MacBook Air Battery Life – 2 hours or 7 hours?

Apple claims 7 hours of battery life for the current MacBook Air 2011 / 2012 model. Upset buyers say the battery lasts 2 hours. What’s the truth? How much battery life will you get?

There’s a big range in battery life reported for the new MacBook Air (MBA) – in the article you’ll discover why. You’ll also learn how to get great battery life.

Some people are complaining of the new MacBook Air being too hot and running the fan too often. Others say its fine – a little warm sometimes, nothing unusual. You’ll learn the probable cause for this.

This article gives both real life times and benchmarks for the 2011 / 2012 MacBook Air‘s battery life. Both the MacBook Air 11 inch and MacBook Air 13 inch models are covered. The battery life for Core i7 processor upgrade is also compared with the standard Core i5 processor.

The battery times in this article are specifically for the current MacBook Air 2011 / 2012 model, released mid-2011 (July).

To piece together the MacBook Air battery life puzzle, information is used from:

This is a big article to write – there’s a lot of information to integrate, and lots of references, tricks & surprising findings I don’t want to leave out. Some people may be holding out on buying a new MacBook Air until the issue of battery life has been cleared up. For these people, I’ve written a short answer with the essentials until I’m able to complete the main article.

If you hang on until the end of the article (or just scroll down), you can also find out where you might get a discount on a new MacBook Air, from a company you already know. It just doesn’t occur to most people that they could buy their Mac Air there, and save a bit of money.

MacBook Air Battery Life – The Short Answer

  1. The battery life estimates that Apple gives – 7 hours for MacBook Air 13 and 5 hours for MacBook Air 11 for wireless web – are possible.
  2. The short battery times seen in forums – two to three hours – are possible too.
  3. Long battery life comes mainly from the processor being idle most of the time, saving lots of power.
  4. Making the processor just a little busier can burn down the battery surprisingly faster. Just 5% utilization of one of the Air’s two CPU cores can translate into 20 to 30 minutes less battery.
  5. Flash, the technology used for a lot of web video and animated ads, seems to be the “usual suspect” for most people in using CPU and using up their battery. One bad Flash advertising banner can use a whole CPU core.
  6. Apple ships the new MacBook Air without Flash installed. If you use the Air that way, you will most likely reach Apple’s “wireless web” battery life estimates.
  7. You could uninstall or switch off Flash to maximize your MBA battery life. Most people, however, want Flash to watch video on the Internet.
  8. There is software such as ClickToPlugin (free) for Safari, that disables Flash items on web pages until you click on the Flash item to enable it.
  9. Leaving applications open swallows battery. I doubled my battery life by closing apps I wasn’t using.
  10. You can see how much power your apps are using with the excellent free app coconutBattery. I’d close an app and watch the number of watts being used drop. Recommended.
  11. Some software installs startup items, daemons, extensions or background processes that consume CPU. Possible background battery abusers are Adobe CS5, Microsoft Office 2011 and Skype. For example Outlook on my Air is checking my office emails in the background. If you install a lot of software, you probably have a lot of software running in the background that may not be visible as an app. Quit or turn off what you can.
  12. If you use Apple Migration Assistant to move your previous Mac’s software to your MacBook Air, you may have dragged years of unused background software across. If you’re guzzling battery, try a clean install of Mac OS X Lion and the apps you actually use.
  13. Screen brightness affects power use, but the number of apps running has a much bigger effect.
  14. MacBook Air i5 vs i7 battery consumption: the battery consumption for the i7 vs the i5 is roughly the same for nearly all use. Battery time for the i5 and i7 is very close on the 13 inch MacBook Air. The i5 on the 11 inch MacBook Air get roughly half an hour more battery time that the i7 MacBook Air 11″.
  15. You don’t need to see high CPU usage in the Activity Monitor app for your battery to be guzzled. Background software starting, failing and restarting repeatedly will eat battery.
  16. If your MacBook Air has short battery life inexplicably, running select features of the Onyx utility has fixed battery life problems for some people.
  17. Another possibility if your battery doesn’t last long is to try a SMC reset of your MacBook Air. I haven’t confirmed this helps – it’s typically done when the MacBook Air fan is running constantly. Please leave a comment if it helps your battery life.
  18. Yes – this really is the short answer! Now you know why I’m tackling writing this article in parts!

Okay, here they are: MacBook Air battery life estimates for different patterns of usage. For all of these, the 13″ Air does about half an hour more, the 11″ Air around half an hour less.

  1. Wireless Web (no Flash) – roughly 7 hours
  2. Wireless Web (Flash) – roughly 5 hours
  3. Wireless Web (Flash), Downloading & Video – roughly 3.5 hours
  4. Lots of apps or background software running as well – roughly 2.5 hours

(Source: mostly AnandTech)

If you already got what you’ve needed from this article and you’ve read enough, please consider clicking +1, Tweet, Like or even better linking to this article from your website or blog. There’s a lot of misinformation about MacBook Air battery life – I’m aiming to clean that up and consolidate it here. Still, it’s not much use unless people can find this article in Google. Making a link to this article with the text “MacBook Air Battery Life” helps this article make the first page for search results. Thanks if you can!

Oh, and don’t forget the MacBook Air discounts, if that’s of interest.

MacBook Air Battery Capacity

Let’s start with facts. The MacBook Air (MBA) comes in two sizes – an 11 inch ultraportable, and a 13 inch for more general use. (If you want some facts to help decide between the models, see “MacBook Air 11 or 13 inch – which is better?”.)

Fact #1: The MacBook Air 11 inch has less battery life than the 13 inch. This is because the 11 inch Air has a smaller battery.

The battery for both size Macs is a lithium polymer battery. The 11 inch MBA comes with a 35 watt-hour battery. The 13 inch MBA, being larger, can fit a bigger battery. The MacBook Air 13 has a 50 watt-hour battery.

Here’s a table of the battery capacity for the current MacBook Air models. I’ve included the MacBook Pro battery capacities for comparison:

Apple Laptop Model Battery Capacity
MacBook Air 11 inch 35 watt hour
MacBook Air 13 inch 50 watt hour
MacBook Pro 13 inch 63.5 watt hour
MacBook Pro 15 inch 77.5 watt hour
MacBook Air 17 inch 95 watt hour

The 13 inch Air has 43% more battery capacity that the 11 inch Air.

Offsetting  the 13″ larger battery advantage is that the 13 inch Air will use more battery for the screen backlight because of its larger screen.

The 13 inch Mac Air’s screen is about 25% larger by area than the 11″ Mac Air, so the 13″ Air – at the same brightness – would pull roughly a quarter more juice for the screen. Complicating the screen size / power use comparison is the fact that MacBook Air’s use screens from two different manufacturers – Samsung & LG. The LCD panel’s power requirements may be different.

It is clear that the 13 inch MBA has more battery life than the 11 inch MBA, even with the power consumption of its bigger screen. Specifics on this battery length advantage of the 13 inch model to follow.

MacBook Air Battery Life – According to Apple

Now let’s get the official story. Apple gives the following estimates on its website for the new MacBook Air’s battery life:

Model Battery Life for Wireless Web
MacBook Air 11 inch 5 hours
MacBook Air 13 inch 7 hours

These estimates are unchanged from the last-2010 MacBook Air models. These previous models used Intel Core 2 Duo processors (C2D). The late-2010 MacBook Air models have excellent battery life, often exceeding Apple’s five and seven hour battery life estimates.

Apple’s battery life estimates for the MacBook Air 2011/2012 models are impressive. Keep in mind Apple asserts the new MacBook Airs have 2 to 2.5 times the processing power over the last MacBook Air model. The new MacBook Air has new Intel technology integrating the graphics processor (GPU) onto the same silicon chip as the main processor (CPU).

This first generation of ultra low voltage Intel Core processors) benchmark up to three times faster than the previous Core 2 Duo models. Apple gives exactly the same battery life estimates as the previous models. Is this believable?

The Core 2 Duo processors in the late-2010 MacBook Air are in fact rated for roughly the same peak power usage as the Intel i5 and i7 processors in the 2011 / 2012 MacBook Air – around 17 watts. It’s plausible – on paper - that the new i5 i7 models could match the battery life of the previous models.

MacBook Air Battery Life Reported in Online Forums

Okay, what’s happening out there in the wild? All of these battery running times are for the 2011/2012 MacBook Air models with Core i7 or i5 processors.

Forum User MacBook Air Model Battery Life Apps
sabrelli MacBook Air 5+ hours Web, Word, Excel
Reading1241 MacBook Air 3 to 3½ hours Web (Flash Blocked)
Foam Roller MacBook Air Just under 7 hours Web, a Couple Short Videos, Excel
anonymous MacBook Air 3½ to 4 hours -
Horrorking MacBook Air 6 hours Web
Its Cam MacBook Air 5+ hours -
Jim Bailey 11″ MacBook Air 3½ hours Activity Monitor, Others
Shane (alcheme) MacBook Air 11″ 2 to 3 hours; with Flash disabled 5 hours Web
Xavier Lanier 11″ MacBook Air i5″ 4 hours 50 minutes Web, Writing, Email, iPhoto
DMC MacBook Air 11″ i5 2 hours -
pharrel MBA 11″ i5 4 to 5 hours Web
Riker88 MacBook Air 11″ i7 3½ to 4 hours Web, MS Office
jaa 11″ MacBook Air i7″ 3½ to 5 hours -
Erik R MacBook Air i7 11″ 2½ hours Sparrow, iTerm, Mail, iCal, Reeder, Skype, Trillian, etc
ryanluke 11″ i7 MacBook Air Less than 2 hours -
Onitsuka Tiger MacBook Air 13″ 3 to 4 hours Web, Music
Digu 13″ MacBook Air 5 hours Web
w1cked MacBook Air 13″ i5 4 – 5 hours -
jules667 13″ MacBook Air i5 Lucky to get 5 hours Web
ryu74 MacBook Air i5 13″ 4½ hours Software Development
Ghostly MacBook Air i5 13″ 8 to 14 hours Web, Word Processing
Iverson76ers MBA 13″ i5 3 to 4 hours Web
Jimmy Obomsawin MacBook Air 13″ i7 2½ to 3 hours Web
Vics MarBook Air i7 13″ 5 hours -
addisonm MacBook Air i5 4 to 6 hours MS Word
Jason Fear i5 MacBook Air 7 hours (projected) -
iccaprar MacBook Air i7 3½ to 4 hours Web (Flash Blocked), PDF
Matt Hardy i7 MacBook Air 2 to 2½ hours (before fixing issues from Lion upgrade) Text Editing, Web

We’ve got two to seven hours battery life across the responses, with one user claiming up to 14 hours. How can there be such a very wide range of battery life, especially as many users are just using the web? Let’s look at some controlled battery tests from MacBook Air reviews.

MacBook Air Battery Life Test by Macworld

Jason Snell at Macworld.com tested six models of the new MacBook Air, in both the 11 inch and 13 inch sizes, with the Intel i5 and i7 processors. The battery test is to loop playing a video in full-screen.

Here are the MacBook Air battery times Macworld got:

MacBook Air Model Battery Life
MacBook Air 11″ i5 4GB 3 hours 25 mins
MacBook Air 11″ i7 3 hours 22 mins
MacBook Air 13″ i5 5 hours 20 mins
MacBook Air 13″ i7 4 hours 53 mins

Notice there’s not that big a difference between the times for the i5 and i7 processors. So for fullscreen playback of a looped video, we have 3½ hours for the 11 inch Air, and 5 hours for the 13 inch Air.

MacBook Air Battery Life Testing by Engadget

Engadget’s standard battery life test is to loop playing a video. Playing a video is typically drains a battery faster than browsing the web. On their 13 inch MacBook Air i5, Engadet got 5 hours 32 minutes of battery time.

Tim Stevens, the reviewer, concludes:

The seven hours Apple advertises for the 13 (five for the 11) is well within reach if you’re not doing anything too taxing.

Tim also noticed that the MacBook Air 2012 / 2011 model lasted one hour more than the last year’s MacBook Air model.

LAPTOP Magazine Tests MacBook Air Battery Life

LAPTOP Magazine tested the battery life of a 2011/2012 MacBook Air i5 13 inch with continuous web browsing. Web browsing typically uses less power than video playback, used in some of the other battery life tests referenced in this article. LAPTOP Mag’s test gave 6 hours 25 minutes of battery life.

How Can the MacBook Air’s Battery Life Be So Short?

The current MacBook Air models have an amazing secret power. The Intel processors in the current MacBook Air lineup are in fact very, very special. Under a light workload, the ultra low voltage Intel Core i5 or i7 processor in a MacBook Air, runs at just 1.6 to 1.8GHz, and consumes little power.

What most people don’t know, is that the MacBook Air processors are firebrands that can speed up to 2.9GHz and match the performance of the processors in the 2010 MacBook Pro 15 inch and 17 inch models, and even match the current 2011 / 2012 MacBook Pro 13 inch model. The base MacBook Air, costing $1,000, has comparable processor and storage performance to my top-of-the-line 15 inch MacBook Pro purchased August 2010 for $4,000. That is simply amazing.

The MacBook Air’s high performance doesn’t come without cost. When the MacBook Air processor runs at full speed, it drinks a lot more power than when lightly used. Combine the capacity to run fast with a thin and light lithium polymer battery (read small capacity) and you have the possibility of short battery life. The battery won’t last long when software slams the CPU, either because the software is genuinely working hard, or because the software is not efficient.

If software was written to be energy efficient, software would only use the compute cycles it really needs. The MacBook Air would hardly ever rise over it’s resting heart rate. Unfortunately, the primary consideration for software is getting it working and released. Many programmers never think about the effect of their software on your battery. A poorly written animated Flash ad can consume a whole processor core. (Which is why Apple didn’t allow Flash on the iPhone, iPad & iPod, and why Flash no longer comes pre-installed on new Macs.) Apparently watching Netflix, which uses Microsoft’s Siverlight technology, can similarly eat a whole processor. Apple’s own iCloud sync process use some battery, as will hourly Time Machine backups.

The good news is some software is improving it’s processor and battery efficiency: Flash for Mac seems to have gotten much better over the last six months. I just tried playing some full HD (1080p) movie trailers on YouTube in Safari: Avatar used just 9% of one processor core, and the Lord of the Rings used 13%. It looks like Flash is now using the graphics processor for video decoding rather than the central processor. That’s a great improvement.

Full size laptops have much higher capacity batteries; the 15″ MacBook Pro’s battery capacity is twice that of the 11″ MacBook Air. So full size laptops have the battery capacity to last longer when their processor is working hard. Having a MacBook Air is like having a supercar that can go 200 miles per hour (320km/h), but has only a 6 gallon (22 litre) gas tank.

Using processor power generates heat. On top of the compute processor, these special i5 & i7 processors have the entire video processor, the Intel HD3000, on the same piece of silicon. Together this central processor (CPU) and graphics processor (GPU) can generate a lot of heat. When either processor is busy – and particularly when both processors are busy – the fan needs to run to keep the i5 or i7 chip in the MacBook Air from overheating. The MacBook Air is little, so it’s fan is little, and a little fan needs to rotate fast to push enough air to cool the processor. If the MacBook Air is under load, the MacBook Air fan can be noisy.

The last generation of MacBook Air models (released late 2010) look identical to the current Mac Air, but contain a Core 2 Duo processor. The Core 2 Duo’s performance is a 2 to 3.5 times slower than the Core 2 Duo. The Core 2 Duo does have one advantage over the i5 & i7: it can’t work as fast, so it can’t consume as much power. I could easily get over five hours battery life on my late 2010 MacBook Air 11-inch Core 2 Duo without doing anything special. If I’d applied the battery optimisation tips in this article, I’d probably get over 8 hours battery life. If you want great battery life and aren’t concerned with performance, get the MacBook Air Core 2 Duo 11 inch or 13 inch – they’re cheaper, and still available new.

To match the long battery life of the previous MacBook Air model, Apple could have speed limited the new MacBook Air’s processors. This would extend battery life at the cost of performance. Why didn’t Apple speed limit the processors? Well, having all the power in such a small package is just too attractive!

Since I got my Core 2 Duo MacBook Air, I hardly use my MacBook Pro. The MBA is light & svelte rather than big & awkward, and due to it’s flash storage, it’s fast – the Air makes computing more casual, convenient & fun. I don’t want to lug a Mac Pro with a DVD player and big screen around. If I need a big screen, I’ll plug one in – they’re cheap. When I did video work on the Core 2 Duo Air, its slow processor became obvious and I wanted my Mac Pro again. And if I wanted fast connections into my Core 2 Duo MacBook Air, like Gigabit Ethernet, and Firewire, I couldn’t.

With the latest MacBook Air, these two reasons to switch back to my MacBook Pro are gone. The i5 & i7 processors in the current MacBook Air are fast enough for video work. With the introduction of the Thunderbolt port in the current MacBook Air, just arrive at home or the office, plug in a tiny connector, and connect a huge external display and make ultrafast connections (1GB per second) to networks, fast disk arrays and other peripherals. The size and weight of the MacBook Air is the future of laptops. I suspect Apple’s MacBook Air engineers feel the same way, and they’re gradually removing reasons why you’d need a hefty laptop. That’s why I suspect Apple engineers couldn’t bring themselves to hobble the processors, even though this makes it possible to quickly burn the MacBook Air’s battery to the ground.

It would still be possible for Apple to add option to the Energy Saver panel of System Preferences to limit the processor speed when on battery. I hope they do.

Are you Buying a New MacBook Air?

If you’re buying a new MacBook Air and you want to buy from a trustworthy company, it’s worth checking Amazon.com’s current prices. Follow these links to get the current MacBook Air prices at Amazon:

At the time of writing, all the MacBook Air’s linked above come with free shipping.

If you click one of the links above and do choose to buy your MacBook Air from Amazon: (a) you may get your new MacBook Air a bit cheaper, and (b) Amazon will pay me a commission. This supports me to keep writing good Mac articles.

Thank You!

Was this article helpful? If you link to this article from your blog or website, or click the “+1” or “Like” buttons, it really helps share this article – thanks! (I’m playing catch up with MacWorld, who have 41 million links.)

Got comments or questions? There’s a comment form at the bottom of the webpage.

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102 Responses to MacBook Air Battery Life – 2 hours or 7 hours?

  1. Benc says:

    Great information. Quick bit of advice to add:

    I have 2011 13″ MBA i7 with poor performing battery (after charging would typically give about 4-5hrs).. I just ran a bunch of stuff from Onyx (the permissions stuff, the monthly, weekly, daily, scripts), gave my system a reboot, and lo and behold it now says 9hrs!!!

    Hopefully I can actually achieve that. Anyway just my 2c

    Cheers

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Great info – thanks very much Benc!

      • Sally says:

        Hi
        I just did the SMC reset that you recommended for fan running and battery hot etc. I did that yesterday. Today I have run the MacAir all day and the battery is holding a LOT better and the fan is not running and the machine is not nearly as hot as it was. Great tip and SO easy!! Thanks so much. Hope my response helps you even more. This was such as easy fix.

  2. Sandra Walsh says:

    Just reading your “short answer” has cleared up A LOT of questions for me. I was considering buying a MacBook Air but because of the way I use my computer that is not a good choice for me today. I know now that if I do buy a MacBook Air for travel I will need to modify the way I use it, and thanks to your VERY clear explanations I know what I need to do to take full advantage of this ultra-thin, ultra-light beauty.

    Soon I will have my website up and running – I will gladly come back and add a link. We need to support those who have “REAL” content on their pages and not just hype.

    Thank you,
    Sandra Walsh

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Thanks very much for the appreciation Sandra. This article is taking more time to research and write than any I’ve written before. I was wondering “Is completing this article worth it? Is it really helping people?” Knowing that it has helped you gives me the energy to go on! I wish you well Sandra.

      • Jeff Catania says:

        In-depth, quality work may take 10x longer than the pap other people write, but it’s 1000x more useful! Thanks.

        • Tasman Hayes says:

          Jeff,

          Thank you!

          So very timely… When your comment came in, I was thinking that this MacBook Air battery life article is taking a lot of time, and whether it’s worth it.

          Your comment makes it’s clear that it is really worth it.

          Thanks for the appreciation! :-)

          -Taz.

  3. john says:

    rather than speculate that “a screen would use a quarter more juice because it has 25% more area” look it up. don’t have to “guess” about the power requirements of the LCD panels based on observation. you can get the specific details from the data sheets of the part provided by the manufacture.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      John,

      That’s a great suggestion, I would have loved to!
      I acknowledge the “would pull roughly a quarter more juice for the screen” guesstimate could be out.
      I’d much prefer to have the exact facts on screen power rather than educated guesses.

      Would you be willing to get the facts on MacBook Air screen power usage and summarize the data as an article on your website?
      I’d include a summary of your findings in this article, give you credit for the information, and link to your article for people who want the details.

      Thanks again for the great suggestion,
      -Taz.

  4. Melih Celik says:

    I was not sure to buy a mac book air before read your article. Because when I read the comments about battery life in some forums, people was always complaining pure battery life and also some review was same. So I really hesitate to buy it. But now I am really clear and feel comfortable to buy it now and I will follow the way you suggest us if I really want long battery life. However for the long trip, I may look for some external battery option if the trip is about more than 7 hours. Thanks a lot.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Melih, glad the article helped!

      For the external batteries I’ve seen: (1) Hyper Juice (expensive), (2) one from Japan that runs off C cell batteries for around $250, (3) apparently there’s some cheaper options on eBay.

      Let me know if you want me to dig up the details.

      -Taz.

      • Melih Celik says:

        Thanks a lot again. I may be interested 2nd or 3rd option. But seems that need to wait sometime after pay about 1500CAD for macbook air 13“ :)

  5. Jen R. says:

    I have already ordered a MBA 11″ i7 prior to reading your article. It is a relief to know that there isn’t a big difference in i5 and i7 power consumption. Battery life was my main concern but I couldn’t give up the extra processing power that i7 could bring.

    The information you provided also helped me understand how I can conserve energy on the MBA. Thus, instead of fretting over my decision on the i7, I now feel more at ease knowing how I can get the most juice out of my MBA when it arrives next week (can’t wait!).

    Many thanks for your effort! Great work!

  6. Noe says:

    Hey Taz,

    I decided to go with the MBA 13″ i7 becouse of the screen size and considering i will have it for a long time i also got the 256Gb. I have had it for 3 days and have already been doing some intense email, iWork, youtube, web surfing and Microsoft word. With this type of work it seems like i will have to charge my MBA once day. For the type of work i do the battery last about 4hours, that’s with the keyboard light off and dimmed down screen. So for all the students that stay at school all day CARRY YOUR CHARGER.

    P.S. This thing is fast! I love it!

  7. Seabstian says:

    Thx for all the infromation.
    Do you know if there is a good way to the charge the MBA for the first time? Like for the iPhone I was told to charge it fully and then use uo the whole battery before charging again.
    Any ideas?

    Appreciate!

  8. Don Campbell says:

    Thanks for the great article Tasman.
    I’ve got a new I5 MacBook Air 13″ and have been getting very poor battery life – 3 or 3.5 hrs MAX which is a huge disappointment since I was expecting 6 or 7 based on what Apple is saying. I can literally watch the charge go down as I’m working

    Your article helps me understand what is going on a little better, but I still am not happy with the battery life I’m getting, and turning off Flash and all all background apps is not an option for me.

    Anyway I appreciate the time and effort you put into this, and for giving me a place to vent :)

  9. Koenraad Batselier says:

    Excellent series of articles you have been writing on the new MBA Taz! They helped me a lot in my research and decision making process on what to buy ;-). I encourage you to keep up the good work!

    Cheers!
    Koenraad

  10. Tom Simma says:

    Hello,

    first of all, thanks for the great article. I’ve got the new MB air i7 13″ and i have erperienced battery life times from 2 – 9 hours, heavily depending on the useage. low screen brightness and not running a dozen apps will boost battery life time (i get up to 8hrs using 1 firefox window with a couple of tabs). also onyx really seems to help, at least much more than memorysweeperpro or cleanmymac.

    Tom

  11. Kyle Reynolds says:

    I’m getting 5:01 (Exact measurement provided by MiniBatteryLogger) active time on my 13″ 2011 base model. This is with Skype, Colloquy, TextEdit, Preview, CourseNotes, Twitter, Terminal, BBEdit, Pages, iTunes, Safari + Flash with around 15+ tabs, iCal, Mail, Xcode (With nothing particularly taxing), and occasionally Final Cut Pro X and App Store open. Three bars over 50% brightness. I guess that’s alright. I was slightly disappointed because before I got an Air I heard that the 7 hour estimate was the result of a heavier test and Apple was actually under-promising and over-delivering on heavy usage. I’m probably just being ruthless.

    My friend isn’t as lucky, it seems. he’s getting 4 hours with just Skype and Facebook. Though I haven’t monitored his usage closely. He’s had his share of issues with his Air I guess.

    • Kyle Reynolds says:

      Also bluetooth on but not connected to any devices. Don’t know if that has an effect.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Kyle,

      This is a really valuable comment. Thanks for taking the time to give all the details. Five hour battery life for your MacBook Air 13 i5 with all the apps, Safari with Flash and 15 tabs is a good result.

      You might squeeze more battery life our of your MacBook Air using App Tamer. It pauses apps running in the background. You can set exceptions. If you try it, please let use know how you go.

      “Apple under-promising” on battery life was actually for the last model, the late 2010 MacBook Air. Those MacBook Air models run a Core 2 Duo, and get great battery life.

      For your purposes, I suspect you’d prefer the much greater speed of your mid-2011 MacBook Air.

      Thanks again Kyle!
      -Taz.

      • Kyle Reynolds says:

        Few months later — I’ve done monitoring and my battery life has been worse lately — I get about 4 hours. The battery health hasn’t degraded much — but it seems the computer itself is using more power now. 9 — 13 watts as opposed to the usual 8 I had.

  12. John Blackman says:

    I’m getting 2.75 hours with MBA 11 i7. Wifi on, bluetooth off, keyboard backlight off, screen 2 bars past middle, Safari and Mail open. Contacted Apple support twice. First tech thought I had a bad battery cell. Sent me to local store genius bar as he said they are equipped to test for a bad cell. When I got there the “genius” advised me they don’t yet have the software for the 2011s! Called back support and got a high level tech who told me that the 5 hr battery life published by Apple was in SLEEP mode and that I was doing very well with my 2.75 hours! How’s that service for my Apple Care investment!? BTW both techs said they were unaware of any complaints about battery life with the 2011 MBAs!
    I am now armed with good data and will try to slug it out with Apple.
    Thank you for your excellent work.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      You’re very welcome John! :-)

      You should be able to get much better battery life than this given the apps you’re running.

      The low level hardware and software that manages your Mac – the System Management Controller (SMC) may be confused. A SMC reset will usually fix this.

      Another possibility is that some of the websites you have open in Safari use Adobe Flash, and the Flash is guzzling your battery. To check this, exit Safari, wait one minutes, and see if the estimated remaining battery life increases greatly. There’s software like ClickToPlugin, FlashFrozen and AppTamer to stop Flash eating CPU cycles.

      Details on these tricks and others in MacBook Air Fan Noise Heat article.

      Let me know how you go John.

      Cheers,
      -Taz.

  13. Justin says:

    I see no evidence that 7 hours is possible for the 13″ macbook air unless you are just typing with low brightness. no badly behaving web pages, no other apps running.
    Apple need to reduce that estimate.
    I’m looking at my brand new macbook air 13 i7 256, and Coconut reports with 50% brightness, bluetooth off, 8.2 watt consumption, which is (for a 6700mah battery) just over 6 hours.
    but if you actually use the “wireless web”, scroll a bit, don’t read painfully slowly, then usage rises to 9.5w and maybe 5:30.
    If you increase brightness to 8/10, and also use the “wireless web” you are well over 11w and usage you won’t get more than 5 hours.

  14. David says:

    hey, this is a pretty damn good article. thanks can’t decide between the 11 or 13. I didnt know the difference was 2 hours in battery life, geez. quite a sacrifice.

  15. Wang says:

    Thank you so much for all the valuable information.

    Really useful and now I know which MBA is suitable for me.

    Nice Work!

  16. bill says:

    I have a brand new 2011 i7 11″ air and using skype only got 1hr 45 min. Must say Im a little disappointed – nice machine but this is like going back to 2004

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for taking the time to let us know you’re only getting 1.75 hours on your i7 Mac Book Air 11 inch with Skype.

      Did you get this battery time with:

      1. Skype idle (ready to receive calls and chat messages)
      2. Skype chat
      3. A voice-only Skype conversation
      4. A Skype voice conference call with multiple people
      5. A video Skype conversation
      6. A multi-party Skype video call

      Or a mix of these?

      I’ve put these in these Skype features above in order of the ability to suck your battery dry.

      For example, I’d expect a multi-party video call to burn your MacBook Air battery to ground very quickly. There’s a lot of technology used to deliver a video conversation with several people. That technology all uses power, which drains the battery:

      1. encoding your video (expensive on the CPU),
      2. decoding video from multiple parties (also burning CPU),
      3. encoding your voice, while doing echo cancellation and noise gating (CPU),
      4. using the graphics processor (GPU) for the caller’s picture on screen,
      5. transferring a fair bit of data, so pushing the WiFi a bit,
      6. using the web camera, and possibly speakers.

      If you were just actively using Skype part of the time, could you estimate how long?

      Thanks Bill!

      -Taz.

  17. +1′d – I only wish I’d found this article sooner rather than reading all the “official” reviews which didn’t reveal anything apart from manufacturers stats nor any real world results. I’m getting about 3.5 hrs with my mid 2011 i5 13″ so I’m ok with that as have flash and lots of apps running. Keep up the good work! Adam.

  18. Jordan Rapp says:

    Thanks for this. Great article. Just got a new Macbook Air and was curious about battery life. Great to know what to change when I’m at my desk and when I’m on the road. Much appreciated.

  19. Aaron says:

    This was EXTREMELY helpful. A HUGE thank you! This will solve my “donut shop” decision process between 11″ and 13.”

  20. BuzB says:

    Terrific information–reinforces my decision to move to a MBA.

    Today I use an 2008 MBP and iPad day-to-day as a network engineer; since the Lion upgrade I’ve noticed there’s not enough RAM to run all my applications, Visio in Windows 7 via VMWare, plus all the other fun stuff. The past two Lion upgrades have forced me to restore my image from Time Machine three times and rendered me unable to encrypt my full drive (company policy) without a fresh Lion install.

    So I asked my boss to upgrade my RAM to 8 Gb and upgrade the drive to 256 Gb SSD, he replied with a “wouldn’t you rather have a new one?”

    Me: “Uhm, well I was trying to save us some money and extend the life of my existing MBP.”

    Boss: “Well, choose either a 13″ MBP or 13″ MBA. Let me know before you leave for the day.”

    So my 13″ I7 MBA is now on back-order through the university bookstore. I’m hopeful it will comfortably replace my MBP and personal iPad (used for notes and general web browsing during meetings).

    Hopefully, you’ll be adding more soon?

  21. sk sagor says:

    I am using mac book air on windows developer preview but that haven’t properly given my battery back up………!!!!!!!! what is the proper solution of that problem…………

  22. andrwa says:

    Very nice article :). Thank you.

    I have just tried to watch pulp fiction in full HD (mkv file – h.264). Wifi on. Nothing else.
    I started to watch when I have 61% battery on my new MBA 11″ i5. And to drain the batter had exactly 1 hour and 31 minutes.
    This should get 2 hours and 29 minutes on full charged battery.
    I was using mplayerX on 10.7.2
    Oh, QT shows that it’s 12.12 mbits/s (file size is almost 15GB).

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Andrwa,

      Excellent information – thank you very much for taking the time to report this clearly and accurately.
      I particularly appreciate you gave the movie, bitrate, video player software and Mac OS X version.

      Champion!

      Thanks,
      -Taz.

      • andrwa says:

        well, I did another test.
        Now I had 3rd full charge (8 hours) after full discharges.
        Played In Bruges (really recommend this movie ;)) in 720p. Wifi on. And also Little snitch on, but no internet activity I think.
        The movie h.264, 8.77 mbits/s. The result is 3 hours, 7 minuts and 40 second ;).
        Probably I can try xvid later. I believe it will go to 5 hours ;).

        If you have any suggestion how and what to test, I could try. But I have no patient to really test web browsing :D

      • andrwa says:

        And I would just add, not sure, if it’s important. But movie was played by QT7 using perian (also mkv file). I wasn’t able to set the loop in MplayerX :(

  23. dude says:

    thanks so lot for so many work in detail.
    greets from germany
    dude

  24. Jim Becker says:

    Thanks for your article. The fan on my Macbook Air ’11 Core 5 was running at high speed much more than in the past and noticed my battery life deteriorating. After reading your article I downloaded Ovix and ran the tasks under automation. Since then I have not heard my fan at all (and the computer is staying cool). I’m unclear what got changed/fixed but the battery life is much improved. Thanks for the tip. Any idea what Ovix did?
    Thanks

  25. Jim Becker says:

    Sorry, I meant Onyx. :-)

  26. Istvan says:

    Thank you, very useful!

  27. Kevin Stacey says:

    I have just purchased for my wife a macbook air 13″, our battery life from new was 2hrs 30m. Even with a full rundown and charge, it stayed the same, having read through the information and the comments on this site. I downloaded Onyx for Lion, then ran the options from under the maintenance menu> repair ‘Permissions’. Then ran the ‘Scripts’, leaving all options ticked (default). After this restarted the Mac (which showed 44 min Batt. left). After restart I had 2hr 50m shown. Ran this down (took over 1hr 30 to do) and recharged and got a 9hr shown for batt. Which obviously dropped quickly but I can confirm that the Mac now runs on average for over 5 hours, web browsing (with some flash video playback) and Word use, I have only purchased it for such use so cannot give any other batt. times.

    So grab Onyx from http://www.titanium.free.fr/index.php and run that maintenance and get your Mac batt. working. I am sure other software could do it, not even sure what was fixed. Just want you all to know it works and we are now happy with our MacBook Air :)
    Kevin.

  28. morlmark says:

    My experience, after reading some of your correspondents, is the same as many, and I experienced a big hit on the battery time estimate after downloading an improved version of one of the internet graphic programs, forget which one. How do I find out which one it is? But here is another observation: I notice that the little white 2″ long adapter that goes from the LAN line to USB to my MacBook Air heats up with use. Now that must consume a lot of battery juice / time. What is that all about? Anyhow, I’m tuned in to your article and responses, and thank you for its availability.

  29. Derek says:

    I just purchased a MacBook Air 13″ i5 because of your article. I’m so glad I read this before I purchased my very first Apple computer. Battery life was my number 1 concern.

  30. james says:

    so these units are not great for mutitasking?
    i7 is too much performance for the cost of a small device, get an i5 instead,i have an i7 laptop and its a grunt,great for video encoding but i have it connected to the power supply to give it enough juice for throttling.if you get an i7 then you would want more ram.

  31. TillLux says:

    thank you so much for all the info- been on the fence since the new models came out back and forth a million times at least! the 11″ i7 128gb is my choice. I am going to Vietnam to work for 3 + months (photography, teaching, design) and the size made the choice for me 13 is too close to 15 (just sold my 13″ MBP and my 2008 15″ MBP) I needed small easy quick, fit on a scooter, low key but still powerful enough to edit 30+mb raw photos and some HD video in a pinch while travelling, dont want to risk damaging my 15″ 2011 256ssd quad i7 MBP a 27 ACD for work, a mac mini for movies/netflix/music at home.
    Here I am babbling- Just saying thank you for putting me racking my brain to death on a decision over resolution, track pad size, battery, speed, cost, size, and and and

    Keep it up!!!

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      TillLux,

      You are very welcome! I completely understand what it’s like to go back and forth on a Mac purchase. :-) For me, it quite a funny state: being really excited at the prospect of a new Mac – intoxicated by it really – but not quite ready to buy.

      I think that’s fair enough we go back and forth: We spend a lot of time with our Macs, we want it to be the right fit and it’s a sizeable chunk of cash. Often I need to look at a lot of angles before it becomes clear which new Mac model I’m buying (and if I’m buying at all). Many of these articles on Mac Crazy just echo the process of research I go through to reach a buying decision. I’m glad they helped you.

      The 11″ MBA is perfect to take on a scooter. That’s how I was getting around with mine on Monday. I am still completely in love with it.

      -Taz.

  32. brux says:

    I just bought a brand new updated 13″ Macbook Air 2 weeks ago. It was a brand-new clean install of Lion.

    I am dumbfounded at how horriblble my battery life is, and how bad Apple support has been at explaining this. Of course,there is just plain no explanation possible for the bad design decisions in this device, or what is really worse is Apple’s false and misleading marketing on it.

    I followed most of the suggestions here on my own such as:
    1. setting screen brightness to minimum.
    2. setting screensaver off and screen blanking to practically minimal values.
    3. turning the keyboard backlighting to the minimum and setting minimal timeouts on that as well.
    4. Turning sound down
    5. Even going so far as to shutoff the wireless when I was not using it.

    None of these seems to make any difference when I really need the machine or what to use it.

    Here is my test and what I notice:

    1. With all the above settings in place …
    2. I watched several 3 of Star Trek: Enterprise back to back on my Air. An episode without starting and ending credits is less than 35 minutes long.
    3. After 3 episodes or about 90 minutes of play … certainly less than 2 hours or 120 minutes my Air was completely dead, no power at all.

    While I was doing this the battery estimate percentage/time numbers seemed to be changing non-linearly. That seems to indicate that the program that looks at the battery drain is tweaked to be … let’s say “optimistic” giving me a false idea of how much battery is left – beause if what I am doing is a linear drain on the battery why is the calculations non-linear and programmed to be wrong, but then update in the next iteration/calculation to a much lower number?

    I took my Air to the Apple store for diagnostics, and they passed and said my Air and its battery were in good health. They ran diags.

    Then they told me that this was normal behavior … blaming it on Flash, or in the case of NetFlix blaming it on Silverlight. The new information was a bit hard to process right there on the spot. I mentioned that my iPad can go for a very long time watching NetFlix in the NetFlix app and not go dead – so I suspect this is baloney or something they have been told to say when confronted with battery complaints.

    I don’t know what to think … I am thinking of returning the Air, but I do not want to buy a non-Apple laptop, nor do I know if buying a regular MacBook will be any better. I am really unsatisfied with Apples design of the MacBook Air in terms of the battery, and their support as well.

    So … my question is, do I keep the Macbook Air or return it and trade it in for a 13″ Macbook Pro … I do not really want to buy a NON-Apple laptop, but this is not workable. A minimum of 100 minutes battery life from watching streaming video is pretty pathetic.

    I really thing they could have made the case just a little bigger and fit a decent battery into this device … and as I mentioned I do not have this problem with my iPad 1.

  33. Daniel says:

    all of your introduction and experimental are useful to me
    i really love reading your article.

    I am a mac user from taiwan. =D

  34. Helen says:

    Thanks for a great article! I bought my MBA 13″ 256GB 2 weeks ago. I was initially very impressed with the 7 hour battery life. After installing a few apps, battery life (fully charged) suddenly dropped to 2:30 hours… Imagine my disappointment!
    Your article helped identify likely culprits, and just in the last few minutes, I’ve seen my batter life creep back up after disabling a couple of add-ins and turning off “auto-running” apps.
    I’ll keep working on this, however, as my battery meter now seems to fluctuate from 3:15 hrs, to 5:30 hrs, back down to 4hrs, all within minutes… Not too sure what that means yet, but again – thanks, your article saved me from thinking I had a “lemon” whose battery was already “useless” after just 2 weeks…
    Cheers,
    Helen

    • Helen says:

      Additional info: just found that having iCloud “Photo Stream” selected “on” results in a range of roughly 8 to 12% CPU usage, greatly affecting battery watts (per CoconutBattery info). I turned off “Photo Stream”, the “photostream agent” correctly disappeared, and battery charge jumped from 3:30 to 5:20 in just a few seconds. Not sure why “Photo Stream” specifically is causing such a huge difference, but I thought it might be useful info for fellow MacBook Air owners.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Helen,

      I’m really happy the article made a difference for you! :-) Thanks for letting us know that iCloud’s Photo Stream can deplete the MacBook Air’s battery faster – you’re the first to report this! I’m sure this will be really useful for people.

      -Taz.

  35. Jay says:

    Ok , What is ONEX? that Benc mentioned

  36. Charlotte says:

    Thanks so much for this awesome summary! I just received a MacBook Air 11 inch for Christmas and was wondering about the battery life. I will definitely download the apps you recommended for turning on flash and for monitoring how much battery life applications use. This must have taken a long time to write- you are so nice to put your work into this article! Your article is the first one I’ve read that actually helped.

    Again, many thanks!

    Charlotte

  37. J S says:

    I bought a Macbook air 11″ with 2 GB.
    The battery life is just 1 hour and 40 minutes. I have checked it again and again.
    Yes I use Google Chrome and I have also purchased MS office for Mac. But then this was supposed to be Mac. It has no HDD and all space is given to the battery. Compare the Dell/ HP or Acer ultrabooks. They all run MS office, Google Chrome and lots more applications and yet the batteries lasts not less than 3 hours. My Dell Latitude still gives me 2.5 hours after 6 years and its is a war horse with 4 GB RAM and a DVD Drive and all the usual. Let us keep the viruses on Windows story apart, how come then that the Macbook dies so easily where the so called inferiors survive?
    I am utterly disappointed. I could have had a much better battery power by investing half the money that I have done on Macbook air. Those of you who are planing to buy a Macbook air, beware. Hold on till March 2012, there are a number of intel based ultrabooks coming out. If at the end of the day, you, like me use a lap top for emails, and word processing, internet browsing..there is no point in buying a Macbook air.use half the money and try something from Sony, Samsung, Acer , Dell or HP. use half the money in buying a new printer or stuff. Apple Macbook air is a Fad that wont last long. One more thing. give it some real work and It gets hot very quickly, the fan is so noisy it can cause you headaches.
    For me it is not worth $999 may be $200 tops that is what it is worth if not less.
    But they wont sell a fad at that price.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Hi J S,

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a poor experience with your MacBook Air battery time. I’d be very disappointed with 1 hour 40 minutes of battery life for a new Mac laptop, when I’m just doing email, word processing and Internet browsing. I’d be expecting a better experience than the Windows laptops I’ve owned.

      You’ve got three options I can think of:

      1. Sell your MacBook Air 11″ i5 and buy a Windows laptop: If you’d be happier on a Windows laptop, you can sell your MacBook Air, and use the proceeds to buy a Windows laptop. In my experience, Mac’s retain their value very well – far better than Windows laptops. I’ve also found MacBooks are very easy to sell.
      2. Sell your MacBook Air 11″ i5 and buy the previous model, a MacBook Air 11″ Core 2 Duo: The late 2010 Core 2 Duo model has less than half the compute performance, but it has stellar battery life and is still fast for the sorts of tasks you’re doing. They’re still available new, as well as refurbished by Apple. There’s a even smarter way to do it: Many people will be wanting to trade up to your model. You could offer people a price for people to trade up to your model, get longer battery life, and make money in the process. The late-2010 Mac Air Core 2 Duo is probably the model you really want – great battery life out of the box.
      3. Find what’s sucking your battery dry and ration its access to your MacBook Air’s resources: One hour forty minutes is the second shortest battery time I’ve heard of for a Mac Book Air. Something is definitely wrong. Follow the suggestions in the article. Start with running the Activity Monitor to look for heavy processes. I’ll help you if you get stuck.

      I’ve just added a 1,000 words to the article above to explain why the MacBook Air battery life can be so short. The short version is this:

      1. To stay light and thin MacBook Air models have about half the battery capacity of normal laptops.
      2. The MacBook Air processors can be very power efficient, but they are very capable, modern processors that can run very fast and use a lot of power.
      3. It only takes one bit of poorly written software, or an inefficient website, to make the processor run fast and guzzle the battery. This includes software that isn’t working probably on OS X Lion 10.7 yet.
      4. Apple could have artificially capped the processor speed or used a tinker toy processor to reduce battery usage, but they didn’t. Apple’s giving us a very capable computer in a small package.

      Roughly: Older, chunkier laptops have twice the battery capacity. Their ability to drain the battery may be naturally limited by using a slow poke processor – even in the face of bad software overworking the processor. The MacBook Air processor can fly as well as just walk steadily. If a bit of software pushes it to fly, it will use more power than a processor that can only walk.

      Mac Crazy gets about half the people on Earth who are Googling for information on the MacBook Air’s battery life in English. Some people will just be looking for information, but a proportion of these people have a MacBook Air battery life issue. Based on the traffic I’m seeing, I’d guesstimate 0.5% to 4% of MacBook Air users globally consider their battery life isn’t enough. That’s a pretty high percentage – you’re not alone J.S.

      Apple will have shipped around one million MacBook Air’s worldwide in the last three months (October to December 2011). Some of these MacBook Air owners are very happy. Like me!

      I’m writing this comment on an 11 inch MacBook Air i5, very similar to yours. It has the same processor, screen and battery, but with more RAM (4GB), and a larger SSD (128GB). I have four Safari browser tabs open, a todo manager app running, and iTunes is streaming Internet radio to my stereo over WiFi. iCloud sync is on, with only syncing contacts and Find My Mac switched on. Time Machine is off. My screen brightness is at 50%. I get 4 hours 20 minutes battery life out-of-the-box without any battery tuning. If I quit everything except Safari, I get over 5 hours.

      J.S., I hope we can get you to a happier place with your MacBook Air.

      -Tas.

  38. Samantha says:

    hey tas, well i just got my new mac air, got it on the 29th

    I have a 2011 11 inch macbook air that i bought brand new off of someone from kijiji.

    I recently noticed battery life was low so i ran a couple of tests

    When i use my macbook air at 3/4 brightness i can charge it within 1 hour and 30 mins

    but the full charge only lasts for about 3hours and 10 mins

    this is doing web browsing / flash videos

    These are the power saving settings i use when i’m on battery

    Computer sleep: 1.5 mins

    Display sleep: 1 min

    so is there anything wrong with my air?

    • Martijn Kruiten says:

      Try to close all applications. Not with the X on the left side, but really closed, so there is no blue light under the icon in the dock. Then test again. Did you enable click to play in Safari? Did you enable html5 on youtube.com/html5? And it you’re using Chrome, try my advice below to enable click to play for that browser.

  39. Namya says:

    This article of urs has been very helpful !!
    But i am still confused ..the thing is i have an option stated by my office between buying a sony VPC CB35 13″ without any extra charge on top of iy or macbook air 13″ on which i will have to pay$500 from my pocket ..at the same time sony offers a 3.0GHz processor with 500GB storage and air a 1.6GHz with just 120GB storage i would certainly not mind paying $500 for the looks ,ulraportability and the brand name itself but is not sony giving me more ….by now i have asked each kin of mine ..stilll i am confused i really need ur help on this because i think u will be able to tell me the right option…
    My main purpose on the laptop will be web browsing,some anime episodes and MS office ofcourse
    Reply ASAP

  40. Raymond Duong says:

    Hi. Your article is greatly detailed. Thank you. I wanna add another theory on the difference between core i7 and core i5. In short, for core i7, being more powerful=do work in less time=more idle time=more battery life (compared to core i5). Just like how a stronger man lift heavier weight using the same calorie. More on the first 4 paragraphs of this http://www.anandtech.com/show/4554/apples-11inch-macbook-air-core-i7-18ghz-review-update/5

  41. “The Core 2 Duo’s performance is a 2 to 3.5 times slower than the Core 2 Duo.”
    Helluva statement ;-)

    Keep up the good work! VERY useful!

    – Paul

  42. richard english says:

    I purchased my MBA after researching various sites but after reading the information you provided I was better prepared to make an informed decision. I purchased 2 MBA’s one for my wife and one for myself. I’m happy to say that on average with casual use i.e. browsing light gaming and routine tasks that i average 5-7 hours. We have the 2011 MBA 13″ i5 256gb models. They are for lack of a better term awesome. Great info long past the original posting. Great work I hope this article continues to help others make better informed decisions in the future.

  43. Martijn Kruiten says:

    Excellent article, this got my battery to behave normal again. It appeared that flash was using cpu time, even if I did not actively use it (ie a paused video, a banner on a site that was in another tab, etc). What I did to save energy while using Chrome was:

    1. in Chrome go to chrome://flags
    2. enable click to play
    3. go to chrome://settings/content
    4. under plugins enable click to play

    This will block any plugin – including flash – until you click on the video, banner, etc, to enable it only for that specific video, banner, etc. There will also be an icon in your address bar if something is blocked. You can click on that to temporarily enable plugins for the site, or enable them forever for that site.

    One downside: it is said that this setting is reset to block al content instead of click to play with each update. You will have to manually enable it again.

  44. Rakesh says:

    I have a 2010 MBA, 13″. Routinely had 7-9 hours of battery life. Could go all day without carrying my charger.

    Two weeks ago, I updated to Lion and my maximum battery life plummeted to 2-3 hours. It became noticeably hot just above the keyboard. No other changes, no new software, no changes in behavior.

    I took it to the genius bar. Diagnostics said everything was running fine. They kept it for five days because they thought my battery was separated at one corner. I received a new battery with NO IMPROVEMENT in my battery life.

    Strongly believe this is a Lion issue…There’s a thread in the apple support communities from people who have noted the same. Someone found longer battery life and lower temps after upgrading to 10.7.3. Just tried it, but without immediate success. (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3304547?start=0&tstart=0)
    -Rakesh

  45. liz says:

    Thanks for the information! What is your opinion about calibrating the battery every so often? I’ve not done it yet, but have read this also might help. Thoughts?

  46. Roma says:

    Great help, compiles tons of info on a single place. Thanks!

  47. Martijn Kruiten says:

    After some further testing I came to the conclusion that for best battery life you should use Safari as your default browser with ClickToPlugin (or ClickToFlash) installed. Safari plays HTML5 videos much more efficient than Chrome, and the plugin forces HTML5 video where it can. Also make sure you sign up for Vimeo and enable HTML5 video in your settings.

    I’m using the Do Not Track Plus plugin as well, which cuts down page load times. I’m not sure wether this will improve battery life. The same goes for Adblock.

  48. Sally says:

    I just did the SMC reset. My MBA 13″ was running hot and the fan was going on often – the battery was not lasting long. I did the reset yesterday. It has solved the heat and fan problems – so far the battery appears to be holding MUCH better. It was such an easy fix and definitely worked for the fan – without that running the battery has got to last longer!! Today it has worked well – but I have only been on it for just over an hour – still at 78% so all is good (and I am running about 4 programs) THANKS!!! :)

  49. Pingback: Getting The Most Out Of Your Mac’s Battery – Part II [OS X Tips] | Apple Stocks

  50. Pingback: Getting The Most Out Of Your Mac’s Battery – Part II [OS X Tips]

  51. Johan says:

    Great article.
    Any known/similar article for Iphone 4S?
    Thank you!

  52. Rodolfo C. Nerez Jr. says:

    Pls help.
    My mac air 11″ was completely drain for 2 days…when i recharge it, it is OK…but when i pressed the power button all i can hear is the fan running and the battery is heating up….so i press again the power button and it went off…pls anybody here can help me? I dont want to make more trouble in my unit….

  53. caren says:

    my battery says that replace soon..so im planning to buy a new battery..but the problem is why when its getting hottier..i cant use my MBA 13inch..i really cant its hang esp when im using skype or any app that using camera..the voice also like freezing…i noticed this when its only getting hotter..i have read some articles b4 that even my battery got problem it wont cause any harm..but i dont think so coz why now that my battery seys replace soon..it all affects my system i cannot use it even i got fan..i nid to go to a cold place for me to be able to use my macbook air..so sad coz i really love my macbook but now i dunno whats happening i send already to d apple store and they just told me to buy a new battery..i cant do it asap ..so do you have any suggestion please that will make my mba performance better?pls response..thank you..^_^

  54. Gauge Alford says:

    Dear Taz,

    I thank you so much! My MBA has been running at least like 2-3 hours more! You have been really helpful! And throughout the comments you have been very nice to people, even the people that were a little displeased. You are by far the nicest and most helpful writer/commenter i have ever heard from. Keep up the great work! 

    Another pleased commenter,
    Gauge Alford

  55. Henrik says:

    I’ve a brand new MBA 11 with i7. Only using it for web with videos, and the battery doesn’t last more than 2 hours.

    I’m going trough your guide and the comments here and will let you know what the result on my MBA will be :)

  56. Frank Gelito says:

    Hello Sir Tas.

    Bought a mid-2011 MBA 11 i5 last month…battery life is no more than 4-odd hours, tops. Been racking my brain ever since how to bring the number up. Until I stumbled onto your wonderful article.

    My batt-meter now reads 6:03hrs of life after following just a fraction of your advice.

    Much thanks.

    God bless.

    Mabuhay po kayo

  57. Paulo says:

    Fantastic tip that multiple open apps drain the battery! I had never known that before, and it’s good to know.

    I had used Coconut Battery in the past, but it’s been several years, so appreciate that tip, too. Now, if they’d only add a feature to let me gauge how much each electrical item in my house is using!

    “Leaving applications open swallows battery. I doubled my battery life by closing apps I wasn’t using.

    You can see how much power your apps are using with the excellent free app coconutBattery. I’d close an app and watch the number of watts being used drop. Recommended”

  58. I know this article is not brand new, but I found it anyway. Tried a combination of the tips and tricks here and my 16 month old MacBook Air 13 inch just went from 1,5 hour to 8 hours battery life. And it’s still going !!! Amazing…so a huge thank you from Denmark :-)

  59. Steve Gale says:

    SMC worked a treat. Thanks for that tip and all the other information. Glad you were there!!

  60. M says:

    Found your article after searching to see why my mid 2011 11′ Air (i7) all of a sudden dropped to 2hr battery life after the latest software update (Lion 10.7.5). Before that it would show the battery to last 5+ hours when not plugged in, even while I’m running Adobe Illustrator.
    Fan was also going crazy at times, so did the SMC reset and battery is back to over 5 hours and fan so far is quiet. Thank you so much!!

  61. KittyCat says:

    I have the newest macbook air, and I don’t use flash, and it seems to me that 1% = 1 minute -,-
    so it only lasts about like 1-2 hours.
    I only use web. Tho I have a lot of tabs. (26) On different pages.

    • Tasman Hayes says:

      Hi Chloe,

      You might be using Flash without knowing it.
      YouTube uses Flash.
      Nearly all video on the web on Mac still uses Flash.
      Most animated ads uses Flash.

      Are there any animated ads or video in those 26 tabs?

      -Tas.

  62. Colleen says:

    I just got a MBA 13 in on Saturday and I have also been disappointed at the battery life. I don’t have much on it yet but I did download FLASH. It is running OSX 10.8.2. Is there a specific version of ONYX that I should download?

  63. gil says:

    Hi there,

    i never ever get more than 2.5 hours and i hardly use any applications. very frustrating!

  64. Pingback: A long-term PC users review of the Macbook Air

  65. Tim says:

    Well written and thoroughly researched article, thank you for taking the time. I have a MBA, love it, but this article has shed light on the poor battery life issues I experience too. Not much else to say but – thank you!

  66. Dion Forster says:

    Thanks for the great review! I have been quite impressed with my mid 2011 MacBook Air 13″. Even after two and a half years I was getting about 3-4 hours. I have just replaced the battery with a new one from iFixit, now I am getting between 5-6.5 hours. I’m hoping that once Mavericks arrives it will give me even LONGER battery life.

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