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AH Primetime: Improve Your Chromebook’s Battery Life With These 10 Tips

April 24, 2015 - Written By Ricardo Trevizo

Chrome OS is a very lightweight operating system based on the Linux kernel developed by Google for use in (But not limited to) Chromebooks. This operating system is much less power-demanding than others, namely Windows or MacOS, the reason behind this is that the each day more popular, Chrome OS, works mainly with web applications not so rigorous installed applications. Normally, web-based applications don’t need as much resources to run smoothly, whereas other operating systems are more demanding because of having to run every vital program for the OS. The fact that Chrome OS is not as power hungry, has given Chromebooks a somewhat major boost in the battery department. Even if most Chromebooks can maintain a charge for at least seven hours on average, you can always further improve on this. So if you want your Chromebook to withstand some extra hours of use, here are some tips to extend and optimize your Chromebook’s battery life.

Some of these tips may also apply for some of your other gadgets, so even if you don’t have a Chromebook take note so that you can also get some more use time out of your device. The first thing to check is lowering the screen’s brightness. This is one of the most basic things you can do to improve your Chromebook’s battery life, even if the display might look beautiful when the screen is as bright as possible, the display is one of the most battery demanding parts of a Chromebook. The second thing to pay attention to is closing your Chrome tabs. There are several ways to use up a Chromebook’s RAM, the most common one is to leave your browser’s tabs open, even if it makes it easier to navigate through your favorite websites. Chrome manages each tab as a separate process, meaning that the more tabs you have open, the more resources your Chromebook needs to use, which will result in a decreased battery life.

Turning the Bluetooth off is another good way to save even a small amount of battery life. If not in use, Bluetooth can be more of a nuisance instead of a feature because of how it impacts the battery. You can disable Bluetooth by going into Settings > Advanced Settings and then unchecking the Bluetooth checkbox. Or just search for Bluetooth in the bar at the top of the Settings menu and uncheck the Bluetooth checkbox. Another thing you can do is close up unnecessary apps and services through the task manager. This tip is a bit more complicated than the previous ones, but still it is fairly simple. To open your Chromebook’s Task Manager, go to the options menu in Chrome and then select More tools > Task Manager. This will open a window where you can see everything that is running on your Chromebook, every single process is slowly eating up your device’s battery and in order to stop this, you have to manually close the ones that you don’t need running. The most resource intensive processes include Google’s own services like Gmail or Google Drive. To stop any process you must first select the app or service you desire to disable and then on the bottom right corner click on “End process”.

Logging into Guest Mode can help the battery life quite a bit. Chromebooks have a very useful feature that allows the user to sign into Guest Mode, which has the benefit of not loading any of your installed Chrome extensions or any of your applications. This will greatly decrease the processes that Chrome OS initially runs, saving up some battery. If at all possible, disable Wi-Fi if you aren’t using it. Sometimes you won’t need to be connected to the internet, as a great number of applications are able to run offline. If what you’re doing doesn’t require an active internet connection, disable Wi-Fi by clicking the system tray at the bottom right corner of your Chromebook’s screen, then click Wi-Fi, and ultimately disable it. When not in use, close the lid on your Chromebook. It may sound really simple, but by closing the lid, Chromebooks enter Standby Mode. This feature greatly improves battery life as it puts every process on hold and also turns off your device’s screen. Even if it might be really obvious, closing the lid of your Chromebook is one of the most effective methods of saving battery.

Disable the backlit keyboard if you’re using the Chromebook during the day as you’ll be able to see the keys with enough other light sources like natural light or lights from the room you may be in. If your Chromebook features a backlit keyboard (like the new Chromebook Pixel, for example), you can suffer from some incremental battery usage due to it constantly turning on. You can change the brightness of the backlit keyboard by pressing the Alt key along with the brightness control keys. Just as you would turn off WiFi if you aren’t using the internet, turn off LTE if you have no use for it. Some Chromebooks come with the possibility to connect to LTE networks, this radio signal is one of the most battery demanding tasks that devices can have. When connected to Wi-Fi your Chromebook maintains the link to the network, in case Wi-Fi suddenly drops. Lastly, turn your Chromebook off when not in use. Most Chromebooks boot up in mere seconds so there shouldn’t be any issues with turning yours off, this is definitely the best method of saving battery for obvious reasons. If you won’t use your Chromebook for a while, turn it off and do the battery a favor.