A little over two weeks ago I purchased this new Macbook Air and so far I simply love it. It has incredible battery life and everything seems to perform beyond my expectations.
You can only imagine my concern when I noticed that the battery indicator on my Macbook Air was lit green and done charging but OS X listed the charge at just 97%. Had I already lost 3% of the usability of my Macbook Air in just a couple weeks!?
Turns out that this was not a problem at all but a feature included in every Macbook. I know what you’re thinking and no it isn’t a feature like Antennagate and the iPhone 4. Apple purposely keeps your charge below 100% and apparently they do this for a very good reason. It helps extend your battery life.
During my search to fix my macbook battery problem I also found out how to quickly restore my battery indicator to 100%. It turns out, all I needed to do was unplug my Macbook Air for a few hours and it would fix itself.
Apple explains this battery preservation feature on their site:
This is normal. The batteries used in these computers are designed to avoid short discharge/charge cycles in order to prolong the overall life of the battery.
When setting the Mac OS X battery status menu bar icon to display charge state by percentage, you may notice that the reported charge stays between 93 or 95 percent and 99 percent.
To allow the adapter to recharge the battery to 100%, simply allow the charge to drop below 93%. The adapter will automatically recharge the battery to 100%.
Can Your PC Do That?
One thing I hear more often than not from individuals that switch from a PC to a Mac notebook is how amazed they are by the battery life on Apple computers. Maybe this is because of battery preservation features built into the software and hardware.
By prolonging the battery life through smart charging, Apple not only improves their user experience (albeit with a bit of user confusion about the state of their battery) they also outperform and outlast most of their competitors.
If you’re still a PC user you may want to ask yourself, “does my Dell do that?”