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Tested: 6 tips to extend your Chromebook's battery life

Derek Walter | April 27, 2015
Chromebooks have typically fared pretty well in the battery department, thanks to running a much less resource-intensive operating system than Windows- or Mac-based computers. Nonetheless, there are always a few tweaks you can employ to keep chugging through the end of the day. We'll show you where to dig into Chrome's settings and use workarounds if you're in desperate straits--or if you just want to optimize your Chromebook's battery life.

Chromebooks have typically fared pretty well in the battery department, thanks to running a much less resource-intensive operating system than Windows- or Mac-based computers. Nonetheless, there are always a few tweaks you can employ to keep chugging through the end of the day. We'll show you where to dig into Chrome's settings and use workarounds if you're in desperate straits — or if you just want to optimize your Chromebook's battery life. 

Let's start with the simple stuff — settings that are pretty standard for saving battery life on any computer, though this may be the first time you're learning where they're at on a Chromebook.

1. Turn off Bluetooth

Disabling this feature always helps if you aren't actively using it. You'll find the Bluetooth settings under Settings > Advanced Settings in Chrome's options menu.  Then scroll down to the Bluetooth section and uncheck the box. 

Don't feel like fiddling in submenus? Keep in mind that you can always use the search field at the top of the Settings menu. Just type in the box for the feature you're trying to find, and Chrome will find it for you automatically.

2. Turn off Wi-Fi

The next tip may sound like crazy talk, but if you're in a pinch and need every last ounce of battery you can always shut off Wi-Fi. Wait, isn't this a Chromebook? Yes, but don't forget that you can perform many tasks offline with a Chromebook — Gmail, Google Docs, and many other apps have offline capabilities. When you reconnect to the Internet your services will sync back up with Google's servers.

3. Cut down on your Chrome tabs

Also, don't get lazy about closing your Chrome tabs. The more you have open, the more memory your Chromebook consumes, which means it'll also eat through more battery power. Want to clear the deck? Two finger-press your trackpad (or right-click if you're using a mouse) on a tab, and select Close other tabs  to quickly shut down the other ones that are open.

5. Turn down screen brightness

And it may sound obvious, but turn down the screen brightness. It's easy to fall into the trap of just cranking it up and basking in the beauty, but dimming the screen can noticeably extend your juice. One daily Chromebook user at PCWorld habitually runs her screen at 50% or even less (if ambient lighting permits) to save battery.

6. Fire up the Task Manager

Now that the basics are out of the way, Chromebooks offer a few extra battery-saving capabilities if you're willing to do some digging.

First off, Chrome's Task Manager offers a wealth of helpful information. You launch it by opening Chrome's option's menu, then selecting More tools > Task Manager. You'll then see another menu with a breakdown of all the apps and services running on your Chromebook.

 

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