Extend the Lifespan of Your Mac & iOS Batteries

We love our Mac, iPhone, and iPad. What we don't love is thinking about what is going to happen when their battery life is no longer amazing. All of these devices that we use on a daily basis now have built in batteries (iPhone & iPad always had), and replacing them is not as simple as swinging by the store and swapping the old for the new. Wanting to learn more about how the batteries in our beloved devices work and get the skinny on best practices, we turned to the maker of our tech, Apple, who not surprisingly have a lot to say on the topic.

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Batteries are sadly consumable parts and will eventually wear out. Sure, Apple's new internal batteries last longer than previous removable batteries but it does not hurt to learn all we can about how to extend that life as long as possible. We hopped over to the Apple battery site where we gleaned these tips on how to customize our settings for max battery life on all our Apple devices, and how to calibrate our laptop battery and maintain it to ensure the longest lifespan possible.

1. New Laptop? Calibrate Within the First Two Weeks
Be sure to fully charge your portable when you plug it in for the first time, and then run Software Update to ensure you have the latest software. Apple periodically releases updates that may improve battery performance. Learn how to calibrate your battery here.

2. Maintenance Matters
For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it’s important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. We thought that with the new battery technology there was no harm in leaving our laptop plugged in while we were at home, how wrong we were! If you travel infrequently with your laptop (it's mostly used at home, plugged in like a desktop), Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month (same goes for iPhone, iPod, and iPad batteries). One of the most awesome things that we discovered on this site, is the automatic iCal reminder to discharge your laptop/iOS batteries, which can be found here.

3. Optimal Setting for Long Notebook Battery Life
As you probably already know, there are ways to use your Apple notebook in a way that maximizes its battery life. Take advantage of the The Energy Saver control panel which offers several settings that determine power levels for your laptop. Your portable knows when it’s plugged in, and runs accordingly. When on battery power, it will dim the screen and use other components sparingly. If you change this setting to maximize performance, your battery will drain more quickly. Dim the screen to the lowest comfortable level to achieve maximum battery life.On a plane without access to WiFi or not using Bluetooth? Turn Airport and Bluetooth off! Other common sense battery life extenders are to disconnect peripherals and quit applications when not in use. Not watching that DVD? Eject it.

4. Let Your iPhone, iPod, & iPad "Breathe"
Charging your iOS device while in certain carrying cases may generate excess heat, which can affect battery capacity. If you notice that your iPad gets hot when you charge it, take it out of its case first. We've seen the heat warnings while sitting in a hot car or at the beach with our iPhone and the device was not kidding that it needed to cool down. iPhone, iPod, and iPads are works best from 32° to 95° F. You should store it in environments of -4° to 113° F. That’s 0° to 35° C and -20° to 45° C for the metrically inclined. Basically, keep your iPhone/iOS device as near room temperature as possible (72° F or 22° C) is ideal.

5. Lock Your Device
It may seem obvious, but you should lock your iOS device when you aren’t using it. To lock your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, press the Sleep/Wake button. You can also set the Auto-Lock interval so your device will turn off more quickly after a period of inactivity. To set Auto-Lock, go to Settings > General > Auto-Lock and set the interval to a short time, such as 1 minute.

For more information, including optimal settings for all of your Apple devices, go to Apple's battery site.

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Check out these posts, for more on battery life:

(Image: Flickr user Surat Lozowick under license from Creative Commons and Joelle Alcaidinho ).

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Tech, Power Solutions

Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.

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