Despite the MacBook’s svelte design, their batteries last a long time because Apple put a lot of thought into how the hardware and software work together. Still, if you find yourself running out of juice, some simple changes can help you extend your MacBook battery life.
Apple designs its laptops to maximize user productivity and minimize extra work, but following these simple tips will boost MacBook battery life considerably.
There are bound to be times when you would like your OS X Mountain Lion Mac to not go to sleep. You can set you Mac to Never sleep in the System Preferences, Energy Saver preferences pane, but that’s not always going to work. Even when it’s set to Never, your Mac may still, in fact, go to sleep. The other problem with the Energy Saver preference is that you only have the ability to set the sleep action to hold of foor three hours, or never. What if you wanted to keep it from sleeping for four hours? Or four and a half hours? Or eight hours?
With a neat little Mountain Lion-only Terminal command, you can set it to whatever you like. Here’s the scoop.
This is how much it costs in electricity to run my 13″ MacBook Pro per year, if it were continually left on: $11.20. My 32-inch flat screen TV? That’s a whopping $100/year, if left on; but when it’s off, it’ll only drain to the tune of about 75 cents per year (similarly, my MBP only drains about $2/year in sleep mode).
How do I know this? I’ve been (lame-pun alert) charging around, giddily testing everything in the house with Belkin’s Conserve Insight, a brilliant, $30 tool that measures the energy use of any gadget or appliance that plugs into a wall outlet — and the results have been (oh, and again) electrifying enough for me to really change my habits.
Don’t you hate it when you’re watching some streamed video in your web browser, and just when it’s getting interesting your screen dims, or the screensaver activates?
It happens because your computer doesn’t consider video playing in the browser to be “activity”. It doesn’t care what the browser is showing; if it thinks you’ve wandered off to make some coffee, it will do what you’ve told it to do in the Energy Saver preferences. Hence those mid-stream dimming moments.
Caffeine is a tiny utility that solves this problem in a single click. It sits in your Menu Bar, doing nothing until you need it. When you start watching some video and you want the screen to stay alive, you just click the Caffeine icon. Now your screen will stay bright no matter what, until you click Caffeine again to put things back to normal.
The aptly-named Caffeine gives your computer a temporary boost, keeping it alert enough so you can watch your video uninterrupted. It’s free, it’s great, and you should go get it now.
(You’re reading the 21st post in our series, 50 Essential Mac Applications: a list of the great Mac apps the team at Cult of Mac value most. Read more.)