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Extend your MacBook’s battery life

Monitor the energy use of the apps you run and close those that drain the most power

Apple’s battery technology is better than its rivals, but trying to get through a whole day on a charge can still be challenging. To ensure the battery lasts as long as possible you must keep an eye on the apps that are using the most energy.

High energy usage drains the battery very quickly and the menu bar battery indicator helpfully shows apps that are using the most, but it lacks detailed information. To get more you can run Activity Monitor, but it is a bit too technical for some. System Lens, a free app in the Mac App Store, is just right. It classifies apps as low, medium and high energy and you can set your own custom warning levels. Apps can then be closed to reduce energy usage.


1. Check the percentage

Click the battery icon in the menu bar and make sure that Show Percentage is ticked. This provides a much better indication of the remaining charge than the icon alone.


2. View the apps

You might sometimes see apps listed in the middle section of the menu and these are ones that are using a lot of energy. It is useful, but System Lens is better, as we will see.


3. See the condition

Is the battery in good condition? How can you tell? One way to do this is to hold down the Alt key as you click the battery indicator in the menu bar. It should say Normal.


4. Use Activity Monitor

If you don’t mind sifting through technical information, go to the Applications>Utilities folder and start Activity Monitor. The Energy tab lists apps and their energy usage.


5. Use System Lens

System Lens adds an icon to the menu bar, and when it is clicked it displays a list of apps and indicates the energy usage with Low, Med and High displayed next to them.


6. Watch the icon

Keep an eye on the icon. If it completely changes to red bars, it means that there are apps draining the battery. Click the icon to see the apps. There are two listed here.

battery77. Customise System Lens

Click the System Lens icon and click the gear icon in the top-right corner. Instead of the default icon, numbers can be displayed to indicate the severity of the battery drain.


8. Set the threshold

Go to the Advanced tab at the top, tick Enable Custom Threshold Limits and drag all the sliders to the top. Now set the High, Medium and Low indicators in that order.


9. Ignore some apps

Apps with energy usage below the low threshold do not appear in System Lens. You can also hide apps by clicking the + under the Filters box and selecting one from the list.