Battery Maximization Techniques

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mtreys, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Location:
    College Station, TX
    #1
    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?
     
  2. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #3
    After a while, the "fun" of babysitting ur toy will worn off.
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #4
    I agree. I personally don't bother, just use it or plug it in as and when I have to.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    designs216

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Down the rabbit hole
    #5
    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...
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #7
    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.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Location:
    College Station, TX
    #8
    That lasted for me like 2 weeks after I got it last year.

    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.
     
  9. macrumors demi-god

    JHUFrank

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #10
    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. :p
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    #11
    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.
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #12
    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.
     
  13. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #13
    It is to a small extent and if page outs occur, to a larger extent.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #14
    I really wish there was some sort of definitive way to know whether Chrome or Safari uses more battery life
     
  15. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #15
    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.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #16
    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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