If you’re often using a laptop, you know that battery life is a frequent concern. Carrying around a bulky power cord and searching for an outlet, are common inconveniences. In some cases, you may not have the option of access to a power source. Forgot your charger? On a flight without a power port?
We’re going to cover five steps you can take to extend your battery use.
1. Turn on Power Saving Settings
You may not be aware that computers are built with a battery saving mode. You can find this by going to the control panel where it’s usually located under “Hardware and Sound” on Windows computers. For Macs, go to “System Preferences” on the Apple menu.
Activating this option allows your computer to adjust power usage based on pre-defined settings intended to conserve power. There are typically adjusted settings for display, background and sleep and hibernation timing. Included are settings to minimize power used by hardware such as the processor, hard disk and more.
2. Dim Brightness
It’s likely already occurred to you that the brightness of your screen and the backlight of your keyboard can drain your battery. Changing these settings are easy and have a large impact on the life of your battery. Lower the brightness manually to a level that’s only as bright as required for your environment. You can also set your display to turn off or dim after several minutes so that your screen isn’t pulling energy when you’re away from your machine or not using it.
3. Keep It Cool
When your laptop is running for hours at a time, it can get heated. Investing in a laptop cooling pad will not only provide better comfort for your lap, it can also help your computer save power. Heat makes your laptop work harder to run or cool down (if it has an internal fan) and drains power in the process.
4. Close Unused Applications & Hardware
Simplify your activity. Try working on one thing at a time if you can and close everything else. Consider:
- Sticking to one or two open tabs at a time. Having several tabs open on your browser can be a drain.
- Closing any applications or programs you’re not using. Running several at a time makes your processor work harder, drawing more power.
- Limiting your use of graphic and media programs. Running Spotify in the background can kill your batter. Try listening from your phone and close any video or photo editing tools when you’re not using them.
- Disabling unused devices. Each component of your machine pulls energy. If you have a USB mouse, flash drives or cords connected to your computer that you’re not using, unplug them.
5. Hibernate, Don’t Sleep
Many people get into the habit of simply closing their laptops when they’re done, taking a break or traveling to a different location. When your computer sleeps, it enters a low-power state. Certain parts will shut down but power is still used to save all open documents or applications to memory, thus pulling energy from your battery as a result.
By selecting the “hibernate” option, your computer will stop running entirely. Instead of saving everything to RAM, anything opened will be saved to the hard disk. This allows it to power off completely and still allows you to pick up where you left off when you open your laptop again.