They say that all good things come to an end, and the lifespan of a laptop battery is not exempt.
Every battery – yes, even those from Apple ;) – lessen over time. Eventually their ability to hold a charge gets so poor that you become enslaved to the cult of the power outlet.
Checking the health status of your battery is something worth doing every couple of months. It can help you identify whether any charge-related issues you might be experiencing are battery-based or the result of something else, like an app with excessive resource usage and thus poor power efficiency.
Ubuntu makes checking the health of your battery easy thanks to an app that comes installed by default called ‘Power Statistics’.
Despite the droll sounding name, Power Statistics offers up power stats for a range of connected hardware, so it’s useful for more than just checking battery info. Information is presented in a clean, user-friendly way.
To check your battery health you’ll want to open the app, click on the relevant battery item in the sidebar, and double-check that you’re faced with the Details tab. From there scan down until you come across ‘Energy when full‘ (your battery’s current max charge) and ‘Energy (design)‘ (the original maximum charge specified by the manufacturer).
Unless you’re using a brand-spanking new battery fresh out of its wrapper you will see a discrepancy between these two numbers. This is normal. The larger the gulf between the numbers the lower the charge your battery will be able to hold. If you scroll down further you’ll also find a percentage gleaned from the ratio of the above two numbers: the original capacity to the current capacity.
While there are no easy ways to restore a depleted charge capacity there are things you can do to extend the battery life you do have. Things like turning the screen brightness down a few notches, shutting off bluetooth, and closing applications when not in use will all help give small gains, as will reforming your charging habits.
Sadly, as we said at the outset, things will, in time, get to the point where you’re connected to a charger more than not. The only real solution in such situations is to bite the bullet and buy a new battery.