How to get the best battery life from your Windows or Mac laptop

Whether you're using a Windows laptop or a Mac, here are five top tips for getting the best out of your laptop's battery.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Need to get the most from your laptop's battery? Tired of your battery running out before your day is done? Finding that your laptop is continually on charge? 

Here are a handful of tips that work for both Windows users and those using Macs.

#1: Don't fiddle with your power settings!

A common cause of poor battery life on laptops that I've come across outside of physical battery wear is people thinking that they are smarter than the people who designed the operating system -- whether Windows 10 or macOS -- and who have fiddled in the settings and made changes to the power options.

99 percent of the time, messing with these accomplishes nothing good as far as battery life is concerned. Sure, you can squeeze out more power here, but the penalty is always battery life.

Unless you have a good reason to make changes to the power settings, I recommend resetting them back to default. Windows and macOS allows you to do this.

  • Windows 10: Go to Control Panel, click on System and Security, and then Power Options and then click on the option being used
  • macOS: Go to System Preferences, click Energy Saver

#2: Turn down screen brightness

If your screen is set to the brightness of a star going supernova, this will have a massive impact on battery life. If you use your laptop outdoors a lot, then you will need the brightness higher than those who work indoors, so your battery won't last as long.

#3: Stop using Google Chrome

It's a massive battery hog. People love Chrome, but switching to the default browser -- whether that be Microsoft Edge or Apple's Safari -- is a good way to add tens of minutes, if not an hour, to your laptop's battery life.

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#4: Switch off heavy-duty apps that you're not using

I've found that heavy-duty applications such as Adobe Photoshop can still be eating at your battery even when you're not using them.

#5: Disconnect dongles, hubs, and drives

If you're using hubs, dongles, and external drives that are hub powered, and they are connected direct to your laptop, then those devices are going to be drawing their power from your laptop. While unpowered hubs are great when out and about, powered hubs can make more sense if you want to take the strain off the battery.

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