or not going to be using the computer for a few minutes for whatever reason, I can instantly power off the screen in like half a second

Sure, it powers off by itself after a few minutes of inactivity, but saving those minutes of lighting the screen sure adds up. Feels like I'm getting a lot more time out of the laptop since I started doing that. And ofcourse, using a moderate brightness (50%:ish or less usually) really helps too.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 10:00 PM   #7
Saturn1217
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funny you should mention this.

I had to do a lot of work today away from my desk so I decided to time the battery (really fun i know). I started at 8:20am in the morning and I was able to go until ~3pm and I was trying to conserve battery but at the same time I had real work to get done (web browsing, lots of powerpoint, some adobe illustrator and photoshop).

I'm one of those people who has istat menus set up in my menu bar and the activity monitor always open so I know exactly what is leading to extra cpu cycles. I also kept checking the MBA battery life estimates (which are wildly inaccurate and way too optimistic on my 2012 MBA at least).

Anyway here are some of the things that I thought made a difference based on my pseudo scientific testing:

If you can turn the screen brightness down do it. I find that my eyes adjust eventually to whatever screen brightness I use so if you aren't in a very bright environment turning it down helps a lot. (I was at 6 notches for most of this test)

Certain programs suck battery just by being open and others don't. Itunes, while playing music sucks battery life. Adobe Illustrator just sucks battery life just sitting there. Sometimes if you have something selected in preview or powerpoint and don't unselect it your cpu usage will spike.

Web browsing is actually fairly battery intensive (when considering the light tasks that one might do on a MBA). Scrolling through web pages takes a lot of cpu usage (was a huge issue on my old MBP not so much on the MBA). I find scrolling with the arrow keys through web pages instead of using the trackpad helps a lot.

If you are using your MBA off and on you can always use command-option + power button to put your mac to sleep if you don't feel like closing the lid. I feel like that is a really easy way to stop battery usage if you walk away for a second.

Obviously turn off the backlit keyboard and bluetooth if you are not using them (I hardly ever am so I don't know how much difference this makes).

That's all I've got for now but I must say that I am impressed that Apple's quoted battery estimate is so accurate. I got almost 7 hrs of real use out of mine. If Haswell can bump it to 9 hrs of real use though I may consider that.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 10:25 PM   #8
mtreys
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After a while, the "fun" of babysitting ur toy will worn off.
That lasted for me like 2 weeks after I got it last year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abazigal View Post
I agree. I personally don't bother, just use it or plug it in as and when I have to.
That's what I do now, I just wanted to see how other people go about it. Some people watch the battery percentages drop like flies and get nervous.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 01:08 AM   #9
JHUFrank
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Had mine for 2 years now, and never have really kept any eye on battery usage. The only time I really noticed a big battery change was upgrading it to Mountain Lion. I lost about 20% battery right off the bat. Still waiting on a patch to fix that.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 05:37 AM   #10
Abazigal
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I find that chrome seems like the power and resource hog compared to Safari (though it is admitably faster and smoother overall). I had a bunch of chrome tabs open, and found through activity monitor that each of them sucked up a fair bit of RAM.

Not an issue on my imac, but because I favoured safari on my macbook, ultimately decided to switch to safari on my imac as well.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 06:53 AM   #11
Robyr
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I find that chrome seems like the power and resource hog compared to Safari (though it is admitably faster and smoother overall). I had a bunch of chrome tabs open, and found through activity monitor that each of them sucked up a fair bit of RAM.
Unused RAM is wasted power. RAM has to be powered whether used, or not used. The only drivers to consumption are the display brightness, USB device power (if in use), and.... CPU cycles. RAM usage is not a factor in battery consumption.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 08:59 AM   #12
Abazigal
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Unused RAM is wasted power. RAM has to be powered whether used, or not used. The only drivers to consumption are the display brightness, USB device power (if in use), and.... CPU cycles. RAM usage is not a factor in battery consumption.
Well, chrome ended up pushing ram usage over the 4gb in my air, resulting in a fair bit of paging. I did have quite a few apps open, but typically hovered around the 3.5 gb mark.

I wasn't specifically targeting ram usage, just felt that chrome seemed to drain battery faster than safari for some reason.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 12:53 PM   #13
GGJstudios
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RAM usage is not a factor in battery consumption.
It is to a small extent and if page outs occur, to a larger extent.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 10:10 AM   #14
daonesteven
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I really wish there was some sort of definitive way to know whether Chrome or Safari uses more battery life
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 10:38 AM   #15
GGJstudios
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I really wish there was some sort of definitive way to know whether Chrome or Safari uses more battery life
There's no definitive way of determining that, as plug-ins, extensions and the content of the web sites being visited are significant factors that impact battery life, with specific site content being the greatest. If you're on a site that is most or all text, there will be much less demand on system resources and battery life. If you're viewing movies or videos or other sites with extensive Flash content, it can place a very high demand on system resources and drain your battery much faster, regardless of which browser you use.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 01:59 PM   #16
daonesteven
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There's no definitive way of determining that, as plug-ins, extensions and the content of the web sites being visited are significant factors that impact battery life, with specific site content being the greatest. If you're on a site that is most or all text, there will be much less demand on system resources and battery life. If you're viewing movies or videos or other sites with extensive Flash content, it can place a very high demand on system resources and drain your battery much faster, regardless of which browser you use.
No I meant just with respect to one another, under the same conditions, which is possible.

I mean, I guess different browsers excel in certain categories that others don't, so it would still be difficult. But I think a decently reliable outcome could be had.
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