View Full Version : Does performing battery-tough programs degrade my battery?

2013-11-08, 02:02 PM

I have a computer question. I recently got a video game on my 2013 Macbook Air. It's hugely battery demanding, but I keep it charged when I play it so it's fine. Normally, my laptop has amazing battery and lasts all day when I'm just typing/using the internet. My question: Will performing this battery-challenging task make my battery last less time when performing other tasks?


2013-11-08, 02:17 PM
my understanding of batteries and the life they have is this.

Yes the use of your battery will degrade and the more you use it the more it degrades. To help extended the life of your battery try to keep it between 40% and 80% charged. Ever so often you should use it to about 5% and then do a full charge. Like once month or so.

I don't recall the exact physics behind it, but below 5% is a strain on the battery or something and charging above 80% can also affect the battery somehow.

2013-11-08, 02:40 PM
But, say, if a task takes 5% of the battery every 10 minutes, will my battery degrade more than if I performed a task that took 1% of the battery every 10 minutes?

Nameless Ghost
2013-11-08, 08:31 PM
Yeah, if you're using the battery faster it's probably going to cause the battery to degrade more quickly, even if just due to the fact you have to recharge it more often. The effects might be negligible, but they'll be there. I'm sure a more detailed explanation is out there on the web somewhere if you're curious.

2013-11-08, 09:05 PM
You say you're keeping it charged while you play, which I take to mean you have it plugged into the wall socket? If that's the case, this won't make any difference to your battery life, because the battery will just stay on full charge all the time. (Having the battery on full charge all the time is itself not good for its life--the best way to fix that is to make sure the laptop isn't plugged in to the power when you're not using it, though).

2013-11-10, 08:48 AM
(Having the battery on full charge all the time is itself not good for its life--the best way to fix that is to make sure the laptop isn't plugged in to the power when you're not using it, though).

I don't think it has any impact. I leave my macbook charging at 100% when it is hooked up to my external monitor. I believe the laptop settings is smart enough to stop charging when at full charge, so you can actually leave it charging overnight and it won't be the worse for wear.

Of course, Apple FAQ recommends that you discharge it once in a while, but for normal usage, you don't really have to worry about managing your charging cycles.

With regards to the OP's question, I would say just use as is. Apple puts in a fair bit of effort into making their devices manage themselves so the user doesn't have to. :smallsmile:

2013-11-10, 09:06 AM
I never said anything about OVER-charging the battery being a problem--however, as already pointed out by Balain earlier in the thread, the battery will live longest if it's kept at a middling charge level. They don't like being at full charge all the time. This is why mobile phone batteries tend to survive longer than laptop ones--people don't usually leave them plugged in to charge all the time when they're not in use!

Mando Knight
2013-11-10, 09:31 AM
Lithium batteries suffer from capacity loss over time, which can be accelerated by keeping it at a higher charge. You can reduce the loss by using the battery the way it's intended, but completely discharging the battery is also bad for lithium-based batteries.

You won't notice the loss right away, though. It's a gradual thing... something like 50% over three years, I think? (Which is about a twentieth of a percent per day)

As for running battery-heavy tasks, it will strain the battery more than normal tasks for the amount of time spent, but I don't think it's worse for it than any other discharge cycle... it just happens faster. If the machine doesn't send out any warning messages about the drain rate, I'd think it's within operating tolerances.