Chromebook Battery Life: Excellent Tips for Maintaining Battery Health

Chromebook Battery Life

The average Chromebook has a battery life of just under 10 hours. This is due in part to running a much less resource-intensive operating system compared to other laptops. If you find that your Chromebook’s battery is draining fast, this could be for a variety of reasons. Your battery may be seeing greater demand due to increased use of demanding applications. Or it could be that it just needs some simple adjustments. For example, did you know that you can check the health of its battery with only a few clicks and commands? And improving a Chromebook’s battery life can be done in several ways just as easily.

Your Chromebook’s Battery

Chromebooks are known for having a fantastically long battery life compared to most portable computers. Adding to the exceptional battery life is the fact that Chromebooks utilize the Chrome OS, which is a light operating system that requires a less powerful processor and RAM than other operating systems.

The net effect is less demand on the battery. Additionally, Chromebooks have less applications running in the background, which also helps place less demand on the battery. Most Chromebooks use lithium-ion batteries. These are rechargeable batteries you’ll find in most laptops and tablets.

How to Check Chromebook Battery Life

Now here’s a super useful way to see the health of your Chromebook’s battery. This will also help you to determine if the short battery life is the result of the Chromebook being pushed to its limit. To investigate the battery health of your Chromebook you’ll be using the Chrome terminal called Crosh.

Here’s how:

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + T to open Crosh.

2. Type battery test and press ENTER.

3. You’ll see your battery’s health measured as a percentage out of 100%. Unplugging your Chromebook from your power outlet will let the test run the Chromebook’s battery discharge test, which checks how much of the battery gets drained within 5 minutes.

4. Type battery_firmware info into Crosh and press ENTER. Here you’ll see the Design Capacity (the maximum battery capacity), which is how much of the capacity the battery was able to hit at its last full charge. And of course the Cycle Count, which ishow many battery cycles the Chromebook has gone through so far.

Once a laptop battery reaches 400 or more charge Cycle Counts, you shouldn’t expect a long battery life anymore. This is also a good test to keep under your hat if you’re ever in the market for a used laptop.

Tips for Improving Chromebook Battery Life

1. Turn Down the Display Brightness

Believe it or not, the brightness of the display has one of the greatest demands on any laptop’s battery life. Adjusting the brightness to the lowest settings will go a long way in conserving battery life.

You can adjust the display brightness by using the two keys on the top row of the keyboard. You can save big on battery life by turning the brightness level down to the lowest setting where you can still see what’s on the screen comfortably. Again, this is one of the biggest battery drains and the easiest way to conserve battery life.

2. Unplug Unnecessary Devices

Peripherals like a mouse, keyboard, monitor or printer plugged into your Chromebook can drain the device of battery power over time. Unplugging them from your machine when they’re not in use will conserve your Chromebooks battery life.

On the flip side, you can use your Chromebook as a power source to charge peripherals like your phone and headphones as long as the Chromebook is powered and unlocked.

3. Avoid Updates While Running on Battery Power

There’s no way to stop the Chrome OS from updating in the background, it’s an automatic process. But if you find yourself in a pinch where every drop of battery juice counts. Prohibiting other updates from running when your laptop is away from a power outlet will save battery power and CPU resources. You can take care of this within the App settings.  

4. Remove Unnecessary Chrome Browser Extensions

There are a lot of extensions that suck up battery life. Just like browser tabs, extensions can put stress on the CPU, slowly draining battery power. But you can use the Task Manager program to see the resources your extensions are using and try to eliminate the ones you don’t need.

5. Close Unnecessary Web Pages and Applications

Along the same lines, to provide the most updated information. Web pages and apps refresh frequently. The more tabs and apps open at one time, the more CPU and RAM resources are used. And all this activity puts a greater demand on the battery.

Closing unnecessary programs and apps will help preserve battery life. You can check which web apps and apps use the most battery power by going to Settings and Battery in your Chromebook. You can also press the Windows Switcher key to see what’s currently open. Then close all the apps you don’t need.

To help you figure out apps and programs you do and don’t need, the Chrome OS also supports a feature that tells you which web pages and apps are using the most battery power. Click on the status area on the taskbar, then Settings to open the Settings Window.

Under Device, click Battery. You’ll see a list of websites and apps in the new window, along with the percentage of battery each one is consuming.

6. Keep the Battery Between 20 and 80% Charged

It may seem counterintuitive but keeping your battery 100% charged 100% of the time isn’t a good thing. Again, current laptops of all types are supported by Lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are most stable between 20 and 80% charge.

When a Lithium-ion battery runs above an 80% charge, the usage compensates to protect the battery from physically expanding along with other physical damage.

Furthermore, laptop battery life is rated in cycles. This is the number of times the Chromebook’s battery can survive being recharged from 0 to 100%. By maintaining your Chromebook’s charge between 20 and 80%, you’re effectively doubling the number of charging cycles in the lifetime of the battery.

Similarly, you may have heard the advice that you should let your laptop battery drain to 0%. While that used to be true of the old batteries that came in laptops. Letting a Lithium-ion battery drain in these new laptops will actually damage the battery every time.

Additionally, never store your Chromebook at 0%. Doing so will fully discharge the battery, causing irreparable damage to the battery. Bottom line, never let your laptop battery hit 0%. But do take it off the charger every once in a while so that the battery gets used.

7. Check Task Manager

Certain apps like Google Drive, Gmail Offline and Hangouts are constantly running in the background. By firing up Task Manager, you can gain insight into everything that’s running on your Chromebook. Then you can decide which apps or services you don’t need that you can close.

But be careful.

Disabling certain services will affect the functionality of your Chromebook. If you don’t know which apps or services will disrupt your Chromebook don’t disable any of them until you do.

8. Turn Off Bluetooth

Connections like Bluetooth are a major drain on battery power. They draw on your battery to constantly search for signals and beacons. Be sure to turn off Bluetooth if you’re not in immediate need of that type of connection.

Turning off Wi-Fi will also seriously save some battery juice. Even though you get the most out of a Chromebook while being wired into the internet. These resourceful machines support quite a few tasks offline, like the aforementioned Gmail, Google Docs and Google Sheets. Plus, once you reconnect Wi-Fi, your services will automatically sync!

You can turn off Bluetooth on your Chromebook by clicking on the status area on the taskbar and selecting Bluetooth Disabled from the Settings window. Turning it off is another simple way to maximize Chromebook battery life.

9. Lock Your Screen When It’s Inactive

Since the Chrome OS is already designed to maximize battery life, there’s no native setting to change the length of inactivity on a Chromebook like you can on a standard laptop before it goes into sleep mode. Remembering to lock your screen manually when the Chromebook is not in use will improve battery life.

Press the Power button for about a second to lock the screen.

10. Keep It Plugged During Updates

Yup, leaving your Chromebook plugged in while the Chrome OS is performing updates in the background will not only save battery life. But will also conserve CPU resources.

Below is a collection of more tips you can follow to make your Chromebook battery life last longer. If your particular Chromebook is managed. Not all of these options may be allowed by the Administrator. Double check with your Chromebook’s Administrator to make sure the battery is properly optimized before implementing any changes.

Chromebook Battery Care Tips

As with any equipment, a Chromebook’s battery needs maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. It’s easy to overlook the battery health of any laptop. But without proper care the battery will degrade over time.

While notebook batteries are replaceable, it’s more cost-effective to maintain the one that came with your Chromebook. Here are a few great tips to stay ahead of most battery issues:

1. Avoid Excessive Heat

Heat is the enemy of any laptop. This means you have to be vigilant about the way the Chromebook is being used. What do we mean? For instance, you don’t want your Chromebook to run too many resource heavy tasks at once. Too many high-intensity tasks will overwork the CPU, which in turn will overheat the battery.

Other ways to avoid an overheated Chromebook is store it away in a cool area when it’s not in use as opposed to leaving it out in direct sunlight. And particularly during the hot summer months, you’ll want to work in an area that provides the Chromebook some shade. And during the cold winter months you’ll want to avoid keeping it in any area where it can get too toasty.

2. Avoid Faulty Outlets

Often you can’t help the kind of power outlets available to you in a shared space like at work or at a coffee shop. But to avoid any harm to your Chromebook, you want to make sure that any outlet you decide to use is working properly.

Other steps you can take is to make sure your Chromebook’s power adapter is in good condition. In other words, make sure that it fits correctly into the Chromebook. And that it matches the outlet plug type. If it’s damaged in any way, don’t plug it into a public outlet. In the same vein, avoid third-party chargers whenever you can.

3. Use a Surge Protector

A great way to avoid any power spikes or power shortage issues that might cause harm to your Chromebook’s internals is to invest in a power strip with a surge protector (even if you’re out in public). Not only will it increase charging efficiency. But it will also lengthen the battery’s life span.

You can purchase a small, portable surge protector for those times when you find yourself in need of charging your Chromebook out in public.

4. Keep Your Chromebook Properly Ventilated

This one is especially important if you work with your Chromebook in a cluttered space. Or on your bed where your sheets, blankets and comforter can block the air vents. With the air vents blocked there’s nowhere for the hot air to go, causing hardware temperatures, like the CPU to elevate. A simple laptop stand does a very good job of ensuring that your Chromebook stays well ventilated.

5. Use a Smart Plug

Smart plugs resemble power strips. But unlike a traditional power strip, you can program a smart plug which can help your Chromebook’s battery. For example, one way to maintain the health of the battery is to keep it between a 20% and 80% charge. You can program the smart charge to stop charging your device after a specified amount of time before your device reaches 100%.  

6. Use the New Chromebook Power-Saving Functions

Did you know that the Chrome OS comes with power-saving features to help extend battery life? To access these options:

  • Click the power tab in the Settings menu.
  • Then specify whether you want the Chromebook to go to sleep or stay awake when you leave it idle and when you close the lid.

These power saving options allow you to control your Chromebook’s behavior. You won’t be able to specify a time limit for idling like Windows laptops (the default is 6 minutes for Chromebooks). But you can specify whether you want your Chromebook to:

  • keep the display on
  • turn off the display and stay awake, or
  • turn off the display and sleep (this option conserves the most battery power).

7. Regularly Monitor Chromebook Battery Health

From the one in your Chromebook, to the one for you TV remote, to the one in your car. All batteries degrade over time. That’s why monitoring the health of this component is vital. One way to do that us by using Crosh regularly. Knowing the current battery capacity helps you strategize how to get more out of it without exposing it to further decay.