How to fix MacBook battery drain issue

How to fix MacBook battery drain issues

For a long battery backup has been MacBook’s forte. Recently I was shell-shocked to see my MacBook Air battery drop from full to half overnight. The battery drain issue on MacBook is real, and it can send you running for the charging port. This article highlights common MacBook battery issues and how to fix them.

Why is my MacBook battery draining fast?

The reason could be anything ranging from software issues to a bad battery. Sometimes apps and even your usage pattern determine MacBook battery life. Here is how you can check whether the MacBook battery is draining fast.

Make a note of the battery level. Keep laptop open and check battery level after 30-40 minutes. Don’t worry if the battery level has depleted by a few points. It is perfectly normal. On the other hand, if the battery level has decreased, you are in the right place. Read on!

Fix most common MacBook battery issues

Finding the root cause of battery drain is important. It is fairly easy to fix the MacBook battery drain after finding the cause. Below are some common MacBook battery issues and steps to fix them.

1. Fix the battery drain issue on macOS Monterey 12.2.1

Apple fixed the widespread issue with macOS Monterey 12.2.1. Many macOS Monterey users complained about unusual battery drain. The drop occurred when MacBook was in sleep mode. If your machine is running Monterey, update to the latest version.

2. Fix MacBook battery draining due to usage

MacBook battery could be draining fast due to heavy apps in the background. Or perhaps you are using resource-intensive apps. Now let us find out that resource-hogging app.

  1. Click the menubar battery indicator.
  2. Check for apps listed under Using Significant Energy.

    Fix MacBook battery draining due to usage
  3. Alternatively, go to Applications.
  4. Click UtilitiesActivity Monitor.
    Activity Monitor displays a list of apps with real-time CPU and GPU usage.

    Go to Activity Monitor and Close apps that are taking up too many resources
  5. Close apps that are taking up too many resources. You can force quit such apps.

3. Fix MacBook battery issues caused by improper settings

Sometimes improper settings could lead to increased battery consumption. Consider reducing screen brightness. Next, tweak power adapter preferences. Here’s how you can set it up.

  1. Click the Apple icon.
  2. Select System Preferences → Energy Saver.

    Click on Energy Saver in Mac System Preferences
  3. Open Power Adapter tab.
  4. Using the slider to set display, turn off time.
    The display will automatically turn off after detecting inactivity.
  5. Uncheck Enable Power Nap when plugged into a power adapter.

    Uncheck Enable Power Nap when plugged into a power adapter on Mac

4. MacBook battery life has decreased

Batteries are consumable parts that lose their ability to charge as they chemically age. In other words, it is normal for battery backup to decrease with time. Apple says batteries on MacBook should last for 1000 cycles. In my case, the battery backup depleted drastically after crossing the mark.

Battery health is an important indicator of your battery performance. Here’s how you can check battery health on MacBook.

5. Fix MacBook not charging when plugged in

Some users complain their MacBook is not charging when plugged in. It happens even when the system indicates Power Source. One of the reasons for this is a depleted battery. When the battery no longer holds a charge, macOS shows it is not charging. The only solution is replacing the battery.

If your MacBook battery is new, a charging adapter or cable could be the culprit. Follow these steps to fix MacBook not charging when plugged in.

6. MacBook not charging to 100%

Battery recalibration is an effective way to fix this issue. The fault could lie with battery management software. Follow the steps below to recalibrate the MacBook battery

  • Fully charge your MacBook.
  • Use MacBook till the battery is completely drained.
  • Once again, fully recharge your MacBook. 

If this doesn’t fix the issue, resetting SMC could help.

9 Ways to improve MacBook battery life

There are many ways to enhance MacBook battery life. These practices also help increase the battery backup. The suggestions below will help squeeze the most out of your MacBook battery.

1. Switch to Safari

Using Safari on Chrome can have a significant impact on battery life. Chrome is notorious for hogging system memory. Safari is frugal and a better choice for those in the Apple ecosystem. It offers iCloud integration, password manager, reading mode, and Continuity features.

Switching to a new browser is not easy, but give it a try.

2. Enable Battery Health management

Apple has added a new Battery Health management feature starting with macOS Catalina. The feature uses power consumption data to optimize the charge cycle.

In other words, the battery will only charge to an optimized level based on your usage. It will help prolong battery life by reducing wear and chemical aging.

3. Update MacBook and apps

A newer version of the operating system offers better battery management features. Consider updating your MacBook to macOS Monterey. Update current apps to the latest version.

  1. Open App Store from the Dock.
  2. Select Updates from the left menu.
  3. Click Update All.

    Update MacBook and Apps

4. Ensure airways/ventilation is not obstructed

MacBook can turn excessively hot when placed on a cushion or sofa. This is because air cannot circulate and dissipate heat. Keep your MacBook on a flat surface. Alternatively, you can use a laptop stand.

Avoid storing your laptop directly under sunlight, especially when you keep it inside a car.

5. Enable auto-brightness and turn off the keyboard backlight

Automatic brightness is enabled by default on new MacBooks. It helps conserve battery levels by automatically changing brightness with respect to ambient conditions. Follow the steps below to enable the auto-brightness feature.

  1. Click the Apple logo → open System Preferences.
  2. Select Displays.
  3. Check Automatically adjust brightness.

    Enable auto-brightness and turn off the keyboard backlight

6. Stop apps from automatically opening during startup

Some apps and services are set to open on startup. Furthermore, the apps continue to consume processing power long after startup. Our detailed guide will help you check and stop apps from opening on startup.

7. Clean up your Mac

Over some time, MacBook gets cluttered with redundant files. These files slow down your system. It is always a good idea to weed out such clutter. I suggest taking the help of third-party Mac cleaner apps.

8. Disconnect charger when fully charged

Some of us have this nasty habit of keeping the charger plugged in. The resulting heat can degrade the battery. In other words, unplug your laptop and let the power drop to 40-50%. Make sure the battery is not exposed to high temperatures.

9. Use M1-optimized apps

Universal apps are those that run on both Intel and M1-based Mac. If you own an M1 (or M1 Pro/Max) powered Mac use universal apps. Also, check out these best tips to increase battery life on M1 MacBook.

That’s it!

I hope this article helped you fix the battery draining issues on your MacBook and enhance the battery life of the device. If you’re still facing the issue, you can share your concerns in the comment below.

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Author Profile

Mahit is an engineer by Education with a corporate stint to his name. He ditched the corporate boardroom wars in favor of the technology battleground. For the better part of a decade, he has worked for popular publishing outlets, including Dennis Publishing, BGR India, AppStorm, MakeUseOf, and iPhonehacks.

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