How to Care for Your MacBook Battery

A LockerGnome reader asked, “My MacBook is less than a month old and iStat shows me that my battery health is 95% with only 17 cycles. I’m not sure if frequently unplugging and replugging my MacBook charger is causing this or not.”

This is a great question. Notebooks are meant to be portable and accessible pretty much anywhere. Unfortunately, a weak battery can ruin a user’s experience. The good news is that your frequent use of the battery actually has a positive affect on overall battery life. A stale battery that never gets the chance to discharge can age and lose its capacity at a slightly faster rate. Thankfully, Apple has a process called “adaptive charging” which

Battery Calibration
My first piece of advice is to make sure you’ve calibrated the battery on your new MacBook properly. It’s recommended that you go through a calibration cycle when you receive it and once every month or two afterwords to maintain accurate readings on your battery level monitor. iStat is a great tool, but it may not be very accurate without a properly calibrated battery.

According to Apple, calibrating your battery can be done using the following process:

  1. Plug in the MagSafe Power Adapter and fully charge the battery.
  2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for two hours or longer.
  3. With the computer still on, disconnect the power adapter and continue to use your computer.
  4. When you see the low battery warning, save your work and close all applications. Keep your computer turned on until it goes to sleep.
  5. After your computer goes to sleep, turn it off or allow it to sleep for five hours or longer.
  6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged. You can use your computer during this time.

While you are discharging and charging the battery, you can use your computer as you normally would except for a brief period of time during steps 4 ad 5 as indicated.

Charging and Discharging
Apple does not recommend that you leave your MacBook plugged in all the time. In fact, Apple describes an ideal usage situations as, “a commuter who uses her notebook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge.”

Apple expects its current line of notebook batteries to hold at least 80% of their original factory capacity through 1,000 charges and discharges. A system they call “adaptive charging” is in place with the intention in mind of keeping the battery healthy for up to five years.

Storage
It’s recommended that if you use your notebook infrequently, the battery be discharged at least once every month in order to maintain calibration and sustain capacity.

If you plan on storing the MacBook for extended periods of time (six months or more), Apple recommends that you discharge the battery to 40-50% prior to doing so. If you store a battery for long periods of time at full charge, it may lose capacity more quickly.

Remove AVG 8.5 Notification Area In Free Version

Back on August 8th, 2009 I did an article on how to remove the notification area from the free version of AVG 8. [Original article is here] Since than, version 8.5 has been introduced and the old instructions no longer work. Yesterday reader Sime provided the script that now needs to be run, using the same instructions I originally provided. Here is the new updates information:

Follow the below steps to disable the appearance of the irritating AVG 8 notification area:
1. Open Notepad or another plain text editor.
2. Copy and paste the following four lines from this page into the text editor:

@echo off
ren avgmwdef_us.mht avgmwdef_us.mht.bak
ren avgresf.dll avgresf.dll.bak
ren avgfree_us.mht avgfree_us.mht.bak

3. Save the text document containing the above three lines in the location where AVG 8 is installed. By default, this will be C:Program FilesAVGAVG8. Save the file as something like “AVGNotifyOff.bat”, without the quotes. It really doesn’t matter how you name the file, so long as you can identify it, and it ends in the “.bat” extension, so Windows sees it as a batch file.
4. Once the file’s saved, close the text editor, navigate in Windows Explorer or My Computer to C:Program FilesAVGAVG8, locate the batch file document you saved in step 3 above, and you should be able to run the file by pressing and releasing the Enter key. All the batch file does is rename two files with a “.bak” (backup) extension, so the files are still there, it’s just that AVG can’t see them any more, and you should find that the bottom line of the AVG user interface window no longer displays the “Hide notification, button” item.

Note: Trying to run the batch file more than once is useless unless an AVG program update has replaced the two files which have been renamed. This trick is subject to stop working if AVG releases a program update which uses a different method to display the irritating notification.

If you should want or need to undo the above trick, all you need to do is navigate to C:Program FilesAVGAVG8, locate each of the two files with a “.bak” extension, press and release the F2 function key to bring up the rename dialog, press the End key to move the cursor to the end of the filename, then press and release the Backspace key four times to delete the “.bak” extension, then press and release the Enter key to keep the new name. This procedure must be done three times, once for each of the two files with the “.bak” extension. However, you shouldn’t need to undo the trick.

I hope you find this trick useful. Enjoy.

Comments welcome.

Thanks to Sime for providing this usefull information. Two-thumbs up!