How to Improve MacBook Battery Life

John on December 14, 2017 @ 09:59 PM

The Macbook battery life is much better than most laptops out there on the market. It is claimed that you will get around 10 hours of life out of one charge however in my experience this can vary massively and in some cases it has only lasted around 4 hours, with what I deemed to be reasonable use. I.e not video editing video or using high cpu demanding programs.

So how can we improve the battery life of a Macbook? Are there any tips or methods we can follow?

Yes, there are quite a few and the first and most obvious issue to investigate is applications which are using a lot of energy. A good place to start is with the built in "activity monitor" program which does exactly what it says on the tin; monitors your system resources. Open by:

  • pressing both "command + space bar" keys and typing in "activity monitor"

Once you have the activity monitor open locate to the energy tab on the top centre and click on the "Energy Impact" table header. This will will put all open applications in order of how much power they are using. If there are some programs that are not using but are consuming a lot of energy, shut them down.

High resource programs are going to be the biggest factor in the battery life of your Macbook so keep them closed when not using them!

Switch From Google Chrome to Safari

Chrome is by far my favourite web browser but on a Mac it can be very power hungry. If push comes to shove I will switch to Safari for web browsing on an energy budget. You won't get all of the web development and plugin features on Safari but it certainly has a smaller energy budget. Look at this screenshot of Chrome and Safari running with the same number of tabs under MacOs High Sierra:

Chrome had an impact of 5.0 while safari only a fraction of that at 0.2.

Make Sure all of your software is up to date

Most importantly make sure your operating system is up to date and then third party applications. Apple and third parties alike are always rewriting their software in order to make it more efficient and if you are not running the latest version you could be missing out on power saving features. To check for updates go to

  • Click apple logo on top left menu of screen
  • Click "About this Mac"
  • Click "Software update"

Dim your screen

A classic, I know but there is no point looking for a cpu cycle here or there if your screen is blazing like the sun. MacOs Usually manages your screen brightness according to ambient light but you can override this with the brightness keys or the touch bar on newer macs. Of course if you are in a well-light area then it can only be dimmed so much but try and go as low as you can bare in order to save as much battery as possible.

Disable Unused Hardware

By default bluetooth will be enabled on your Macbook and it will eat up your battery. To disable it:

  • Press "command + space bar" and type in "system preferences" and open the first result
  • find "BlueTooth" and click
  • Click "Turn off Bluetooth"

You will probably need WIFI most of the time but when you don't, turn it off as it uses quite a lot of power. To do so locate to, the wifi symbol at the top right of your screen click and then click "Turn off WI-FI off".

Mute your speakers when not in use too and make sure your keyboard backlight is turned off when not in use to save a little more battery.

Disconnect and peripherals you have connected to your Macbook, such as flash drives etc.

Quit any applications you are not using

Run only the applications you are using directly. You can see all of your open applications on your dock; if it open it will have a white dot below. To quit right click (command + click or double finger press) and click quit. Many of these applications will only have a small footprint on your batter but all of combined will be rather resource hogging.

Make Sure Battery Saving Options are Optimised

Macbook comes with the battery saving but you should check them to make sure your are getting as much juice out of your machine as possible. To open go to:

  • Click apple logo on top left menu of screen
  • Click "System Preferences"
  • Click the icon "Energy saver"

Make sure you have "Automatic Graphic Switching" enabled. This will turn off the dedicated power hungry Radeon graphics card and switch to the more frugal Intel graphic chip when you are not using 3D intensive programs. Play with the other options depending on how you would like the notebook to behave.

I hope this has give you a better idea of how to improve the battery life of your Macbook. If you have any of your own tricks that are not suggested here please comment below.