Laptops with non removable batteries have been a thing for quite some time now. Laptops such as Apple’s MacBook line up, Chromebooks and thin Ultrabooks all come with non-removable batteries. One of the main reasons for having a non-removable battery is to make the laptops slimmer and sleeker. Unlike removable batteries, non-removable batteries can be difficult to replace when they die.
In this article I’ll go through a couple of precautions one should take to ensure your non-removable laptop battery lasts as long as possible.
1) Avoid Overheating The Laptop
Heat affects most electrical components in a negative way and a non-removable battery is no exception. Cold temperatures are also an issue, but higher temperatures are a bigger concern. Try not to use your laptop in an environment where the temperature is too high. Avoid placing your laptop on materials that don’t conduct heat away from the laptop such as blankets.
Always make sure air can circulate around the laptop, keeping any vents clear and not resting it on a cushion. Try and keep it under 35 degrees Celsius. If you happen to use the laptop in bed, investing in a stand is a good way to help keep it cool.
2) Charging and Discharging Patterns
One of the most asked questions is whether one should use the laptop when plugged in all the time or on battery power. The short answer to this question is a little of both. Unibody Apple MacBooks all have sealed batteries, and the company recommends switching between the two modes on occasional basis.
If for example, you mostly use your laptop in the office, then leaving it plugged in is fine, though you should make a point of running it off the battery every now and then. Batteries cannot be overcharged, so they won’t be damaged directly, but it’s important to remember that charging is yet another source of heat.
3) Don’t discharge the battery to 0%
When it comes to lithium batteries, deep discharges are about the worst thing for the life span of the battery. A discharge to 20% consumes about three times more of the battery’s cycle life than a discharge to 50%. If you run your laptop off of battery power, you should ideally avoid fully discharging it, or even getting below around 20% regularly.
Tests by batteryuniversity.com show that it can take around 600 complete discharges to reduce a laptop battery’s capacity to 70%. By comparison, if you only run the battery down to around 50% before charging it, you’ll get over 1500 discharges before its lifespan is reduced to the same level.
That said, many manufacturers recommend that you perform a full discharge every few months to help keep the battery properly calibrated and to ensure the stats it reports are accurate.
In Windows, you can prevent the battery from dropping below a certain level. To do this, head over to Control Panel > System Maintenance > Power Options > Select a power plan and click Change plan settings. Choose the Advanced settings, then battery, and under Low battery level and Critical battery level change the values to a percentage that you want.
4) Keep the laptop charged always
Even when not in use, always make sure your laptop is charged. HP recommends that batteries should be stored with 50% to 70 % charge at temperatures between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. If you’re not going to use your laptop for a while, try and keep it as close to these conditions as possible. You should never store a device for a long time with the battery fully discharged. You might never get it working again.
How Long Will Your Laptop Battery Last?
ASUS states that its batteries have a lifespan of between 300 and 500 charge cycles. This is typically measured as using the full capacity of a battery. So a single 100% charge or two 50% top-ups, after which the capacity will have dropped to 80%.
Therefore, after a year to 18 months, you may begin to notice that the battery doesn’t last for as long as it previously did. At this point, you may want to start focusing on the numerous methods for extending your battery life.
You can also analyze the health of your battery. In Windows 10, you can get a full battery report by going to the command prompt and typing powercfg /batteryreport. Using File Explorer, navigate to the folder listed in the command prompt window where you’ll find a file called battery-report.html. I have the entire process well documented here.
In macOS, go to About This Mac and click System Report for a similarly detailed report. For a much quicker macOS method, simply hold down the Alt or Option key while clicking on the battery icon in the status bar.
Care for Your Laptop’s Built-In Battery
Whether you view it as planned obsolescence or a necessary way to facilitate sleeker products or even just phasing out a feature that many people never bothered with anyway, non-removable batteries are the reality for modern laptops. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You just need to be a little more aware of how you look after the battery than you may have done in the past.
There are no major steps to take. A few common sense precautions and being aware of the factors that can shorten a laptop battery’s lifespan will ensure your battery lives a long and healthy life. But if you already have concerns, there are many essential tools to help you analyze your laptop battery’s health.