How to get longer battery life from your Macbook Pro 2017: Sick of your Macbook Pro dying in super-quick time when you’re on the move? Here’s some top tips on extending your Pro’s battery life, including how to monitor the biggest battery draining apps, check your Pro’s battery health and more.
We really love the new Macbook Pro, as you’ll know if you read our full 2017 review. But if there’s one thing that doesn't make us sparkle with joy, it's the limited battery life.
Personally we manage around four hours of battery life when the Macbook Pro is fully charged, although this figure dips when we try editing video, messing around with creative apps and gaming. Some people are reporting even shorter battery life however, so we came up with this handy guide on improving your Macbook Pro’s longevity.
Here’s our best tips on how to get longer battery life from your Pro, as well as how to check your Macbook's battery health and monitor app energy use.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: How can I display the battery percentage and remaining battery time in the Macbook’s toolbar?
First off, it’s always good to know exactly how much battery charge your Macbook has remaining at any given time. To see the remaining battery percentage at just a glance, head to the main Mac OS menu and then tap Energy Saver. At the bottom of this window, you’ll see an option: Show battery status in menu bar. Tick this and the battery percentage will appear next to the battery icon in the top toolbar.
If you want even more detailed information, including an estimate of how much usage time remains before the Macbook Pro’s battery is depleted, then head to the App Store and search for Battery Monitor. When installed, Battery Monitor pops a new icon on your Macbook’s top toolbar. Click this and you’ll see the exact mAh charge remaining, including how long until the laptop runs dry.
We also recommend an app called Battery Health (see the next section).
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: How to check your Macbook Pro’s battery health
Want to test your Pro’s current battery health, to make sure it’s still in tip top condition or check if it needs to be replaced? Check out Battery Health on the App Store.
This nifty app pops a new icon onto your top toolbar when opened, much like Battery Monitor above. Tap this icon and you can see time remaining before complete discharge, but also the current health of your Macbook Pro’s battery. This includes the maximum capacity compared with its original state.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: Make sure your Macbook Pro is up to date
One of the easiest ways to ensure you get longer battery life from your Macbook Pro 2017 is installing any Mac OS updates as soon as they roll in. These often feature little software tweaks by Apple, which can help to improve power efficiency.
You’ll notice a little message pop up when an update is ready to download and install, and we recommend not putting it off by hitting ‘try again tomorrow’ every day. When your work is saved and you can spare a few minutes, tap ‘install now’ and let your Macbook Pro do its thing. We’ve noticed a slight improvement already following the most recent update.
You can also manually check for any Mac OS updates by heading to the main Apple menu, tapping ‘About this Mac’ and then hitting ‘Software Update’.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: Energy saver settings
If you head to the main Mac OS menu and hit ‘System Preferences’, you’ll notice something in the second row called Energy Saver. Select this and you’ll have the chance to fiddle with all kinds of power settings.
The settings you’re most interested in are those in the Battery section. Here you can say how soon the display hibernates, whether the hard disks should sleep in idle moments and so on. Tweak these to suit your needs.
You can even schedule your Macbook Pro to wake and sleep at specific times if needed, but that’s unlikely to be much help if you want to save battery life. You should just get in the habit of putting your laptop to sleep whenever it’s not in use.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: Manually tweak the display brightness
In the System Preferences you can also head to Displays, which allows you to adjust the screen brightness. While automatic brightness adjustment might seem like a good idea, we personally prefer manual brightness. Scale it down as much as you can, so you can still comfortably use the Macbook Pro but that power-sucking panel isn’t draining too much energy.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: Discover which apps are the biggest battery hogs
Mac OS X allows you to quickly see which apps are causing the Macbook Pro’s battery to drain the fastest. All you need to do is click the battery icon in the top toolbar. This pulls down a menu which shows any apps ‘Using Significant Energy’. Those at the top of the list are the biggest offenders.
Want more detailed info? Just head to your Macbook Pro’s Applications folder and head to the Utilities folder. In there you’ll find a nifty app called Activity Monitor.
Open this up and tap the Energy tab at the top of the screen. This shows you a complete breakdown of all of the apps that are sucking your battery dry, ordered by energy impact. Those at the top are once again the biggest offenders and should be closed down whenever possible.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: Reconsider Google Chrome
We’ve found that the Google Chrome browser is a big drain on battery power. The more tabs you have open at any one time, the worse the situation.
To sort this out, you can try switching to Apple’s Safari browser. When we tested using Safari instead of Chrome, we discovered that our Macbook Pro lasted a bit longer between charges as it has a smaller energy impact. While Chrome often hovered around the 25-30 mark in Energy Monitor no matter what we were doing, Safari tended to max out at 20 unless you’re playing video or something demanding.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: Close all unnecessary apps
If you’re in the habit of minimising apps when they’re not in use, rather than shutting them down entirely, then stop. Closing an app stops it from sucking any juice, while minimising it means it’s still ticking away in the background and possible eating into your remaining battery life.
How to get better Macbook Pro battery life: Kill any features you’re not using
If you’re on the road and not connected to any wireless networks, then kill your Macbook Pro’s WiFi. This won’t make a massive difference, but could buy you a few extra minutes of essential battery life. Likewise, features such as Bluetooth can be switched off when not in use.