TECH ADVICE: How to prolong a laptop battery's life
DALLAS -- Question: What's the best way to prolong the life of a laptop battery? If you're not going to use the computer for a while, how should you store the battery? Should you leave it installed or take it out?...
DALLAS -- Question: What's the best way to prolong the life of a laptop battery? If you're not going to use the computer for a while, how should you store the battery? Should you leave it installed or take it out?
Answer: Laptop batteries have changed a lot in the last 10 years. Today, most of them are lithium-based.
Apple Inc. seems to be leading the way in battery trends, with more time between charges and recent laptop models that lack user-changeable batteries. (You can have the company switch out a battery if it goes bad.)
According to Apple, it's important to keep the battery's electrons moving around. That means you need to use the battery to keep it working properly.
You should really examine how you use your laptop, whether it's an Apple or a Windows device. If it never leaves your desk at home or work, you should not leave the laptop plugged in indefinitely.
Once or twice a month, unplug the power cord and let the laptop run on battery power.
Let the battery run down until you get a warning on the screen that it's about to lose power, then plug it in and charge it back up.
Apple's operating system keeps track of the number of times you've cycled the battery. It also stores information about the battery's condition.
From the Apple Menu, choose About This Mac, then click More Info to bring up the System Profiler.
From the column on the left, click to highlight Power, and the information will be displayed on the right.
Apple says that if you don't plan to use your laptop for at least six months, you should remove the battery (if it's removable) and store it with about a 50 percent charge.
Apparently, storing a battery that's either fully charged or fully discharged can shorten its life.
Finally, laptop batteries eventually lose their ability to store power. Whether you use them or not, after three years most batteries will need to be replaced.