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How to Monitor Battery Life for Your Laptop, Tablet or E-Reader

Batteries Plus Blog - Tech - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 12/1/2021

Woman in green sweatshirt sitting on a couch working on a laptop

Like all batteries, the one powering your laptop has a limited lifespan. How long does a laptop battery last? A typical laptop battery will last around 500 cycles or roughly two to three years. The good news is that you can make your charging cycles last much longer by managing your power settings, your apps and Wi-Fi usage.

What are Charging Cycles?

What is a battery charging cycle? A battery's lifespan is measured in charging cycles. A full charge cycle is completed when you've used an amount of power equal to 100% of your battery's total capacity. A complete charge cycle can be completed in a single day or several, depending on how often you use your laptop. Let's say, for instance, that you use 75% of your battery's capacity on Monday, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, your usage over these two days will add up to one full charge cycle.

How to Check Your Laptop Battery Health Directly

Find out the condition of your laptop battery, how it has been performing, along with its expected lifespan. Both Mac and Windows laptops have a handy feature that allows you to check your battery life directly to see how much life it has left.

How to Check Laptop Battery Health Using Windows 8 or Later:

  • Select the start menu on your laptop
  • Search for and then select "PowerShell" from the menu that appears
  • Type the command: powercfg/batteryreport into the window and press enter. This will run a report with the information you want.
  • Go to Users/Your Username folder and look for the battery-report.html file
  • You'll find the battery health info in the "Battery Information" section of the report under "Battery Life Estimates"

How to Check Laptop Battery Health Using a Mac:

  • Hold the Option key and click on the Apple menu
  • Select "System Information"
  • Scroll down to "Hardware," then "Power" – You'll find the information on the right side of the screen under "Cycle Count." Cycle counts measure the number of charge cycles your laptop has completed.

How Can I Extend My Battery Life?

Now that you know how your battery is doing, let's focus on how to make your laptop battery last longer. Laptops are becoming more efficient and long-lasting when you use them in the right way. Here are a few tips to help make it last longer.

Dim Your Screen

It stands to reason that a brighter screen setting will use more power. Reducing your brightness settings will reduce the amount of power you're using, helping you to go through your charge cycles much more slowly. This is an easy way to help maximize your laptop battery lifespan.

Manage Your Power Settings

Adjusting your power settings can help extend laptop battery life. Both PCs and Macs allow you to turn down your laptop's performance in order to use less battery power. Windows 10 features a battery performance slider, which allows you to choose from several different performance modes. If you're performing relatively simple operations, you should consider using the "Better Battery" or "Battery Saver" modes, which toggle your laptop's performance in order to use less battery power.

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops have their own similar options known as "Battery" in laptops running on Big Sur and "Energy Saver" on previous operating systems. Setting your laptop to automatically dim the screen while using battery power and turning off Power Nap (which performs background tasks while your Mac is sleeping) will help cut down on the amount of battery power you typically use. Setting your Mac to turn off faster while idling will also save power.

Shutdown Apps You Aren't Using

Apps continue to use power, even if they're just running in the background. Shutting down any programs you aren't using is an easy way to save on energy and an easy way to help optimize laptop battery life.

Turn Off Wi-Fi When You're Not Using It

Laptops often have an option to turn off power to certain parts of the computer such as the wireless adapter. This can help with conserving the battery life. Wi-Fi uses a significant amount of battery power. If you're not going to be using the internet, consider turning this off. PC laptops have an Airplane mode, which will disable Wi-Fi and wireless radio when engaged. For Mac laptops, you can simply turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth individually.

Prevent Your Laptop Battery from Overheating

Once a battery begins to overheat, its lifespan will be reduced. Laptops don't have much space for all their components, so it's common for them to generate a lot of heat. Avoid storing your laptop in direct sunlight or other areas prone to high heat. You'll also want to be sure to keep your vents clean and free of obstruction. Avoid placing your laptop on pillows or blankets as these can obstruct the ventilation fan. You should also periodically clean away any dust that accumulates in the laptop's vents and fan with a can of compressed air.

Can You Upgrade a Laptop to a More Powerful Battery?

It's okay to upgrade to a battery with a higher number of milliamp hours (mAh), however, the replacement must have the same voltage as the original. Using a battery with the same voltage, but a higher mAh rating will increase the battery's runtime.

Signs That Your Battery is Dying

You can tell when your laptop needs a new battery by how it is performing. If you find that your device is running out of power too quickly or starts suddenly crashing, it's probably due to a dying battery. Some other warning signs to watch out for include slow recharge times and overheating.

Get Your Battery Replaced at Batteries Plus

If you find yourself experiencing any of the issues mentioned above, bring your laptop to your nearest Batteries Plus. The experts there will test your battery for free and let you know if it's time for a replacement.

If you end up needing a new battery, you'll find options for all major brands, including laptop batteries for Apple, Samsung, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Toshiba, Compaq and more. We also offer laptop battery replacement service. Replacing your battery takes roughly 30 minutes to complete and costs somewhere in the range of $69.99 to $159.99.

Want to know more? Read our blog entitled "Do I Need to Break in a Laptop Battery?" for more helpful tips.

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