How-To: Calibrate Your Laptop Battery

33 Comments

battery_lifeI recently wrote about extending your MacBook’s battery life via a firmware update. Today I am going to outline how to extend your battery life by calibrating it so that it holds its charge properly. After all, running out of juice with when you’re on the go is the worst possible scenario in the electronic world!

As a general rule, you should calibrate your battery every month or two to keep it running in top form.

To calibrate your laptop’s battery:

  1. Plug your laptop in and let it charge completely (your battery icon in the menu bar will be completely full and the charger’s connector light turns green).
  2. Keep the laptop plugged in for another two hours (after it is fully charged).
  3. Disconnect your laptop from power. Use it until it falls asleep from low battery.
  4. Turn off the laptop and let it “rest” for about five hours.
  5. Plug your laptop back in and let it fully charge.

It is completely fine to use your laptop during all of these steps (except, of course, when the computer is asleep).

Calibrating your laptop battery every few months is a great way to ensure you get the longest life out of it. If you’ve had your laptop for a little while and want to know the current maximum capacity of your battery, you can use the free coconutBattery utility.

coconutBattery isn’t just a tool which shows you only the current charge of your battery – it also shows you the current maximum capacity of it in relation to the original capacity your battery had as it left the factory. You also get information about the battery-loadcycles (how often did you fully load your battery), the current charger (coconutBattery even warns you if you plugged in a wrong charger for your Notebook) and last but not least information about the age of your Mac.

33 Comments

Lisa Fusella

I bought a MacBook Pro less than 12 hours ago and I left it to charge. The light went from Amber to Green in about an hour and a half. So I opened it up to use it and set things up and whatever.

Then about 6 hours later I pulled it off the main power supply and the battery has been acting strange since. It started off a 8:30, then within seconds dropped to 8 then 7:30, then back up to 8, then to 9:30 and then dropped to 6:30. It keeps going in patterns like this.

Are you able to help? Thank you.

stigger

I think what apple means is either to let it sleep OR off for 5 hours or more. The key being the 5 hours, sleeping or off, both methods work.

Soff

It works for PC’s too. At least HP has a battery option that is called calibrate (or i believe you can create it). When you unplug your computer, put in that mode and then follow the rest of the steps.

bart

This works I tried it, my macbook holds charge like a trooper since I did this once a month.

batteryxia

Lately I encountered problem where battery drained faster than usual.

I found out that it was Cooliris, a media browsing plugin for Safari, and Windows XP on Virtual box, causing the fast drain issue.

I still need to run Virtualbox occasionally, but have removed Cooliris, now battery comes back as normal, laptop battery and I noticed that the fan spin slower.

Perhaps beside calibrating battery, background application is something that we need to watch out as some app just take too much CPU cycle even running background.

batteryxia

In my case charge current is step changing in 56% and 75% of full capacity during recharge. MY recommendation – 1,laptop battery when you transport your MacBook with power adapter unplugged in “sleep mode” for longer as 2-3 hour – shut down your MacBook. 2, when you discharging battery watch 55 or 75% of discharge when it is possible recharge battery. For instance – 3 times discharging from 100% to 75% – battery cycle counter increase only about +1 after 3x recharge. 3, when you working (or leaving) plug and connect power adapter to your MacBook, even if it is charged for 100%.

Buy Laptop

This is a very good post! Some of us don’t really pay attention to our laptop battery life when we buy-laptop and therefore we don’t even know how to extend our laptop battery life, until we learn that the laptop battery seems to last shorter than it should be.

Very nice posting!

Chin Yau Chia

My MacBook, 22 months old, was constantly on, well, almost. I seldom shut down and I am a heavy user, typically using more than 12 hrs per day.

I always connect to power source when possible, regardless of the battery level. And it has now reached 390 load cycles, and still having a good 93% and lasted for almost 4 hrs if I am not charging.

Lately I encountered problem where battery drained faster than usual.

I found out that it was Cooliris, a media browsing plugin for Safari, and Windows XP on Virtual box, causing the fast drain issue.

I still need to run Virtualbox occasionally, but have removed Cooliris, now battery comes back as normal, and I noticed that the fan spin slower.

Perhaps beside calibrating battery, background application is something that we need to watch out as some app just take too much CPU cycle even running background.

Cindy

wow…here I was looking on this page to see if my battery had something to do with my computer slow down..and this guy mentions Cooliris. I had a slowdown for about 2 weeks now….my typing is even faster than what my computer can keep up with. I’m going to delete Cooliris to see if my computer speeds up. I had downloaded it about 2 weeks ago, when all my problems started.

Mia

The most thorough and informative information I have found. Enjoyed it immensely.

XCool

I’ve been using this method on all my battery-powered devices, MacBook, iPod touch, etc. Heck, I do this even for my PS3 controllers.

As of today, my Late 2008 MacBook’s battery continues to hover around 4300mAh maximum capacity – original capacity is 4100mAh. Data provided by coconutBattery.

Here’s a screenshot: http://twitpic.com/6j64z

appledont

Hi All.
I have MacBook v 1.1, 38 months old and 291 cycle of baterry charge with remaining capacity 5080mAh (CoconutBattery). My firs battery was replaced due to malfunction. LiIon (LiPol) batt. dont like deep discharge (dont make so often battery formating) and dont like high current charge. But LiIon battery is relatively imune to short cycle recharging with small current (regardless of remains energy stored in batt.) and continual charging(or continual plugged power adapter) In my case charge current is step changing in 56% and 75% of full capacity during recharge. MY recommendation – 1, when you transport your MacBook with power adapter unplugged in “sleep mode” for longer as 2-3 hour – shut down your MacBook. 2, when you discharging battery watch 55 or 75% of discharge when it is possible recharge battery. For instance – 3 times discharging from 100% to 75% – battery cycle counter increase only about +1 after 3x recharge. 3, when you working (or leaving) plug and connect power adapter to your MacBook, even if it is charged for 100%. 4, When you start working plug power adapt to MacBook even if is fully charged. (In 100% charge battery is not charged and not drained). Good luck. appledont

Laura

Great article! tHanks. My pro is not even 6 months old and giving me terrible battery life!

Eric Knibbe

Another tip: if your battery is old and eventually drains itself to the point where it refuses to recharge, and the host Mac won’t even recognize it, take the battery out and let it sit for a few days. It’s worked twice for me now.

Marissa

I’m interested to know if this works for the iPhone too.

Bala

Yes, it works with ipods too. In fact this holds good for all Li-ion batteries.

Christian Oliver

Wouldn’t this work on the iPhone and other Li-ion batteries?

Rolf Schmolling

Hi,

I believe it is very difficult to “switch off your laptop” while it sleeps because of low low battery… so this step should be ommitted. Just basically let it rest without beeing plugged in for about 5 hs…

regards, Rolf

jason

my laptop battery will not charge any more its like frozen on the power meter how can i fix that.

James

Maybe I’m missing something here.

Is this officially proven to actually calibrate and extend the battery life or is it just your own opinion and personal benchmark?

Comments are closed.