I’ve been using FruitJuice [Mac App Store Link] for the past few months on a daily basis on my 2013 MacBook Air. It launches at login and lives in my menu bar, discreetly notifying me how long I should remain disconnected from my charger to retain optimum battery capacity. Although it appears to suggest the same scheme each and every day, it does so depending on your Mac model — the suggestions differ greatly on my friend’s Retina MacBook Pro for example.
Upon first installing FruitJuice, the app asks the user to allow it to launch at login. Accepting this greatly increases the program’s usability and I strongly recommend doing so. The next item on it’s agenda is a maintenance cycle, which is performed to determine the exact capacity of our Mac’s battery. It first asked me to charge my Air to 100% capacity and then let is discharge to 20%. This took me two days to complete — the 2013 and newer Air’s battery life is simply amazing.
After completing the above cycle the app informs us about the current status of our battery and suggests how much time we should spend connected to a charger. In my case it has a stable plan — spend at least 15 minutes daily disconnected from the charger and then do whatever I want the rest of the time, according to my needs and preferences. As I mentioned before, this is individually tailored to every Mac and can differ vastly between models from what I gathered after talking to a few FruitJuice users.
The app lives in the OS X top menu bar. We can define in it’s preferences what we want it to display on it’s icon — I set it to show “time connected to charger” as well as “time left on battery” (if connected, this number reflects the time need to complete charging to 100%). We can also click the icon which brings up a popup with various information, such as “battery time for today” and “daily averages for the past 7 days”. It also displays the current charge as a percentage, how many complete charging cycles the battery has completed since new and remaining capacity — mine is at 96% after 74 cycles. The popup also allows us to display our “Power History” which shows us a graph of our usage history, including time spent charging and time spent on battery.
I’ve never particularly cared about the batteries in my laptops. I do make sure to keep them away from the sun, not to overheat them as well as applying various other passive methods of looking after them, but I never much cared about their life or charge cycles. Exchanging a used battery for a new one isn’t that expensive and I don’t want to be a slave to technology. Having said that however, FruitJuice is a welcome tool with it’s discrete notifications, letting me know that I can now disconnect or that I’ve fullfilled the computer’s daily battery usage needs. It doesn’t bug or irritate me and I continue to use the Air according to my present needs, but I do try to connect or disconnect that cable whenever possible.
I heartily recommend FruitJuice to every MacBook owner who want to take additional care of his or her battery — money well spent.