How to maintain battery health on laptops and notebooks
If you are an academic or researcher working from home, you might be inclined to leave your device plugged in. If before you were constantly moving around with your device, then leaving it plugged in for a few hours occasionally would not have presented any real problems. However, if you are now using your device as a desktop and it is plugged in most of the time then there is something that you should be aware of.
You may have noticed that when charging your device there is an excess of heat coming off the bottom. This is normal but If the temperature remains high for too long battery life could be seriously reduced and damage to the device may result. Therefore, leaving the device plugged in and charging at 100 percent for extended periods of time is not recommended. Some things you can do to prolong your battery lifespan include the following.
- If your device has a removable battery, consider charging it to 50 percent then removing it and using the charging cable alone.
- Avoid extremes in ambient temperature and keep your device and battery cool by operating in well ventilated environments.
- Keep your device operating system updated.
- If your device has a battery charging threshold setting adjust this to a value lower than 100 percent. For example, so that battery charging kicks in at 75 percent and stops at 80 percent. On some Dell devices this can be achieved using the Command Power Manager app. On the XPS 13 device you can select 'Primarily AC use' in Battery Settings to automatically adjust the charging threshold.
- Most Surface devices have a Battery Limit option in the UEFI settings. This is standard on new models such as Laptop 3 and Pro 7 but older models may require a firmware update. Details can be found on the Microsoft website.
- Lenovo users can install the Vantage app to set battery charging thresholds. Guidance can be found in this YouTube video.
- Some HP notebooks have a Battery Health Manager setting in the BIOS that can be tweaked to limit the battery's charge but if you have an older model you may have to upgrade the BIOS to see it. Select the option 'Maximise my battery health'. Details can be found on the HP Support website.
- For MacBook's enable battery health management. This feature was introduced in macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and is designed to improve your battery's lifespan by reducing the rate at which it ages chemically. More details on how to use this feature can be found on the Apple support website.
- If your device does not have any battery limiting or charge thresholding features, then get in the habit of unplugging the charger and allowing the battery to discharge for a few hours before charging again. This exercises the battery and increases its lifespan.
Please note that schemes employed by modern devices to achieve extended battery lifespans may mildly impact overall device performance. This is to be expected but is designed to have minimal impact on your productivity.