Q. My MacBook Air is less than a year old, but I notice the battery doesn’t seem to last nearly as long as advertised and the laptop seems to really be working at something. How can I tell what it’s doing?
A. Apple builds battery-usage tools into its Mac laptops to help you monitor your portable power source, including the Battery Status menu. To see the Battery Status menu, click the small battery icon on the upper-right side of the Mac’s menu bar.
If you do not see a battery icon up there, click the System Preferences icon in the desktop dock, click the Energy Saver icon and click the box next to “Show battery status in menu bar.” You can also open the System Preference box from the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of the screen.
When you open the Battery Status menu, you can see basic information about the battery’s charge, along with a list of apps that are consuming a large portion of the power supply. Web browsers with open pages running a lot of video (or that constantly update themselves) are usually on the list, as are apps that run continuously in the background like Spotify.
To get a better idea of just how much of your juice these apps are guzzling, open the Activity Monitor app that came with your Mac. Go to the Applications folder, to Utilities, and double-click on Activity Monitor. In the Activity Monitor window, click the CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk and Network tabs to see which programs are consuming the most resources in the respective areas.
To help free up your computer’s resources, quit greedy programs you are not currently using. Apple’s site has a page of tips for maximizing your laptop battery’s performance.
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