Completely discharged or permanently plugged in? This is how you save your laptop battery

Scratch the last charge reserve or have the laptop permanently connected to the socket – charging habits can affect the life of our batteries. You can counteract this with these tips.

“Life at the limit” – that can be carried over to two extremes when charging the battery of laptops: On the one hand, the advice from old times persists that you should let your device run empty before you recharge it; on the other hand, some people forget: they also like to pull the plug again after charging, and the laptop then hangs on the power supply longer than it should actually be. But what are the effects of the two extremes, and how can smart charging affect battery life?

In most smartphones, tablets and laptops, lithium-ion batteries provide energy away from the socket. The correct handling of the batteries can ensure that they have the longest possible service life and that their charging capacity does not decrease too quickly. Temperature, storage and the way the device is charged all play a role.

Laptop battery fully discharged or always on power? Courage towards the middle

First of all, fully discharging a device before recharging it can in most cases be considered a relic of the old days. When using nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hybrid batteries, this procedure actually made sense in order to counteract certain effects that would have limited the charging capacity. The lithium-ion batteries, which are now predominantly used, can even be damaged if they are completely discharged – accordingly, most devices now automatically switch off before the battery capacity is completely exhausted.

A “complete use up” of the charge is neither possible nor necessary with newer devices. A new power supply can make sense from a charge level of between 20 and 40 percent, ideally you then let the device charge in one go instead of plugging it in and out again and again. The batteries are also sensitive to too much voltage. However, if you have your laptop in use often and even for hours, you don’t have to worry – most devices automatically stop charging when the battery is full and then use the current flowing directly.

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Saving batteries in the laptop: software tools can help

But because a maximum charge of between 70 and 90 percent is ideal for the longest possible service life, there are now also little software helpers: Apple has been fitting since macOS Catalina 10.15.5 the “battery status management” adapts the charging to the respective usage habits. If the laptop is seldom in pure battery mode and is instead connected to the mains for a longer period of time, charging is stopped, for example, at a certain threshold value – if. If you do need a completely full battery, you can set this individually. Similar software offers are also available for laptops with Windows operating systems, depending on the device manufacturer.

In addition to the settings for a meaningful battery classification, the status of the battery itself can also be checked on most devices – for Apple in the system information for power supply, for Windows 10 for example via Windows Powershell.

Extend battery life: Avoid extreme temperatures

What is also good for your battery: Avoiding extreme temperatures. Apple recommends the ambient temperature for Macbooks, for example 10 to 35 degrees. In fact, some devices now also have temperature sensors – if the battery is too cold or too hot, it will no longer be charged, or at least not charge a certain percentage. However, overheating can also occur if, for example, the device’s fans cannot work properly, be it due to dust contamination or working on soft surfaces such as blankets or pillows that block the ventilation process. It is therefore worthwhile to clean the fans with a little compressed air from time to time and to use a smooth, resistant surface for the laptop.

Protect your laptop battery: It is also worth taking a look at the charge level before you go on holiday

If you store your laptop for longer without using it, you can save the battery by charging it by around 50 percent. If, for example, the device is stored with a very low charge level during a vacation, the discharge can progress to the point where the battery is damaged and, in the worst case, can no longer be charged. Storage with a fully charged battery, on the other hand, can cause a loss of battery capacity, so the battery will not last as long as it should.

Overall, neither the lower nor the upper end of the battery charging bar is absolutely worth striving for – and a few small adjusting screws can ensure that the battery life is reduced a little more slowly.

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