Tagged: MacBook

How to adjust the standby time in your MacBook

MacBook Pro lid

Later model MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pros offer a feature called Standby mode. Standby essentially takes the contents of your RAM and stores it on the hard drive after your MacBook has been sleeping for an hour. This saves plenty of battery life. Unfortunately, it significantly adds to the amount of time your MacBook takes to wake from sleep when already in Standby mode.

By default, Standby is set to one hour (3600 seconds) by Apple. But you can adjust the settings using the Terminal app to whatever you wish. I’ve set mine to two hours (7200 seconds), instead of one, using the following command in Terminal application:

sudo pmset -a standbydelay 7200

I caution you though, setting the amount (in seconds) too high can kill the battery savings that Standby was meant to give you. And in the end, it only saves you a few seconds when you wake your MacBook from sleep.

Get fair warning with Low Battery Saver

Low Battery Saver is a simple, elegant app that lets you decide when to get a low battery warning, and safely sleeps or hibernates your Mac laptop before it dies. Unlike the built-in battery indicator in the menubar, which is easily missed, Low Battery Saver displays a low battery warning at your specified time that you cannot miss.

Low Battery Saver

As you can see above, a large red bar appears across the bottom of your screen to let you know the battery is running low. After that, you’ll receive a notification that your laptop will sleep in X amount of time (you decide how much time that is in the preferences.

Low Battery Saver prefs

Set the amount of time before the large red warning bar appears, then how long before the laptop sleeps, as well as a warning before it sleeps. Quite frankly, if you lose a file due to battery drain while using this utility, you deserve the grief you’ll suffer.

Low Battery Saver (Mac App Store Link) is a handy little utility if you work primarily on a laptop. The loss of a single file because your battery dies can be devastating, so Low Battery Saver pays for itself at only $1.99.

View extended laptop battery info with Coconut Battery

coconutBatteryIf you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro, your battery is vital to the usefulness of the machine. While Apple offers you basic information about your battery life, little information is displayed about the overall health of the battery. This is where coconutBattery comes in.

coconutBattery is a simple utility that goes beyond just showing you the current charge of your MacBook’s battery. You might say it gives your battery a complete physical exam. coconutBattery can show you the current maximum capacity of the battery compared to what it was when you first took it out of the box; perfect for anyone who’s thought “the battery used to last longer.”


coconutBattery offers a wealth of information about your laptop's battery

The diagnostics don’t stop there. You can get a better idea of how many complete charge cycles are left in the life of your battery by checking the loadcycles (how many times you’ve fully charged your battery) – useful because every battery has a set amount of full battery charges before it just doesn’t charge anymore.

If you’re a multiple-laptop family, you’ve no doubt been faced with the question “is that the MacBook charger or my wife’s MacBook Pro’s charger?” coconutBattery can let you know if you’ve plugged your laptop in with the wrong charger.

coconutBattery is a free, Universal Binary you can download here.

iPad: The ultimate school supply?

Apple iPadYou saw the iPad event video, or at the very least have read one of the numerous feature reviews currently littering the Mac Web. The Apple iPad has finally been released to the masses, ending months of speculation, rumor and wishful thinking.

While tech journalists focus on what the iPad is and isn’t, the lack of a camera, Apple’s choice in 3G providers, and a host of other topics; I’m having one of those light-bulb moments. The iPad is the ultimate school supply!

When you consider some states are handing out $1,000 Macbooks to students and teachers, it’s not hard to imagine Apple’s true reason for the iPad’s existence is to get more product into more hands at a young age.

Think about it. The purpose of the laptop program is to make the Internet available to kids, and to give them something to produce their homework assignments on (even though we know they use it for much more). But in this economy, schools are certainly rethinking these “laptops for every kid” programs.

Fixing various power issues on MacBook/MacBook Pro

If you find your MacBook or MacBook Pro having various power issues such as:

  • backlighting
  • hard disk spin down
  • sleep or wake issues
  • battery issues
  • trackpad control

the first thing you should try doing (after simply restarting your computer to see if that fixes it) is resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC is a chip on the logic board which is responsible for power management of the computer. Issues can and do pop up that render the settings in the SMC unusable, resulting in problems with the above mentioned items. Many times, resetting the SMC is all that is necessary to fix the problems. To reset the System Management Controller on the MacBook or MacBook Pro, do the following:

  1. Turn the computer off
  2. Disconnect the AC Adapter and remove the computer’s battery
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds, then release it
  4. Reconnect the battery and AC adapter
  5. Press the power button to restart the computer

The process is similar for MacBook Air users, as well as users of older Apple laptops which use the Power Management Unit (PMU) rather than the SMC. You can view this Apple support document for more info.