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Old 04-08-2012, 12:00 PM   #1
johngpt
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optimizing new 2012 MBP battery life

I think through my customary practices, that I have taught my old 2007 MBP battery not to hold a charge.

I have primarily used that old MBP as if it were a desk top computer, keeping it running with the charger attached. It stays on for long hours for photo editing and posting to online forums, again primarily involved with photography.

I've just gotten this new 2012 MBP and charged it fully. Then last night I unhooked it from the charger. It's been working for hours without being attached and now finally showing about 17% left in the battery, via the widget-ish display up in the menu bar.

How low should I let it go before plugging in the charger again?

Should I let the battery discharge to zero before plugging in the charger?

Should I do this draining to zero at intervals to "educate" the battery and system to fully charge?

My googling has shown quite conflicting opinions on this, so I figured I'd ask here.

Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:32 PM   #2
DeltaMac
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Your new MBPro battery is very different from the older one that you had. You can expect a much longer life, as well as a longer life between charges.

Apple has something to say about battery use: http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:46 PM   #3
NaOH
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I'll give you a bunch of pointers in no particular order.
  • Your new MacBook Pro battery can go longer on a charge than your older one could. Much longer.
  • Run your Mac on battery as long as you want/it can.
  • There is no need to run the battery all the way down before recharging (whether in general usage or for calibration).
  • Older Apple laptops like your 2007 model had batteries that would begin to show decreased run times on battery after about 300-350 cycles. Apple claims that newer models can withstand 1,000 charge/discharge cycles at which point 80% of original battery runtime can be expected on a full charge.
  • A cycling of the battery does not mean any discharge/charge. If you run the battery to 75% then recharge it, that's 25% of a cycle.
  • Leaving a laptop plugged in all the time is bad for the battery. The electrons in a battery need to be periodically exercised, and Apple claims a battery should get the equivalent of one full cycle per month.
  • If you won't be using the Mac for a little while, put it to sleep rather than shutting it down.
  • In case you don't know, when running on battery there are a few simple ways to get the most out of a charge:
    • Dim the screen as much as you can tolerate.
    • Whenever possible, avoid having peripherals plugged in or discs in the CD/DVD drive.
    • If you're not using them, turn off Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth.
    • Quit applications when you're done using them, especially the more resource-intensive ones (e.g., there's more to be gained from quitting Photoshop than something small and light like TextEdit).
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:05 PM   #4
NaOH
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One thing I forgot to mention is that you can easily check how many time your battery has been cycled. Open System Information in /Applications/Utilities (it was called System Profiler on pre-10.7 systems). Along the left, make certain the disclosure triangle next to Hardware is pointing down so the full list of subcategories is showing, then select Power. Over on the right, find the listing for Cycle Count, and the number that follows tells you how many cycles the battery has gone through.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:09 PM   #5
johngpt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaMac
Your new MBPro battery is very different from the older one that you had. You can expect a much longer life, as well as a longer life between charges.

Apple has something to say about battery use: http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

DeltaMac, thank you. That was one of the sources I found that contradicted what else I had read. I think because it is newer information than what else I had come across.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaOH
I'll give you a bunch of pointers in no particular order.
  • Your new MacBook Pro battery can go longer on a charge than your older one could. Much longer.
  • Run your Mac on battery as long as you want/it can.
  • There is no need to run the battery all the way down before recharging (whether in general usage or for calibration).
  • Older Apple laptops like your 2007 model had batteries that would begin to show decreased run times on battery after about 300-350 cycles. Apple claims that newer models can withstand 1,000 charge/discharge cycles at which point 80% of original battery runtime can be expected on a full charge.
  • A cycling of the battery does not mean any discharge/charge. If you run the battery to 75% then recharge it, that's 25% of a cycle.
  • Leaving a laptop plugged in all the time is bad for the battery. The electrons in a battery need to be periodically exercised, and Apple claims a battery should get the equivalent of one full cycle per month.
  • If you won't be using the Mac for a little while, put it to sleep rather than shutting it down.
  • In case you don't know, when running on battery there are a few simple ways to get the most out of a charge:
    • Dim the screen as much as you can tolerate.
    • Whenever possible, avoid having peripherals plugged in or discs in the CD/DVD drive.
    • If you're not using them, turn off Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth.
    • Quit applications when you're done using them, especially the more resource-intensive ones (e.g., there's more to be gained from quitting Photoshop than something small and light like TextEdit).


Had to laugh about the "whenever possible, avoid having peripherals plugged in... "

Most of the time, I'm working in Ps CS4 (soon to be CS6), with second display plugged in, second keyboard plugged in, Wacom tablet plugged in!

And sometimes the external hard drives as I back things up!

I think what I'll do is when all that is over, I'll unplug the new MBP from everything and come out to the living room when I'm just posting what I've worked on, online. Hopefully that'll get the battery's juices flowing!

And thank you guys very much.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
NaOH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johngpt
Had to laugh about the "whenever possible, avoid having peripherals plugged in... "

Most of the time, I'm working in Ps CS4 (soon to be CS6), with second display plugged in, second keyboard plugged in, Wacom tablet plugged in!

And sometimes the external hard drives as I back things up!

I was talking about when using a laptop and getting the most from a charge is important. At home, that's not important since power is accessible. But I understand your general setup as my laptop is usually plugged in and it has a display and a keyboard plugged in to it, along with a wireless trackpad connected with Bluetooth and a hard drive connected with volumes which are mounted on an as-needed basis.

The reality is that my laptop largely lives as a desktop. To ensure the battery gets some activity, I may occasionally head to a couch with it. But more often, I simply put it to sleep and cut the power to it when I won't be using it for extended periods (when I go to bed, when I'm not home for a while, etc.). Depending on how warm or cold it is here, that means every day or two when I turn the power back on the power cord shows amber. No, the battery hasn't dropped significantly, but enough that it needs it charges, so I know the battery electrons are getting some action.

Related to that, there is one other point about Apple batteries I should note. Your battery won't charge if it's at 95% or above. So while any of the available indicators may show the battery is below 100%, it won't charge until it's below 95%. Many people are confused by tható"The readout says my battery is not 100% charged but it's not charging. Why?"óbut it's an intentional design, presumably to help extend the battery life.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:27 PM   #7
johngpt
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Excellent points.
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