COMPUTER 101–Extending Your Laptop Battery

The Mouse Trap
by Janis Weber

Check out all of my archived articles from the Sylvania AdVantage HERE.

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.

Turn Down that Bright Screen

It may not seem like a major issue to you, but the backlight of the screen is one of the most power-hungry components in a laptop and having it brighter than it needs to be will cause it to lose power like nobody’s business. To turn down the brightness of a screen, all you must 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 the brightness, and the one with the shorter rays is to turn it down. The same goes for Windows computers. You can also turn down your brightness in settings, but it’s much easier to use the “F” key to do it. To change your 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 the display. 

To change the brightness settings manually on a Windows laptop open the Settings app from the Start menu or Start screen. Select System – Display – drag the Adjust brightness level slider to dim the screen. Also, check out the Control Panel Options. Click on Power then choose how many minutes to dim your screen at 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 aren’t 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 the battery down faster than unplugging it when it’s between 40 percent and 80 percent. Then use it, letting the battery drain naturally over time.

Here’s the deal. The rule is that the higher the charge percentage of the 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 a 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

Many classes are open by reservation only. Computer classes are not scheduled yet, but you are welcome to use the computer lab Mondays and Wednesdays 1-4. Check the SSC newsletter and website for the most current information or call Susan Jennelle at 419-885-3913. I hope to hold classes this year. We are getting there. Check the Sylvania Center Newsletter to see what is happing.
I Make House Calls (I am vaccinated and wear a mask)
I will come to your home or office and help you with almost any predicament including repairs, upgrades including software, tutoring or printer issues. 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 419-290-3570.

– It’s not if, but when you will lose data!

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 contact her for assistance at 419-290-3570. Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text, or email away.


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