How To Get The Most Out of Your MacBook Battery

The new MacBook Air I am enjoying had one major problem. Actual battery life was way below the advertised seven hours that Apple claims the 13.3-inch MacBook Air is supposed to be able to achieve. Lately Apple has been very accurate on their estimates of battery life. So I was shocked when I was only getting 3-4 hours at best even under optimal settings (Wi-Fi only only when necessary, no Bluetooth, no USB ports used and screen brightness below 40%).

I began to do some investigation and it turns out that the problem can be that your battery needs to be calibrated– a process of draining and charging the battery in a series of steps. Some web sites claim it isn’t necessary, but it worked for me. I went from 3-4 hours of battery life to closer to the seven hours with the screen at about 70% brightness and Wi-Fi on all the time. Bluetooth was still off much of that time.

There were a number of sites that have the step listed, but the first one I found was eHow. The steps come from an Apple support page.

They are (from Apple) as follows:

To calibrate a portable computer battery:

  1. Plug in the MagSafe Power Adapter and fully charge the battery.When the battery is fully charged, the light on the MagSafe Power Adapter connector changes to green and the Battery icon in the menu bar indicates that the battery is charged. (see image below)
  2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for two hours or longer.You can use your computer during this time as long as the power adapter is plugged in.
  3. With the computer still on, disconnect the power adapter and continue to use your computer.
  4. When you see the low battery warning, save your work and close all applications. Keep your computer turned on until it goes to sleep.
  5. After your computer goes to sleep, turn it off or allow it to sleep for five hours or longer.
  6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged.

During this process feel free to use the MacBook during each step except for the last one obviously. I read on a couple of sites that said that all of these steps were not necessary. But I can attest that these steps worked for my MacBook Air and it is the recommended method suggested by Apple.

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