Any software that lets me control when MBP battery charges?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by slapple, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. slapple macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    My ThinkPad came with software that lets me specify when the battery should be charged and when it should stop charging. ThinkPad users seem to think if you're going to have it plugged in most of the time, then it's best to charge the battery only when it drops down to 20%, and then stop charging when it reaches 80%. So that's how I have the battery set up.

    Is there any similar software that lets me set up the charging for the MBP battery?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Nope, not that I'm aware of. Besides, draining the battery down to 20% AFAIK incurs more wear and tear on the battery then letting it be topped off by the charger.
  3. Kookaburra308 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    Any software to allow user to control MBP charging?

    If such software does exist, I have not been able to find it yet. It would be useful if users were able to specify the percentage of charge applied to the battery before charging ceased and the AC mains was then just used to power the laptop.

    The fact that Apple advises users who are going to store their laptop for any extended period of time to store it with a 50% charge is good advice and very revealing in regard to this issue.

    Being able to set the percentage of charge at which point the charger no longer charges the battery, but provides the laptop with power for its current needs, could, if used wisely, lead to significantly increased longevity for MBP batteries.

    The 20%~80% cycle discussed above might not be the ideal. 30%~70% or 40%~60% or 45%~55% might be better. But what seems certain is that a full charge stresses Lithium Ion/Polymer batteries to some extent, and is only desirable if maximum run time away from AC mains is required.

    And as most MBP's spend most of their time on a desk with AC mains available, giving users software that would allow them to reduce the stress of a 100% charge on their batteries without having to manually unplug their charger would show that the Apple Corporation is really on the side of serving its customers needs as well as conserving the planets resources.

    If enough people ask Apple to provide them with this facility, then we might get a positive result. But few people know much about lithium ion polymer batteries. Most people know more about NiCad batteries, which did respond well to full discharge/full recharge cycling. But lithium ion polymer is a very different kettle of fish and responds far better to cycling in shallow charge/ shallow discharge cycles somewhere around the 50% mark.
  4. GGJstudios, Jan 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Your Mac already knows how to handle charging without needing additional software. 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. 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.
    No, it's not revealing at all, since storage of a battery is quite different than using a battery.
    That is already set by Apple and there is no need for a user to interfere with it. Your battery won't charge if you plug it in and it's already charged 93% or more.
    Source for that assumption?
    A 100% charge is not a stress on the battery, unless it's all the time.
    That takes 1 second of time and almost no effort at all.
  5. duncanMKZ macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2013
    Research by Sony showed that Lithium Ion batteries gradually lose their performance over time, but, if they are kept at a lower charge, the battery degradation is much slower - in fact, after a year, there was almost no decline in capacity. When I bought a Vaio a few years back, it included a new "Battery Care" application with their laptops that would stop charging after the battery had reached a user-set level (eg, 50%). Since then, similar apps have appeared on laptops from other manufacturers. Apple is a notable exception, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that their batteries are more expensive to replace than those of other brands.

    If you mainly use your Mac laptop on battery power, there's probably no advantage to reducing the charge, but if it spends much of its time plugged in, I'd guess the battery is degrading faster than it would if it were kept half-charged. Hopefully someone will figure out a way to do this with software, or with a modified charger. (I'd buy one!)

  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    For information about Apple batteries, the most reliable source is Apple itself, as neither Sony nor sites such as have information specific to the battery/charging technology employed by Apple in its Mac notebooks, much of which is proprietary.

    There is no need to modify the way your Mac manages its battery/charging functions. Simply run on battery power regularly to keep electrons moving.
  7. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    "Regularly" means maybe once a month if your MacBook is otherwise permanently connected to power. (Saying that because we had one guy posting who _regularly_ discharged his MacBook battery overnight, every single night, plus using it on battery in the day, and couldn't figure out why the battery didn't last).
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I'd recommend more often than that. More like 2 or 3 times a week. Not necessarily full cycles, but at least a few hours each time.
  9. major major, Mar 3, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013

    major major macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2013
    a good idea

    There's quite a bit of evidence out there that lithium batteries are degraded by
    1. Use
    2. Full Charging
    3. Full Discharging
    4. Heat


    Interestingly, Lithium based batteries do not benefit from cycling, so there is no advantage from
    "regular" battery use. Of course monthly cycling (like Apple recommends) probably won't hurt.

    Software could certainly double or triple the battery life by only charging to 90% of design capacity, and it would be easy to tell it to fully charge when
    you plan on traveling.

    I try to plug it in when I can, and I never discharge below 20%. I wish I could tell it to stop charging at 90% when I'm not traveling.
  10. GGJstudios, Mar 3, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That is false, and it's not advisable to rely on generic information from sites like, which doesn't address the specific battery/charging technology employed by Apple in its notebooks. Apple specifically recommends regular use to keep its batteries healthy. See post #6.
    Apple doesn't recommend monthly cycling for Mac notebooks that are in regular use. They recommend a minimum of a cycle per month for notebooks that are infrequently used.
  11. hyri, Oct 6, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013

    hyri macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2013
    Hi all,

    I registered to post this information so people who wish to control the charge of their batteries have an option. I see some people are strongly against controlling the charge of batteries.

    My opinion is the chemistry and science behind LiIon and LiPo cell technology is well known and I do wish to keep my cells as close to 3.7v as possible. Whether or not I agree with Apple's battery care instructions or peoples opinions is not the purpose of this post, it is to provide instructions on how to achieve the question asked by the original poster.

    I have a first gen rMBP and wanted charge control over the battery pack, in the same way as the original poster did. I couldn't find anything out there and investigating whether the SMC has a programmatic method of doing it is beyond my spare time.

    Wikipedia has the pinouts of the Magsafe connector which shows the middle pin is data while the outer two on both sides provide power. A few posts on the internet comment the Apple power supply doesn't provide output unless it's plugged in.

    With experimentation, I found if the middle pin is isolated when the Apple power supply is attached, power is provided to run the laptop, but does not charge the battery. The orange/green charge light on the plug does not illuminate but the battery icon in the task bar shows the power supply is plugged in. I try keep my battery between 40-70%. A small bit of electrical tape cut to size does wonders. Use a good quality tape like Nitto or 3M.


    I've owned IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads for a long time and have done the same with their Power Manager software, here's a screenshot of my 3yo Thinkpad battery that's used off mains power once every 2-3 weeks and kept between 50-55% State of Charge.


    I rarely bring it to 100%, at 55% the battery gauge still provides about 2-3 hours office/web use. When it is off power, it is usually for short meetings of an hour where it doesn't fall below about 30%.

    I do believe Lithium Ion battery life is significantly extended by following well known practices.

    Enjoy :)
  12. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    I'm sure it does, but why have you covered the middle terminal? Just so that you don't get a charge light on the plug? What difference does that make, or am I missing something?

    My White MacBook battery is 4 and a half years old and still showing about 80% of it's original capacity. I use it pretty much as GGJstudios suggests, using a mix of battery and mains.
  13. sergioarista macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2010
    How Macs charge

    Macs (upto 4 years old) have a integrated charge management system that when connected all the time (as many of us do) stops the charging process and let the batteries drain a little, around 5% even your notification bar indicates that it is at 100%, you can use any battery app or widget to check that.

    It usually charges battery to full if it is bellow 95% and when fully charged it keeps supplying energy for the system but stops charging until battery level decreases again to around 95%

    I hope this helps
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Actually, the reverse is true. Apple's charging system is designed to prevent such short discharges/recharges. When the battery is fully charged, it stops charging and runs on AC power if it is still plugged in. It does not drain the battery while plugged in except in rare circumstances when AC power is not sufficient to meet your Mac's power needs.

    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.
  15. hyri macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2013
    By covering the middle terminal, the MBP appears to believe a non genuine charger may be attached, or something may be wrong since the handshake between the device and power supply has not happened. The charger still outputs power to run the notebook but the notebook does not charge the battery. I lie, it does charge, very slowly, a couple of percent per day. That's how I top it up if I leave it off charge for a while.

    I've yet to individually measure cell voltage, I will after another month or so to verify the cells remain balanced. If they don't, the topup full charge is necessary to maintain cell health.

    I'm after a solution to cells aging more rapidly when held at a constant (>90% or >4.10v/cell) high charge. I have every reason to keep mine around half and don't want it sitting over 80% for any period of time. Overprotective? Perhaps. Still my choice and if others wish to do the same, all power to them.

    The same caution applies - I need to check individual cell voltage after a period of time at 50-ish percent to ensure cell balance is retained. If one cell ages quicker than another, it may over discharge (they cannot overcharge since the protection electronics look after that).

    It would be useful if someone would write software that could do this, just like the Lenovo Thinkvantage suite can do.
  16. throAU, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

    throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    newsflash: batteries are a consumable.

    avoiding using them because you don't need to use it, or using it when you don't need to obsessively because you don't normally need to use it is a waste of time.

    use it on battery if you need to. if you don't need to, don't.

    if it wears out, replace it. This is how i've used mine and is it 2yr old with 93% health. It spends the vast majority of its time on AC.

    IF heaven forbid it dies, a replacement can be obtained for $60-70. going by my usage, once every 3+ years (haven't had to replace yet).

    Is $20/yr (or roughly 6c/day) really worth the screwing around, to MAYBE (not confirmed) extend your battery life?
  17. hyri macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2013
    I promised an update - still doing the same with my first gen rMBP 15"

    Individual cell voltage is perfectly balanced to 0.02v (the resolution of my DMM under 4v) and has never been over 80% since my first post here and had it down to about 20%

    Battery still works I guess. If I still have this laptop in another few years I'll report in.

    throAU - this post (and thread) isn't for people like you, it's for people like myself and the OP, slapple.

    Enjoy being so right mate :)

Share This Page