My laptop just turned 4 years old. Its battery is still 97.7% healthy. This is how I did it.

Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

Laptops and smartphones manufacturers have been pressured to prioritize battery life when new over the battery lifespan of their products. Their dirty trick here consists in charging the lithium-ion batteries to very high voltages (think 4.4V or 4.45V per cell rather than the more conservative 4.2V per cell that was favored in the past). Luckily, in the case of your laptop, there is something you can do to extend the life of your device.

The machine in this example is a Dell XPS 13 (9360) from 2016. It was, and continues to be, a reference in the world of Windows ultrabooks.

I will show you how I did it and how you can apply the same principles to your own laptop.

The Science

Put simply, the higher you charge a lithium-ion battery the more it degrades over time. A lithium-ion battery comprises two electrodes: a positive electrode and a negative electrode. Upon charging, lithium-ions travel from the positive electrode to the negative electrode. As you deplete the positive electrode, its potential rises and it begins to oxidize the electrolyte at a higher rate. As you fill up the negative electrode, its potential decreases and it begins to reduce the electrolyte at a higher rate. The end result is a compromised calendar life for the battery in your laptop.

The Problem

If you are anything like most people, you actually use your laptop plugged-in or not far from an outlet. Truth be told, you don’t need 6 to 8 hours of battery life at once. 4 hours would do you just fine.

Well, keeping your laptop plugged in while in use means you are “cooking” its battery while it sits there at 100%.

If only, there was a way to charge your battery to a different level…

The Solution

Two words: battery utility.

Dell

With Dell laptops, you want to grab the Dell Power Manager.
In Dell’s words:

Dell Power Manager is an application that allows end users to maximize their battery life by configuring how the battery should be maintained based on their personal preferences.

Lenovo

With Lenovo laptops, you want to install Lenovo Vantage.

If you primarily use your computer with the AC adapter attached and only infrequently use battery power, you can increase the lifespan of the battery by setting the maximum charge value to below 100%. This is useful because batteries that are used infrequently have a longer lifespan when they are maintained at less than a full charge.

HP

With HP laptops, you want to get into the BIOS and use the Battery Health Manager.

Maximize my battery health: Use this setting if the computer stays plugged in to the power adapter most of the time. This setting maximizes battery health by lowering the maximum battery charge level to 80%. The ability to store additional charge in a battery becomes less efficient after 80% and can add additional stress to the battery over time.

Asus

With Asus laptops, go ahead and grab MyASUS and follow this guide.

Since users usually keep their AC adapter connected while using their laptop, the battery is often in a state of high-power(98–100%) for extended length of time which causes a reduction in battery life.

In order to protect the battery, Battery Health Charging allows you to set your battery’s maximum power of RSOC (Relative State Of Charge) which helps extend the battery’s lifespan.

Apple Macbooks

Apple only recently (MacOS 10.15.5) released their utility called Battery Health Management. It has the lowest level of customization available but hey, at least you get something.

The battery health management feature in macOS 10.15.5 is designed to improve your battery’s lifespan by reducing the rate at which it ages chemically. The feature does this by monitoring your battery’s temperature history and charging patterns.

Based on the measurements it collects, battery health management may reduce your battery’s maximum charge when in this mode. This happens as needed to ensure that your battery charges to a level that’s optimised for your usage — reducing wear on the battery and slowing its chemical ageing. Battery health management also uses the measurements to calculate when your battery needs a service.

While battery health management benefits your battery’s long-term lifespan, it can also reduce the amount of time your Mac runs on one battery charge when capacity limits are applied. If your priority is making your Mac notebook last as long as possible before recharging, you can turn the feature off.

Contributed Solutions

MacOS Catalina and above

Contributed by Pawel Szydlowski
GitHub — davidwernhart/AlDente: MacOS tool to limit maximum charging percentage

Microsoft Surface

Contributed by Jamal Uddin
Battery Limit setting (Surface) — Surface | Microsoft Docs

Recommended Setting

I personally use and recommend a 60% charge limit.
Some utilities will only lower it to 80% but that’s already a significant improvement for your battery lifespan.
Should you need a longer battery life for a planned trip or a meeting, use your utility to toggle between conservative charge and full charge modes.

Bonus: Check your battery health

Windows 10 comes with built-in battery health reporting.
How to Check Your Laptop Battery Health in Windows 10 | PCMag

Have a question? Your laptop manufacturer was not listed? Leave a comment!

Electrical Engineer. PhD.