I’ve just watched a YouTube video showing how today’s teenagers react to desktop computers from the Windows 95 era. While the video is amusing and entertaining, and their reactions to “dinosaurs era” technology are priceless, the video tells us something important: how far technology has gone in the last twenty years.
But one part of computer technology remains more or less stagnant with not many significant breakthroughs happening during the same period: the battery technology. It does get smaller, charge more efficiently, and can keep the power longer between charges, but battery is also one of the computer parts with the shortest lifetime.
There’s nothing that a user can do when his/her gadget’s battery reaches the end of its life but to replace it. But if you are a MacBook user, there’s an app that can help you prolong the battery’s life. It’s called Fruit Juice (US$ 9.99).
Are You Too Plugged In?
At the very core, Fruit Juice is a battery management app that sits silently in the menubar. There are many battery management apps out there, but most of them only tell you two things: how long until your battery needs to be charged and how long the charging process is until the battery is fully charged.
But these battery management apps fail to tell one thing: Is your laptop too plugged in? And that can coat the battery lifetime dearly. A laptop, with the battery, is designed to be used mobile and unplugged. While it’s convenient to plug your laptop into power all the time, especially when you’re working from home and not going anywhere for an extended period of time, being too plugged in will reduce the lifetime of the battery.
The battery needs some daily unplugged time to keep its lifetime at the optimum. And that’s what Fruit Juice does.
How Long Does It Need?
When you first install Fruit Juice, it will stay quietly in the menubar while analyzing your battery to get all the data it needs such as age, lifespan, remaining charge cycles, capacity, etc. Based on this data, the app will determine how long the daily unplugged time for the battery should be.
It will also determine whether the battery needs a maintenance cycle. First-time users usually need the cycle at least once in the beginning. This process is required to ensure the correct reading of the battery data, and Fruit Juice will ask you to charge the battery to full and drain it to below 20% while guiding you through the process.
After the maintenance cycle, the daily use of Fruit Juice is as simple as unplugging the battery for a length of time the app instructs you to. After you meet the quota, you can plug or unplug it according to your convenience. The number will vary depending on your battery history. At the moment, my battery needs around two hours of unplugged time. It moved down from more than four hours at the beginning, to around three hours after a few weeks, and finally to two hours. I guess regular usage of Fruit Juice does improve the battery time.
You can see the battery information by selecting “Battery Info” from the main window. I’ve just replaced my battery about few weeks ago, and the app is still adjusting the info. It shows that my battery has 110% capacity.
Fruit Juice also keeps a record of your charging history; you can access it from “Power History.” You can view it in several different time ranges: a week, two weeks, a month, two months, and up to a year.
There are two more settings that you can customize if you want to (or leave alone at the default value): “Notifications” and “Preferences.” The first one is how often you wish to be notified about your battery, and the latter is how you want Fruit Juice to show up in the menubar. Use the Preferences if you want to set the app to start up automatically at login.
How do you maintain your battery? Have you tried Fruit Juice? Share your experience in the comments below.