COMPUTER 101–Extending Your Laptop Battery

The Mouse Trap
by Janis Weber

Extending Your Laptop Battery
Are you struggling with short battery life with your laptop? Does it seem like your battery power goes from 100 percent to 20 percent in a short period of time? If so, you are likely aware of how frustrating laptop battery issues can be. Here are some suggestions.
Turn down that bright screen. It may not seem like a major issue to you, but the backlight of your screen is one of the most power-hungry components in your laptop and having it brighter than it needs to be will cause you to lose power like nobody’s business. To turn down the brightness of your screen, all you need to do is locate the brightness key on the keyboard of your Mac or Windows laptop. It is usually one of the “F” keys at the top of the keyboard.
On Macs, this key is usually denoted as a sun symbol. The key with the longer rays is to turn up your brightness, and the one with the shorter rays is to turn it down. The same goes for Windows computers. You can also turn down brightness in your settings, but it’s much easier to use the “F” key to do it. To change brightness settings manually on a Mac, choose Apple menu – System Preferences, click Displays, then click Display. Drag the Brightness slider to adjust the brightness of your display.
To change brightness settings manually on a Windows laptop open the Settings app from your Start menu or Start screen. Select System – Display – drag the Adjust brightness level slider to dim your screen. Also check out the Control Panel Options. Click on Power then choose at how many minutes to dim your screen when not in use.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Believe it or not, leaving your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings toggled to “on” can drain your battery even when you aren’t using them. Part of the problem is that your laptop will expend precious battery power “searching” for networks to connect to if these settings are on all of the time. If you’re trying to conserve your battery, make sure to turn off both options when they are not in use. How you do this will vary by the type of laptop you’re using, but these options can generally be located in “Settings” on both MacBooks and Windows laptops.
Don’t leave your laptop plugged in. It may seem counterintuitive to unplug your laptop before it’s fully charged, but leaving your laptop plugged in all day, every day, can actually wear your battery down faster than unplugging it when it’s between 40 and 80 percent. Then use it, letting the battery drain naturally over time. Here’s why. The rule is that the higher the charge percentage of your battery, the higher the voltage level it has to store. So, if you want to protect your battery and maximize battery life, unplug your laptop when it’s partially charged. It will help to alleviate the stress on your battery, and you’ll likely see an extended battery life in return.
Exercise the battery. As we age, some of us don’t exercise or remain active like we used to. Well, the same is true for your laptop battery. If you leave it plugged in all the time, it never has a chance to operate on its own. Thus, when you go to use it on battery, you will find it does not last as long as it did when it was new. Just pull out the power cord once a day, then plug it back in to fully charge. “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” If it drains all the way, that is fine too.

Next Sylvania Senior Center Classes:
New classes with be held throughout 2020 as soon as the center reopens. Check the SSC newsletter and website for the most current information. Included will be Windows 10 Computers Basics, Facebook, Microsoft Word, Google Docs and iPhone/iPad.
If you have a topic and know some folks who are interested,
please call the Senior Center
and ask for Susan Jenelle. Limited seating is filling fast so call ASAP to reserve your spot.

I Make House Calls:
I will come to your home or office and help you with almost any predicament including repairs, upgrades and general software or hardware issues. This Stay Home Order should end at some point. I can be your resident “Geek.” I have an endless amount of patience and knowledge with years of experience. Give me a text or call at
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Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor. E-mail any specific questions or comments to
or call her for assistance at
Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text or email away.

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