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How to Optimize your Mac’s Battery Life

When you have a MacBook, you want it to be able to last as long as possible on a single charge. No one has time to stop what they’re doing to charge their Mac. And no one wants to be tethered to the wall to make sure their computer keeps a charge for as long as it’s going to be needed. And no one wants their device to simply die in the middle of an important project. It always makes your heart skip a beat wondering if you’ve saved your work or not and no one needs that kind of stress. Let’s look at a few ways you can make your Mac work for you as long as possible without having to charge it.

Adjust your keyboard and display brightness

Adjust your keyboard and display brightness macbook

One simple way to help extend your battery life is to adjust the brightness of your keyboard and screen. Your Mac has some settings already built in to help conserve battery power. To access these settings, go to the Apple menu and click System Preferences. Select Keyboard and then select “Adjust keyboard brightness in low light”. When you do this, your keyboard’s backlight will automatically brighten or dim. You can also choose to allow your keyboard’s backlight to go off completely after a certain amount of inactivity. Once you start using your Mac again, the backlight will come back on but there’s no reason to keep the backlight on if you’re not using it. An alternate way to adjust your keyboard’s brightness is to set it as low as you’d like with the F5 and F6 key.

You should also consider adjusting the brightness of your display, as this has a huge effect on the battery life of your Mac. Adjusting your display to a lower setting can help to conserve the battery life of your MacBook. To access these settings, go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. After that, click on Displays. Next, choose “Automatically adjust brightness” to give your display the ability to dim or brighten depending on the level of light in your surroundings.

Another option is to use the battery status menu to reduce the level of brightness to 75%. To access this option, go to the battery status menu. Choose the “Using Significant Energy” section. Select Display Brightness. If you want to manually adjust the brightness of your screen’s display, use the F1 and F2 keys to brighten or dim your screen’s display.

Graphics performance and its impact on battery life

Graphics have a role in the length of battery life for your MacBook. The MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch usually have two graphics processors, also known as GPUs. They are identified as a discrete GPU and an integrated GPU. The discrete GPU is behind the amazing performance of a Mac, but it does drain battery life substantially. The integrated GPU allows your Mac to have optimized battery life, but it won’t have the same performance of the discrete GPU in most cases. You should use the integrated GPU for optimal battery life for your Mac.

To adjust the graphics performance, you can select “Better battery life” or “Higher performance” in the Energy Saver system preference panel. You would likely want to use “Better battery life” when there are not any graphic heavy applications in use. You can select “Higher performance” if you’re playing a game or doing another task that you’d want better graphics for. Note that when you make changes to the graphics preferences, you will have to log out for the new settings to take effect.

Energy Saver System Preferences

energy-saver macbook

You can use the Energy Saver pane in your System Preferences to find options that will help to improve the battery life of your Mac when it’s just sitting idle. For one thing, you can set your display to sleep while your Mac’s not being used. This will turn off the backlight and help to improve the battery life significantly. Another option is to unselect “Enable Power Nap while on battery power”.


If you have a 2016 MacBook Pro, you can unplug your computer from the power source. If you have the “Slightly dim the display while on batter power” option enabled, your screen will dim and cause your battery’s power to drain less quickly. Not all features are available on all MacBooks. For example, PowerNap and graphic switching aren’t available on all macOS and notebooks.

Disabling features and technologies that use power

Yet another solution to keeping your battery power in check is to disable features that use a lot of power. Because of the integrated technologies that MacBooks use, there may be times when the battery is drained. There are, however, some features you can turn off to keep your battery power longer.

Are you using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth? If not, you can disable AirPort or Bluetooth from System Preferences. Simply go to the menu bar icons of each item under System Preferences and deactivate them separately. This will help to cut back on power usage.

Another way to save power is to disconnect items that are not in use. External USB, FireWire, and Expresscard devices can drain your battery if left attached to your Mac. Other devices that might drain your MacBook’s power are Thunderbolt and SD cards. For optimal battery performance in your MacBook, disconnect these devices when they are not being used. You can always reconnect them when you need them again, but disconnecting them when they are not being used will save battery power.

If you have anything that you are not using in your SuperDrive, take it out. This includes DVDs that you were watching as well as any CDs you were listening to. If these items are left in SuperDrive while you’re not using it, the drive will spin every now and then which is a waste of energy and battery power.

If you have tried all the above options and still find that your battery power is not lasting as long as it used to, you might consider doing a troubleshoot to find the issues. Your Mac has built-in diagnostics especially for this purpose.