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How to Display the Battery Percentage in Your Mac’s Menu Bar

By default, the battery icon in your Mac laptop’s menu bar shows how full your battery is. Clicking it reveals the exact percentage, but you can also set macOS to display the battery percentage next to the icon. The setting isn’t where you might expect in System Settings > Battery. Instead, you’ll find it in System Settings > Control Center, where you need to turn on both “Show in Menu Bar” and “Show Percentage.”

(Featured image by Adam Engst)


Social Media: If you’re tired of trying to interpret how full your MacBook’s battery is from its menu bar icon, here’s how to get it to display a percentage as well.

Keep Your Apple Devices Cool in the Summer Heat

June 2023 was the hottest month on record for the planet, at least until July 2023. Among the many ill effects of such heat are what it does to iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and other digital devices. Excessive heat shortens the overall lifespan of lithium-ion batteries and increases the likelihood of both transient errors and hardware failures—iPhones warn you when they’re getting too hot because of these issues. Apple recommends using nearly all its devices in conditions no hotter than 95ºF/35ºC and storing them in locations that don’t exceed 113ºF/45ºC. (The exception is the adventurous Apple Watch Ultra, which can be worn in temperatures up to 130ºF/55ºC.) The most common place to avoid is a car parked in the sunshine on a hot day, which can easily exceed 130ºF within an hour and rise from there. So don’t leave your iPhone in the car during an afternoon at the beach!

(Featured image by iStock.com/Jorge Garcia Argazkiak)


Social Media: As many parts of the world struggle with record heat waves, remember that excessive heat—operating temperatures over 95ºF/35ºC—is harmful to portable electronic devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Keep your digital friends cool!

Bring Back the Battery Percentage Indicator in iOS 16

Back in 2017, when Apple added the notch to the iPhone X for Face ID, the resulting loss of usable screen real estate caused the company to remove the battery percentage indicator from the status area. Since then, you’ve only been able to estimate how much battery life you had left from the icon; you had to open Control Center to see the numeric percentage. In iOS 16, however, Apple has revived the battery percentage indicator for Face ID iPhones, building it into the battery icon itself so it doesn’t occupy more of the status bar. Unfortunately, it’s not available on the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, or iPhone 13 mini, perhaps due to a lack of sufficient screen resolution. Everyone else can enable it in Settings > Battery.

(Featured image by Adam Engst)

watchOS 9’s New Low Power Mode Could Help Older Apple Watches

Until watchOS 9, Low Power Mode on the Apple Watch turned the smartwatch into a dumb watch that only told the time. With watchOS 9 on an Apple Watch Series 4 or later, however, a new Low Power Mode reduces the watch’s capabilities while keeping it largely functional. It turns off the Always-On display, heart rate notifications, background heart rate and blood oxygen measurements, and the automatic start workout reminder. When your iPhone isn’t nearby, it disables Wi-Fi and cellular connections and incoming phone calls and notifications. Other features will be slower: making a phone call, refreshing background apps and complications, Siri requests, and some interface interactions. (You can still use the Workout app in Low Power Mode and record metrics like heart rate and pace. Go to Settings > Workout on the Apple Watch to turn Low Power Mode on automatically whenever you start a workout.) watchOS 9 prompts you to turn on Low Power Mode when your battery drops to 10%, or you can enable it manually by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center, tapping the battery percentage button, and enabling the option.

(Featured image by Adam Engst)

Extend Your Battery Life in macOS 12 Monterey with Low Power Mode

We’ve become accustomed to our iPhones and iPads switching into Low Power Mode to preserve battery life, and you can enable it manually if you want to reduce power usage for a day. New in macOS 12 Monterey for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is a similar feature, though you must enable it manually. Open System Preferences > Battery, click Battery in the sidebar, and select Low Power Mode. It reduces the screen brightness automatically and may decrease CPU performance. Make sure to turn it off once you don’t need it anymore.

(Featured image by iStock.com/Pascal Kiszon)

Does Your Magic Mouse Need More Juice? Here’s How to Check

It’s unfortunate that the most recent iteration of the Magic Mouse has its Lightning charging port on the bottom, making it impossible to use while charging, unlike the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, which work fine when plugged in. To check if your Magic Mouse needs charging before it starts to nag (and starts acting a little funky), look in one of these spots. If your menu bar is displaying the Bluetooth icon, click it, and the charge level should show up. Or click the Control Center icon on the menu bar and click Bluetooth. You can also look in System Preferences, in either the Bluetooth preference pane or the Mouse preference pane. In our experience, the Bluetooth menu is the easiest, but Control Center and the Mouse preference pane are the most reliable—sometimes the charge level doesn’t appear in the menu.

(Featured image by iStock.com/Alex Sholom)

The Plug Is Mightier Than the Puck: Wireless Charging Is Wildly Inefficient

In 2017, Apple added support for Qi wireless charging to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and with the iPhone 12 lineup, it introduced its own MagSafe wireless charging technology. There’s no denying the convenience of wireless charging, but keep in mind that it’s extremely inefficient compared to wired charging. Individually, that may not matter much when you’re charging overnight from a wall-connected charger. But across billions of phones, it’s more problematic. One estimate suggests that wireless charging requires nearly 50% more power than cable. And if you’re charging from a wireless battery pack, wasting that juice means less of a top-up before exhausting the battery pack. Charging speed suffers too. In short, to charge your iPhone quickly and efficiently, whether from a wall-connected charger or a battery pack, stick with the traditional Lightning cable.

(Featured image by iStock.com/grinvalds)

Some May Like It Hot… But Your Technology Prefers to Stay Cool

When summer brings sunny days and rising temperatures, you may have ditched your business suit for shorts or skirts to stay comfortable, but your technological gear can’t do the same. And keeping your tech cool is about more than comfort—as temperatures rise, performance can suffer, charging may get slower or stop, various components might be disabled, and devices can become unreliable.

How Hot Is Too Hot?

You might be surprised by the recommended operating temperatures for Apple gear—whether you’re talking about an iPhone X or a MacBook Pro, the company recommends staying under 95° F (35° C).

Such temperatures happen regularly throughout the summer. Even in cooler climes, the temperature in a parked car in the sunshine can easily hit 130º F (54º C) in an hour and rise higher as time passes. And no, cracking the windows a couple of inches won’t make a significant difference. We hope you’re already thinking about that with regard to children and pets, but as you can see, tech gear should also be protected. Apple says its products shouldn’t even be stored—turned off—at temperatures over 113º F (45º C).

It’s not just cars you have to think about. Temperatures in homes and offices without air conditioning can also rise higher than electronics would prefer, and that’s especially true for computers that stay on most of the time and aren’t located in well-ventilated areas.

What’s the Danger?

First off, remember that all electronic devices produce their own heat on top of the ambient heat in the environment, so the temperature inside a device can be much, much hotter than outside. The CPU in an iMac can hit 212º F (100º C) under heavy loads.

Temperatures higher than what components are designed for can have the following effects:

  • Chips of all types can behave unpredictably as increased thermal noise (electrons vibrating more) causes a higher bit error rate. Because electrical resistance increases with heat, timing errors can also occur.
  • Lithium-ion batteries discharge well in high temperatures, but the increased rate of chemical reactions within the battery will result in a shorter overall lifespan.
  • As devices heat and cool, the uneven thermal expansion of different materials can cause microscopic cracks that can lead to a variety of failures over time.

Some heat-related problems are temporary, so when the device or component cools down, it will resume working correctly. But others, particularly drops in battery life—are irreversible and particularly worth avoiding.

When a Mac gets too hot, it will spin up its fans in an attempt to keep its internal components cool. If your Mac’s fans are ever running at full tilt, first quit apps you aren’t using, particularly those that might be CPU-intensive and thus creating a lot of heat. If that doesn’t make a difference, restart it to make sure the problem isn’t some rogue process. If the fans come back on at full speed quickly, shut it down and let it cool off for a bit. In the worst case, an overheated Mac will start acting unpredictably or crash.

iOS devices don’t have fans, so they employ other coping mechanisms. If your iPhone or iPad gets too hot, the device will alert you.

Apple says you might notice some of the following behaviors:

  • Charging, including wireless charging, slows or stops.
  • The display dims or goes black.
  • Cellular radios enter a low-power state. The signal might weaken during this time.
  • The camera flash is temporarily disabled.
  • Performance slows with graphics-intensive apps or features.

If you’re using Maps on an overheating iPhone for GPS navigation in the car, it may show a “Temperature: iPhone needs to cool down.” screen instead of the map. You’ll still get audible turn-by-turn directions, and the screen will wake up to guide you through turns,

How to Keep Your Tech Cool

For the most part, keeping Apple devices cool just requires common sense, since you’d do the same things for yourself.

  • As Apple’s specifications recommend, avoid using devices when the temperature is over 95º F (35º C). If you can’t avoid it entirely, keep usage to a minimum.
  • Don’t leave devices in cars parked in the sun for long periods of time. If it happens accidentally, let the device cool before using it.
  • Provide good ventilation so air can cool the device. Don’t block ventilation ports in the back of desktop Macs, and don’t use Mac laptops in bed, propped on a pillow, or under the covers. It can be worth vacuuming dust out of ventilation ports every so often.
  • Never put anything on the keyboard of an open Mac laptop.
  • Avoid stacking things on top of a Mac mini.
  • Monitor the temperature of server closets. If they get too hot, keep the door open, add a fan, or run the air conditioning.

Luckily, the temperatures that cause problems for Apple hardware aren’t terribly comfortable for people either, so if you’re way too hot, that’s a good sign your gear is as well.

(Featured image by Alfonso Escalante from Pexels)


Social Media: How hot is too hot for your Apple devices? You may be surprised by the answer.

A Quick Way to Check Battery Levels on Your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods

Apple’s Batteries widget is a little known but highly useful tool for quickly assessing which of your small Apple devices is lowest on power—something you may wish to do when traveling with only one charging cable. To access it, switch to Today view on the iPhone, accessible by swiping right on the Home screen or Lock screen. If the Batteries widget isn’t already there, scroll to the bottom, tap Edit, and tap the green + button to the left of Batteries in the list. Of course, if you just want to check the battery status on one device, that’s possible too. It’s easy to figure out how much power remains in your iPhone’s battery because of the indicator at the top right of the screen (swipe down on it to invoke Control Center and see the percentage on the iPhone X and later). On the Apple Watch, swipe up on the screen to see its battery percentage in Control Center. For AirPods, open the case and wait for the pop-up to appear on your iPhone’s screen.

(Featured image by Adam Engst)

Three Ways to Tell If You Should Get a New iPhone Battery before 2019

Are you happy with your iPhone’s battery life? If your iPhone regularly ends up in Low Power Mode or doesn’t always make it to the end of the day without extra juice, read on to learn how to determine when it’s time for a new battery.

It may be important to get to this soon because people with an iPhone 6, SE, 6s, 7, 8, or X can likely get Apple to replace the battery for just $29 through December 31st, 2018—the price will go up in 2019. (The cost is $79 for even older iPhones; non-Apple repair shops may be less expensive, but it’s generally better to stick with Apple’s parts and service providers.) That $29 price is thanks to a discount program Apple instituted in January 2018 as an apology for silently reducing the performance of the iPhone 6 and later in an effort to prevent them from shutting down due to weak batteries. See Apple’s A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance for details.

Here are the top three signs that you need a new battery right away.

1. Your iPhone Is Bulging

This one is obvious and possibly dangerous. If the lithium-ion battery in your iPhone is defective or damaged, it can swell due to outgassing or other chemical reactions. In the worst case, a swollen battery can catch fire or explode—it’s why airlines are concerned about batteries in luggage.

If you notice your iPhone is swelling, you need to deal with it immediately. Power it off and place it in a fireproof container. Then take it to a repair professional or an Apple store right away, or call us for advice on how best to proceed.

2. Your Older iPhone Has Lousy Battery Life or Shuts Down Unexpectedly

Generally speaking, iPhone batteries last a few years without losing too much capacity. However, if your iPhone’s battery drains well before the end of the day, or if it shuts off unexpectedly, that’s a sign that you may need to replace the battery.

Before you do that, go to Settings > Battery and look at battery usage by app, which shows which apps have consumed the most power for the last 24 hours or the last 10 days. Tap Show Activity to see how many minutes the app was in use.

If anything near the top of that list seems odd—it’s not an app you use much or its background activity is excessive—consider force-quitting the app. (Open the app switcher by double-pressing the Home button on a Touch ID iPhone or swiping up and slightly right on a Face ID iPhone, then swipe up on the app’s thumbnail.) You might also disable that app’s switch in Settings > General > Background App Refresh.

But if your iPhone is more than a few years old, it’s probably time for a new battery. Batteries are consumable items, and Apple designs the iPhone to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 500 complete charge cycles (from 0% to 100%, even if that comes over the course of several charging sessions). Don’t suffer with a weak battery—just get it replaced.

3. An iPhone 6 or Later Feels Sluggish

Starting with iOS 10.2.1, Apple changed things so the iPhone 6 and later would reduce performance to avoid peak power demands that could overwhelm an older battery and cause the iPhone to shut down unexpectedly. Not shutting down is good, but reducing performance is bad.

So if you have an iPhone 6 or later that feels poky, it may be iOS throttling performance to work around a weak battery. With iOS 11.3 or later on these iPhone models, you can go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health to learn more about your battery. iOS displays your maximum battery capacity and, under Peak Performance Capability, tells you if it has enabled performance management to avoid shutdowns. That’s a hint you need a new battery, and we’d be concerned about any maximum capacity under 90%.

iOS lets you disable performance management to avoid the throttling, but it’s nuts to do that and risk unexpected shutdowns. Just replace the battery and your performance will return to normal.

Apple will replace an iPhone battery for free under warranty only if its maximum capacity is under 80% and it has had fewer than 500 charge cycles. However, as previously noted, the company will replace an out-of-warranty battery in the iPhone 6 and later for $29 (plus $6.95 if shipping is required) through the end of 2018, so it’s worth taking advantage of the deal this month. In 2019, the price will go up to $49 for most iPhones and $69 for the iPhone X.

So hey, don’t suffer with an iPhone that’s working poorly due to the battery!


Social Media: If you have any battery issues with an iPhone 6 or later, you can still get a $29 battery replacement from Apple through the end of December. Don’t suffer with a weak battery—learn more at: