Apple’s MacBook range finally changed lines last year. The Cupertino-based company has replaced Intel-based MacBooks with an internal M1 chipset. Both the 2020 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are equipped with Apple’s M1 CPU which promises to deliver superior performance without sacrificing battery life.
Apple promises a mouth-watering endurance time on both: MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. If battery life is shorter than expected, read these tips to improve the battery life of your M1-based MacBook.
To be fair to Apple, the company has introduced some battery-saving measures in macOS. This, coupled with a careful selection of apps and other tweaks, can extend your Macbook M1’s battery life by some margin.
Tips for extending the battery life of M1-based MacBooks
We’ll look at some battery-saving options from macOS System Preferences and include some third-party apps to see essential battery information and act accordingly.
1. Use apps optimized for M1
Apple defines universal Mac apps if they run natively on Intel- and M1-based Macs. If an app has yet to be updated for Apple Silicon, an M1-powered Mac will still run it, but it will do so by converting Intel x86-64 code using Rosetta 2 emulation software.
The practice affects the performance and battery life of your device. Instead, you should stick with apps that are already optimized for the MacBook M1. can visit this dedicated website which lists all M1-ready apps.
2. Opt for Safari or MicMacBook M1rosoft Edge instead of Google Chrome
Google Chrome, the world’s leading browser, is famous for its excessive use of RAM and battery. If you live in the Apple ecosystem, I highly recommend that you try the Safari browser on Mac. It is lightweight, efficient, battery friendly and the browser has received quite a bit of restyling of the user interface with the latest update of macOS Big Sur.
On the flip side, if you can’t live without all those nifty Chrome extensions, I’d draw your attention to the Microsoft Edge browser built on the same Chromium platform and supports all Chromium extensions.
3. Enable automatic brightness and turn off the keyboard backlight
This trick won’t improve battery life by leaps and bounds. But hey, every little step helps, right?
- Go to the menu System Preferences of the Mac.
- Go to Keyboard.
- Turn off the keyboard backlight and choose an idle time.
Another trick is to access the menu Display and enable the Adjust option brightness automatically which adjusts the brightness of the display according to the surrounding environment.
4. Use Activity Monitor on M1 Mac
Similar to Task Manager on Windows, macOS offers Activity Monitor to track each app’s CPU and GPU usage.
If your MacBook is heating up unnecessarily, you should open Activity monitoring and notice CPU usage from each app. If you see an irrelevant high spike in usage, select the app and force quit using the sign “X” above.
Last week I encountered a similar problem. I have noticed that my MacBook Air is getting annoyingly overheating. I opened Activity Monitor and observed high CPU usage from the OneDrive app. I had to force quit the app to cool the MacBook.
5. Stop automatically opening apps during startup
By default, apps like Slack, Dropbox, OneDrive, Adobe Creative Cloud, Alfred, VPN apps, etc., open automatically when your Mac starts up. The practice makes sense for cloud storage apps as you want to keep your files in sync, but you need to disable the behavior for other apps and services to save some battery power.
Follow the steps below to prevent apps from opening automatically during Mac startup.
- Use the Command + Space keys, type System Preferences, and open the menu.
- Pass to Users and groups → Login elements.
- You will see the list of apps that open automatically during Mac startup. Select the app and click on the “-” icon in low to stop the behavior.
6. Keep an eye on the battery charge cycle
Each MacBook comes with a lithium polymer battery to provide maximum battery life in a compact space. According to Apple’s official website, most MacBook Pro and Air models come with 1000 charge cycles.
You can check the current charge cycle under the Power option in the menu System information.
- Use the Command + Spacebar keys to open Spotlight Search
- Type System Information to open the menu.
- Go up Hardware → Supply and here you will notice the cycle count current in the section Information on battery.
If the number is higher than Apple’s suggested, it’s time to replace your MacBook’s battery.
7. Enable battery health management
Let me understand well. The battery health management option is not designed to improve MacBook battery life. It focuses on providing longer battery life.
As mentioned above, every MacBook comes with a fixed charging cycle. The Battery Health Management option learns the usage of your MacBook and limits charging the device to 100% when needed.
You open System Preferences → Battery → State battery → enable the option Manage battery longevity.
8. Use a third-party app on M1 Mac
Apps like Endurance are designed to help you reduce energy consumption. Endurance tracks what’s draining your MacBook’s power and pauses those apps. The Endurance app also automatically dims the MacBook display when needed. The company claims to increase the MacBook’s battery by 20%.
9. Keep your MacBook up to date
If your MacBook Air’s battery drains quickly it could be due to a software glitch. Thankfully, Apple quickly fixes these problems with a software update. You should open the menu System Preferences and go to the menu Software update to download and install the latest macOS update available.
More tricks to increase MacBook battery life
Last but not least, you should close the applications you no longer use. Those coming from the Windows camp should know that clicking the “X” icon in the macOS menu bar will not completely close the app. Two-finger click the app icon on the dock and select the Exit option.
We live in an age of work from home, so I don’t recommend that you turn off your MacBook’s Bluetooth and WiFi all the time. But from time to time, if you work offline or are streaming videos or music locally, you should disable Bluetooth and WiFi from the macOS menu bar.
With your M1-MacBook optimized, charged, and ready to use, you won’t have to worry about increasing the battery life of your MacBook during business hours.