How to Improve Battery Life in Linux Laptops

Many people prefer laptops over desktops because of their portability and convenience. With laptops, you can work wherever you want when with desktops, you have to be sitting before your desk everyday. However, laptops lose their advantage of portability quickly when they run out of battery life. In this article, I will show you some ways to keep the battery life of your laptop going for as long as possible.

The first thing you can do to lengthen the battery life is to reduce the screen brightness. In all electric devices, including cellphones and laptops, the display screen is always the most power consuming part. That is why it is always recommended to dim the light of the laptop screen as much as possible when you are using on the battery.

Reducing the frequency of your processor is another way to improve your battery life. Generally, the higher the frequency of the processor is, the more it consumes power. In popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu, the processor frequency is set to run at demanding by default. But in minimalist distributions like Arch Linux, the processor always runs at the maximum frequency and therefore it will eat up a lot of power. By the same token, you need to set your processor to run at demanding frequency to reduce the power consumption.

If your laptop has a dedicated video graphic card, it is also recommended to use the proprietary driver instead of the open source one. When the open source drivers do get the job done, they still are not on the same par with the proprietary drivers. Your laptop will generate more heat when using the open source driver and more heat means more power consumption. Therefore always check the model of the video graphic card of your laptop and install the proprietary driver for it to improve the battery life.

Also, do not run all the applications when your laptop is using the battery. More applications will eat up more power. That is why you need to develop the habit of keeping an eye on your CPU or RAM usage all the time. Take a look at the system monitor if you feel the slightest of difference in performance. From there, you can kill any misbehaving task. In many Linux distributions, you can install the system load Indicator to control the running programs.

Last but not least, the power management scheme of your laptop is one of the most important factors that decide the fate of your battery. In the power management settings window, always make sure you choose a balanced plan that helps you get through a whole workday within the battery capacity. Another great way to take advantage of this setting is by making sure that the laptop goes into suspend mode as soon as the lid is closed.