The battery in your laptop computer is a vital part of what makes it a useful tool. Without a long-lasting battery, your laptop is limited in where it can go and how it can serve you. Thus, it’s in any laptop owner’s interest to do everything they can to maintain the battery as long as possible.
One key thing anyone can do to preserve their laptop battery is to check battery health regularly. Checking your battery health provides an important window into how your battery is doing and whether it might need replacement soon. Not sure how to do that? We’ll show you a quick and easy way to do it on both PC and Mac!
What Is Battery Health?
Battery health is basically a measurement of the charging capacity that your battery can accept, as compared to its original capacity. Laptops use lithium ion batteries, which degrade over time as they’re repeatedly drained and charged. Every battery is designed to last for an approximate number of charge cycles. As you approach or exceed that number, your laptop’s battery performance will start to decline, eventually losing its ability to hold a charge completely.
The question is, how do you know when you’re approaching that point? You might be able to tell if your battery has started to display signs of degrading, including:
- Charging very slowly or not at all
- Draining quickly even on low-intensity tasks
- Suddenly shutting off when it seems to have power left
- Running hotter than normal, even after cleaning the fan and vents
- Sending you warning messages through the operating system
However, it’s still preferable to know your battery’s status before it starts to act up, so you can get prepared to replace it soon. Fortunately, there are some relatively simple ways to do that.
How Do I Check My Laptop’s Battery Health?
Windows and macOS both offer easy ways to check your laptop’s battery health. Here’s a quick rundown on how to do it:
- Windows: Access the Windows Command Prompt utility and then type this command: powercfg /batteryreport and press Enter. This creates a battery report and saves it as an HTML file in a location indicated by the command prompt. Go to the file’s location in File Explorer and open it with your browser by double-clicking it. Look at the battery capacity history and battery life estimate sections to see how your battery’s current capacity compares to its full designed capacity.
- macOS: Hold down the Option key and click on the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen. Click System Information at the top and then click Power on the report that pops up. Find the section labeled Battery Information and then the Health Information subsection. You’ll see the number of charge cycles your battery has completed, a condition indicator (either “Normal” or “Service Recommended”), and a maximum percentage that shows how much of your battery’s original capacity it can currently hold.
During this process, you might discover that your battery isn’t operating at full capacity, or that you’re approaching the manufacturer’s maximum cycle count. That’s nothing to panic over, especially if your laptop is a few years old. However, if your laptop battery is significantly below its designed capacity or close to its maximum cycle count, it’s a good indicator that you might need to think about replacing either your battery or your laptop soon.
My Laptop Battery Is Dying — What Are My Options?
If your laptop’s battery is beginning to fail, your two main options are to replace the battery or replace the laptop itself. Let’s take a brief look at each.
Replacing the battery is a viable option for some laptop models. Check your laptop’s manual and any other documentation from the manufacturer to determine whether your battery is replaceable. If you decide to replace the battery, make sure to choose a high quality laptop battery replacement from a reputable source, and get it installed by a computer repair professional.
If your laptop is older and/or already has other issues, replacing the laptop itself may be a better option. Many laptops with great battery life are available now, and opting for a new one can save you the headaches of working with a constantly dying battery. Of course, you can also simply keep using the laptop until the battery fails, as long as you don’t mind needing to plug it in often. If you’re going this route, make sure you regularly back up any important files using an external hard drive or cloud backup service because batteries can fail suddenly.
Protecting Your Laptop’s Battery Health
Although every laptop battery eventually loses its charge, the way you take care of your battery can help prolong its life significantly. These are some of the basic dos and don’ts that will help you make your laptop’s battery last:
- Don’t let your laptop battery get to 0 percent charge if you can help it. A full discharge puts more strain on the battery, so try to plug your laptop in when it hits around 20 percent battery if possible.
- If you don’t use your laptop often, avoid storing it with the battery either fully charged or fully drained. Instead, charge it to 50 percent before putting the laptop away.
- Whenever possible, avoid exposing your computer to excessive heat, which can permanently reduce the battery capacity. Try to avoid using or charging your computer in direct bright sunlight, and don’t leave it in your car on a hot day.
- If you mostly use your laptop for tasks that don’t consume much power, like basic web browsing and word processing, consider running it in energy saver mode (available on both Windows and Mac). This can help reduce how often you need to charge it, and thus reduce how quickly it goes through charge cycles.
Whether you’re using your laptop for work, gaming, study, or anything else, a well-cared-for battery will serve you for longer. If you haven’t checked your battery health recently, do it today!
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