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Cannot find an "official" advice for caring of MBA batteries

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My new MBA will soon arrive. Given that it's not possible to run it without the battery, I'm very interested in using it in a way that will maximize the battery long-term life (ie:the time until it needs replacement).

My scenario is that this laptop will be used for a long amount of time every day. Most of the time I'll have a power connection available, so I can either have it plugged or unplugged.

After a bit of search, I found that some people says it's best to have it always plugged, and just drain the battery once per month. They say this because they say the MBA won't use the battery if it's 95% charged, so it won't cause harm leaving it plugged, provided that you fully drain it once per month.

However, the official Apple advice is unclear: They propose a couple of example scenarios: One with a user that uses the laptop on a train half a day, and on a desk the rest of the day, as well as a user who always uses it on places without power sockets.

But they don't talk about what's better for a user that will have access to a power socket most of the time:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/
and
http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

So, what's the best advice for making the long-term life of my MBA battery last as long as possible? Full charge, then full discharge, then full discharge every time, several times a day? Or leaving it plugged all the time you can and just doing a full disccharge once a month? Or another alternative?

What's best?

Thanks!
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecs View Post

My new MBA will soon arrive. Given that it's not possible to run it without the battery, I'm very interested in using it in a way that will maximize the battery long-term life (ie:the time until it needs replacement).

...

Oh, for Heaven's sakes. The web pages that you linked to make it clear that lithium-ion batteries--and particularly the lithium-ion batteries used in the MacBook Air--are pretty much worry-free. You do not have to worry about charging/discharging cycles. You have taken Apple's advice and turned it completely around and are now complaining about the lack of advice on charge/discharge cycles.

Now understand this. You question is about something that should be of no concern to you. You do not have to buy a hand crank starter for a Chevrolet Volt. You do not have to be concerned about charge/discharge cycles on your MacBook Air.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

Oh, for Heaven's sakes. The web pages that you linked to make it clear that lithium-ion batteries--and particularly the lithium-ion batteries used in the MacBook Air--are pretty much worry-free. You do not have to worry about charging/discharging cycles. You have taken Apple's advice and turned it completely around and are now complaining about the lack of advice on charge/discharge cycles.

Now understand this. You question is about something that should be of no concern to you. You do not have to buy a hand crank starter for a Chevrolet Volt. You do not have to be concerned about charge/discharge cycles on your MacBook Air.

So, does Apple design notebooks in a way that the battery doesn't shorten its lifetime if the notebook is always plugged? I didn't find such affirmation from Apple, so that's why I asked the question.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecs View Post

So, does Apple design notebooks in a way that the battery doesn't shorten its lifetime if the notebook is always plugged? I didn't find such affirmation from Apple, so that's why I asked the question.

As I told you in my previous post and as Apple told you on its website, the batteries are worry-free because they are lithium-ion batteries. The behavior that you are describing is the behavior of nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries. MBA batteries are not NiCads, they are lithium-ion--a very different technology. You didn't find affirmation from Apple because you didn't [or refuse to] understand the blackletter of the text on Apple's website.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

As I told you in my previous post and as Apple told you on its website, the batteries are worry-free because they are lithium-ion batteries. The behavior that you are describing is the behavior of nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries. MBA batteries are not NiCads, they are lithium-ion--a very different technology. You didn't find affirmation from Apple because you didn't [or refuse to] understand the blackletter of the text on Apple's website.

I've always heard it's not good to have the laptop power cord always plugged, no matter if the battery is lithium-ion, and I've heard it both from PC and Mac users. If Apple laptops are designed in a way the battery long-term life lasts the same no matter if the power cord is always plugged, then I don't understand why Apple doesn't mention it in the marketing wording, as some users fall in this use of the laptop (there're users like me who carry the laptop from one place to another, but in every place they use the laptop there's a table with a power socket).
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecs View Post

I've always heard it's not good to have the laptop power cord always plugged, no matter if the battery is lithium-ion, and I've heard it both from PC and Mac users. If Apple laptops are designed in a way the battery long-term life lasts the same no matter if the power cord is always plugged, then I don't understand why Apple doesn't mention it in the marketing wording, as some users fall in this use of the laptop (there're users like me who carry the laptop from one place to another, but in every place they use the laptop there's a table with a power socket).

Apple cannot account for every bit of nonsense that you have heard or choose to believe. What Apple can do is to establish a web page that explains the advantages of the technology. Apple has done that. You are aware of the web page. Unfortunately, you have so far chosen to cling to "what I heard." You are, however, free to change your mind at any time.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

Apple cannot account for every bit of nonsense that you have heard or choose to believe. What Apple can do is to establish a web page that explains the advantages of the technology. Apple has done that. You are aware of the web page. Unfortunately, you have so far chosen to cling to "what I heard." You are, however, free to change your mind at any time.

Apple doesn't say you can use your battery however you want without shortening its life. It doesn't say that anywhere. I've had more than a few notebooks with Li-ion batteries and certainly they do lose their ability to hold charge quite a bit, sometimes after quite a short period of time (say six months). I don't know if Apple Li-polymer batteries are of higher quality or not, but they seem to maintain their capacity for a longer period of time.

There are many people on these forums who have posted the number of charging cycles they've gone through and the remaining capacity of their battery, so I guess this obviously proves you wrong and shows you to be wrongly critical of the original poster.

The solution is to minimize the number of full charging cycles and to also read this:

"For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, its important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her notebook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month. Need a reminder? Add an event to your desktops iCal. When your battery no longer holds sufficient charge to meet your needs, you may choose to replace it. If your notebook came with a built-in battery, you should have the battery replaced only by an Apple Authorized Service Provider."

Also, download the Coconut Battery app, which gives you details about the state of your battery. No doubt you'll see how your battery is doing and perhaps you can change your charging habits accordingly.
post #8 of 9
I have no idea what motivated you to jump into this discussion, but several things jump out at me:
Quote:
Originally Posted by omacko View Post

Apple doesn't say you can use your battery however you want without shortening its life. It doesn't say that anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple

This gives you a longer battery life in a lighter package, as lithium is the lightest metal. You can also recharge a lithium-ion polymer battery whenever convenient, without the full charge or discharge cycle necessary to keep nickel-based batteries at peak performance. (Over time, crystals build up in nickel-based batteries and prevent you from charging them completely, necessitating an inconvenient full discharge.)

Shortened battery life has a cause. Apple gives you the cause and states that its lithium-ion batteries do not suffer from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by omacko View Post

I've had more than a few notebooks with Li-ion batteries and certainly they do lose their ability to hold charge quite a bit, sometimes after quite a short period of time (say six months). I don't know if Apple Li-polymer batteries are of higher quality or not, but they seem to maintain their capacity for a longer period of time.

If you have no experience with Apple lithium-ion batteries, then what gives yo the authority to talk about their lifespan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by omacko View Post

There are many people on these forums who have posted the number of charging cycles they've gone through and the remaining capacity of their battery, so I guess this obviously proves you wrong and shows you to be wrongly critical of the original poster.

Which people? How many of them? How do they prove me wrong?

Quote:
Originally Posted by omacko View Post

The solution is to minimize the number of full charging cycles...

Well, duh! Apple's lithium-ion batteries have a lifespan that is defined in terms of charging cycles. Of course, you will extend its life if you use fewer charging cycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by omacko View Post

and to also read this:

"For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, its important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Apple does not recommend leaving your portable plugged in all the time. An ideal use would be a commuter who uses her notebook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month. Need a reminder? Add an event to your desktops iCal. When your battery no longer holds sufficient charge to meet your needs, you may choose to replace it. If your notebook came with a built-in battery, you should have the battery replaced only by an Apple Authorized Service Provider."

It is improper to post a quote without attribution. Let us be clear--this is not an Apple directive. Do not imply that it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by omacko View Post

Also, download the Coconut Battery app, which gives you details about the state of your battery. No doubt you'll see how your battery is doing and perhaps you can change your charging habits accordingly.

The Coconut Battery app will do no harm. However, it is not necessary. As it happens, just today I had a conversation with one of my firm's PC people. He has come into possession of a MacBook Pro from a former employee. This died-in-the-wool Windows user is blown-away by the battery life of the Apple laptop compared to the Dells of his experience.

Newbie, one of these days you may learn what my PC using friend has already learned. Apple makes kit that you rarely have to worry about.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecs View Post

My new MBA will soon arrive. Given that it's not possible to run it without the battery, I'm very interested in using it in a way that will maximize the battery long-term life (ie:the time until it needs replacement).

My scenario is that this laptop will be used for a long amount of time every day. Most of the time I'll have a power connection available, so I can either have it plugged or unplugged.

After a bit of search, I found that some people says it's best to have it always plugged, and just drain the battery once per month. They say this because they say the MBA won't use the battery if it's 95% charged, so it won't cause harm leaving it plugged, provided that you fully drain it once per month.

However, the official Apple advice is unclear: They propose a couple of example scenarios: One with a user that uses the laptop on a train half a day, and on a desk the rest of the day, as well as a user who always uses it on places without power sockets.

But they don't talk about what's better for a user that will have access to a power socket most of the time:

http://www.apple.com/batteries/
and
http://www.apple.com/batteries/notebooks.html

So, what's the best advice for making the long-term life of my MBA battery last as long as possible? Full charge, then full discharge, then full discharge every time, several times a day? Or leaving it plugged all the time you can and just doing a full disccharge once a month? Or another alternative?

What's best?

Thanks!

I own a new MBP 13 inch 2011 and recalibrate it once a month and have it charged in the rest of the time and Apple Support said that is the right way.The battery will last much longer that way.Many people who own the MBA I know do it this way.
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