iPhone Battery Tip

Here's a tip that might be helpful in reducing the drain on your iPhone battery. In looking at the battery usage over the past 24 hours on my iPhone I noticed 74% of the drain was coming from the cellular app. Why's this, I wondered? Then it dawned on me.

We have AT&T cellular service, and there is virtually no signal at our house here in Scottsdale. We have to use wifi to make and receive phone calls. So the cellular app in my iPhone sits there all day searching for a signal from AT&T that it will never receive. This consumes battery power.

I turned the app off, checked battery draw a day later, and 'voila', the drain from that app had about disappeared. When we leave our house, I'll turn the app back on so we can receive and make phone calls when we're out and about.

Jim Hamm

MacBook Pro Battery Replacement

If you have a Non-Touch Bar 13" MacBook Pro and it was produced within a certain time frame, it may be eligible for a free battery replacement. The following article provides more details:

I just now checked my 13" MacBook Pro and it isn't eligible -- nor does it need -- a battery replaced.

Jim Hamm

Laptop Battery Charging

After I posted the article by Kim Komando on smart phone charging, a friend read Kim's suggestions and posted his comments that it's OK to leave one's laptop plugged in all the time. This was contrary to Kim's suggestion.  After reading hi comments I did some research, and found this article which describes more about whether one should leave their laptop plugged in all the time or not:

Here is a quote from the article discussing whether one should leave a laptop plugged in all the time:

"Ultimately, it’s not clear which is worse for a battery. Leaving the battery at 100% capacity will decrease its lifespan, but running it through repeated discharge and recharge cycles will also decrease its lifespan. Basically, whatever you do, your battery will wear down and lose capacity. That’s just how batteries work. The real question is what makes it die more slowly.

Laptop manufacturers are all over the place on this. Apple used to advise against leaving MacBooks plugged in all the time, but their battery advice page no longer has this piece of advice on it. Some PC manufacturers say leaving a laptop plugged in all the time is fine, while others recommend against it with no apparent reason."

Here is the link to Apple's battery advice page:

Opinions vary on this question, so you'll need to decide which you prefer. As for me, I plan not to leave my laptop plugged in all the time. Laptops were designed to be portable and operate off their battery, then recharged when the battery gets low. For me, this is more convenient.

Jim Hamm

Improve iPhone Battery Life

Here is a helpful article explaining how to improve the battery life on your iPhone and iPad.

I found two apps that were a drain on my iPhone battery because they were turned on all the time: My Radar Pro and Around Me. I didn't need them checking my location all the time so I set them to only check my location when I'm actually using the app. If you check you may find apps that are on all the time, and which you only need turned on when you are actually using the app. 

Another feature mentioned in the article is Smart Invert Colors, which, when turned on, inverts the background color from white to black. Black uses less power. I tried this and didn't like the black background, so I turned white back on. I'll sacrifice a bit of battery drain to have a white background.

It's worthwhile to check your settings as mentioned in the article. This may help to improve the battery life of your iPhone or iPad.

Jim Hamm

Improve Battery Life

Here's a helpful article from Computerworld on how to improve the battery life on all your Apple devices. Here's one example, which I wasn't aware of, and just now did, that reduces the amount of 'juice' drawn from your iPhone: switch off AirDrop. I never use this feature, and it has been just sitting there, hour after hour, sipping 'juice' from the battery on my iPhone!

There are other tips in the article that may help keep your devices from losing battery life so quickly. Read the article to find out more.

Jim Hamm 

We Need Better Batteries

        Jim Hamm asks an interesting question: "Although Apple's new MacBook is really thin and small, the big hangup now is the battery -- how to get it smaller? 
        "Look at the inside of the new MacBook and see how small the computing stuff is (especially after getting rid of a spinning hard drive and optical drive), and all the room left for a battery. Although the running hours before recharging have improved by about 50% for a computer battery, the improvement isn't as impressive as for all the electronic stuff." 
        And Jim declares, "Way down the road, Graphene may be the answer for a significant improvement in batteries."  Take a look at the link he sends:

Is iOS 8.2 Killing Your Battery Life?

 Here is a tip that might help the battery life on your iPhone or iPad if you've
installed iOS 8.2."  Jim Hamm explains, " I checked the Fitness and Tracking app on my                                                       devices, and it was turned on in both. Why or how it got turned on, or why it's even there,
I don't know, but I turned it off. Might help the battery life as the article states."

Electronic Device Batteries

        "What's the best way to increase the lifespan of the battery in your smartphone, tablet or computer? Here's an article with useful tips," remarks Jim Hamm.  
        "What's the best way to increase the daily battery life of your device so it doesn't run down during the day? Here's what Apple has to say about that.
        "It seems it's best not to discharge the battery in your device down to zero as there is a finite number of times the battery can do that and still take a charge. Also, it seems it's OK to leave the device plugged in overnight (if you should want to) as long as you remove any cover so the heat can dissipate.
        "Will apps running in the background on your device drain battery life? I've read articles claiming yes and no. This article states apps running in the background do not drain battery life, at least on an Apple device.
        And here's Jim's latest experience.  "What I have found, though, on my iPad, if I keep opening apps and websites eventually my iPad slows down and gets 'buggy'. By doing a reset and closing everything down, everything runs smoothly again when it reopens."

Computer Getting Hot?

        "You may have noticed that your laptop gets a little hot when you have been using it for a while," begins John Carter.  He goes on to give this helpful advice.  "The battery doesn’t like being hot (it can go bad quickly), so it’s a good idea to do what you can to keep your laptop cool.

        "Rock and metal are good conductors of heat. Wood is an insulator. If you are using your laptop on a wooden tabletop, the heat from the laptop is not being dissipated very well, so it would be a good idea to prop up the back side even a little to let air flow get under the laptop. 
        "If you’re using the laptop on your lap, your legs will get warm. Putting a pillow under the laptop to keep your legs from heating up is not the best idea either. 
        "A laptop cooler, one with fans in it, is the best way to keep your laptop cool. A dual fan laptop cooler is better than a single fan cooler. The problem with any laptop cooler is that it needs power, and it gets it from your laptop via a USB port. 
        "For the MacBook Air, you might not have any reason to use such a cooler since they stay pretty cool at all times. But the MacBook Pro (even one with an SSD drive) can get quite hot on a hot day."
        John completes his advice with this,  "For the sake of your battery if nothing else, keep your laptop cool."
        But, John, how hot is hot?  Looking at the iStatPro widget on my MacBook Pro gives me temperatures from 88 degrees in the Enclosure Base #3  to 121 degrees in the CPU Diode! 
        Two shakes later the reply flies in from John, "I would have to check the specs.  It is different for each model.  I would think that if you hear the fan running it's getting too hot." And he comments on the little "legs" under my computer.  "The legs will certainly help to provide air cooling under the laptop."
       Wouldn't it be nice to inform our readers about that iStatPro widget?  Aaaaack.  It's been discontinued. See widgets here:

Laptop Battery Solution?

        When Jim Hamm wrote, " Here is an article explaining that it's not a good idea to keep your laptop plugged into electricity all the time," the question came up:  what's been your experience with charging your computer batteries?  Jim replies, "Here's what Apple says about their batteries. When using my laptop I have been just leaving it plugged in. I think now I'll start to run it more on just the battery and plug it in when it reaches a 50% discharge state."  And we know a happy battery makes a happy computer! 

Look at that Battery

        “Let’s take a look at that battery,” advised Kyle on the phone.  Doing a Google search for “Mac swollen battery” brought up a lot of articles and many youtube videos about the problem.  An expert was needed. 

Yesterday’s trip to the MacMedia store  in Peoria we found Kyle to be a very helpful man who patiently explained the situation.  He installed a new battery.  We were advised to let the MacBook Pro battery run through a full charge cycle at least once a month.  
         When we got home we found an article going into detail.  “A charge cycle is completed when you use up the full capacity of your battery and then recharge it. This need not be in one go: if you run your battery down to 50% and then recharge it, you’ve completed half a charge cycle. Do so again, and you’ve completed a full cycle. The lithium-ion polymer batteries used in modern MacBooks should be able to go through 1,000 full cycles and still hold 80% of their original full capacity. If you don’t unplug your MacBook very often, we recommend setting a monthly iCal reminder to run down its battery before giving it a full charge.”

        Don and I were happy doing business at MacMedia, Arizona’s largest privately owned Apple retail specialist which provides both in house and on-site repair services, as well as sales.   Yesterday the Arrowhead Apple Store was crowded with customers and geniuses, and you could hardly walk through the aisles. At MacMedia the store is large and displays lots of Apple merchandise.  And we decided to get that new MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion, too.  Kyle deftly transferred everything for us, and we can recommend him to you.  

How's Your Battery Doing?

"Do you have a Mac laptop?  Do you run on battery often?  Like to know more about how your battery is performing and the condition it is in?"  Jim Hamm asks.  He offers this link, saying, "You might take a look at the 'Battery Guru' app."But Jim, how does that compare with the iStat widget that comes up Function 4 key? Two shakes later we have his answer.  "Somewhat similar, I presume.  Here is the article in Small Dog Tech Tails #821 that describes more about the app." When you open that Tech Tails you'll also be entertained by the YouTube video of a truck running over an iPad.  Did you expect that?

Prolonging Battery Life: iPad

        Jim Hamm passes this along to our PMUG members who have an iPad: "Here's a tip for prolonging battery life on your iPad.
        "1. Batteries do get less effective as they get older, and 100% in a year’s time may mean half as much battery life as it does now — but there are precautions you can take to reduce the aging effects on your battery.
          2. Don’t charge your battery all the time just because it isn’t at 100%.
          3. Use the iPad until the battery is 100% depleted. If possible, leave it for an hour after depletion.
          4. When charging, allow it to charge fully back to 100%.
          5. Heat will also decrease your battery life, so take your iPad out of the case while charging.
          6. Don’t leave the iPad plugged into a sleeping computer, as the battery will drain.
        "By taking these steps you can ensure the battery is fully 'cycled' every time and should have minimal loss of battery life. Remember, every time you charge the device it will hold a little less charge, so avoid charging when it isn’t necessary."

What About Battery Backups?

        Have you wondered about those battery backups like Trip-Lite and APC?  John Carter has some information that will help solve the question.      
        John gets our attention here: "There’s nothing like a chit-chat between a disillusioned user and an expert to clear up misconceptions about something. This is the case regarding battery backups and why they sometimes do not last as long as the warranty. The conversation in this online thread at about battery backups is really worth reading from top to bottom. You’ll find out why choosing the right battery backup for your electronic devices is essential and come away understanding why one with a two year warranty would fail long before its time or may last much longer. The expert also identifies several specs to consider aside from just the power rating. Naturally, the more demanding your needs are the more costly the battery backup will be."
        John goes on, "To figure out what size of battery backup is needed, total up the power consumption of all the devices you want to protect and buy a battery backup that can provide at least that much power.
        "For instance, the Tripp-Lite sold at Costco is rated at 500W. I use these units throughout my house to protect everything electronic: one in the bedroom for the entertainment system there, another in the living room for that entertainment system, and one each for the two computer systems in the study.
        "I doubt that any combination of components for a computer system would exceed 500W. However, a 21” iMac draws about 200W and hence dictates that a 300W battery backup (Tripp-Lite here or APC here) is the minimum to use."
        Here John concludes, "Also, depending on the number and type of components in an entertainment system the total power could exceed 500W (an A/V receiver rated at 100W per channel draws 500W total for a 5.1 speaker system at full volume) and warrant more than one battery backup device."

Conserve Battery Life

        It started with a tip about conserving battery life for your iPad, but Jim Hamm goes on to tell about laptop battery life, too.
        "Here's a tip for your iPad. I took a workshop on the iPad 2 at the Apple store yesterday. The gentleman presenting the workshop said that a person should close all open apps occasionally to conserve battery life. Every time you open an app that app stays running in the background unless you specifically close it.
        "Double tap the home button. All those apps you see along the bottom are open and running. To close them put your finger on one and hold till it starts wiggling. Close all the open apps along that bottom row.
        Jim explains, "I took a look at mine and practically every app I have on my iPad 2 was open and running in the background. Take a check on yours and see how many you have running. How often to close open apps? Perhaps at the end of the day might be a good time -- at least that's what I plan to do."
        But is that a factor in battery life for our laptop computers, I wanted to know.  Jim said, "If the laptop is running on battery, then I think yes, probably each app might draw a bit more juice from the battery. A bigger problem might be using up RAM. Every app uses RAM, and Safari and Mail will continue to grow the longer one keeps them running. Having a few apps open probably wouldn't affect streaming, though."
        My final question was about the Apple workshops. Jim furnishes us with this Scottsdale store link.

All-day Batteries May Be Coming

        "When?" we gasp.  "All day, all right!"
        Yes, suggests Allen Laudenslager.  He goes on to recommend this article from Fastcompany.  It proposes a shift at Apple from the Intel chip to a ARM chip to take advantage of the ARM low power usage. While deep inside the computer, the central processor is the key element in power usage. Apple is already using the ARM processor in the iPad and the shift would help align the operating system between the Apple mobile (iPhone and iPad) and their laptop computer line up."  Allen smiles, "There is no way to know how accurate this particular article is, an 18 hour laptop batter life sounds good to me!"

MacBook Battery Problem Solved

De Prez Allen Laudenslager found a solution for his battery problem. He relates, "My MacBook battery has been shutting down my computer in less than 15 minutes and is only 2 and a half years old. Should last longer. I also noticed that while the computer shuts down with a low battery message, when I check the manual battery level indicator on the battery it still shows a full charge

"I ran all the internal checks and tried everything on the Apple help pages. Then I found the directions to disconnect the power cord and let the computer run till it quit. Then leave it turned on for at least 5 hours. Yes, 5 hours after the battery died."

Allen continues, "Left it on over night after it quit and the next morning reconnected the power cord. After recharging, I have run for almost an hour and the battery shows slightly less than half charge which seems about right. The computer did not shut down and that's good enough for me.

"Try this if you are having short battery life in your laptop before you spend all that money for an new battery.

calibrating the battery
fully charge 2 hrs beyond green indicator on power cable
run on battery until machine shuts down or sleeps
leave computer off for 5 hrs or more
connect power adaptor, and leave connected until battery is fully charged.

resetting PRAM
(holding command + alt + P + R at boot time)

resetting SMC
remove external power
remove battery
hold down power button for 5+ seconds

Allen concludes, "From my Mac expert, the one that finally worked for me was the charge, run till shutdown and then recharge."