Do you see the pattern? More of Apple’s devices require a battery. It’s not just the Mac notebooks. Those have had batteries for years. And those batteries last for years. I’ve never replaced a MacBook or MBPro battery.
Now, there’s Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. And the lovable Magic Mouse. And, the latest, Apple’s Magic Trackpad. All wireless. All need batteries. Now Apple sells a battery recharger. Why? Battery life in Apple’s Bluetooth wireless devices sucks.
Battery Powered Wireless Devices Need To Talk
Yep, wireless is good. Cables cluttering up the place is not for me. Besides, I have three kids who can reach the desktop and grab whatever is loose, so I jumped at the chance to go wireless.
Wireless comes with a hidden surprise. All I can say is, “buy some stock in the battery companies.”
I first noticed the battery life problem with my first Apple wireless keyboard. The battery would drain dry in about two weeks. Sure, my iPhone needs to be recharged every day or two, but it comes with a charger.
Apple expects me to foot the bill for new batteries. After checking around, I found other Mac users who had keyboards with a short battery life span. Like any good Mac user with nearly 20 years of Mac purchasing experience, I took my obviously defective wireless keyboard back to the Apple Store Genius Bar—and cried, pouted, fluttered my eyes, while holding two kids and keeping the third tied to a leash.
It worked. Apple gave me a new wireless keyboard and the two weak life span doubled to a month. But that still meant new batteries every month. Sure, they know me on a first name basis at Walmart (I buy diapers by the palette), but batteries are not cheap. So, I bought a Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable battery and charger to reduce my per use costs.
It’s a good thing, too, because I also bought Apple’s Magic Mouse and the best I can get is two weeks out of two batteries. Two weeks. I would take the mouse back to the Genius Bar but they know me there, too, and not in a good way. Maybe I could swap my kids for my neighbor’s kids, wear a wig, and use a fake name. It worked at Walmart.
Now that me and my credit cards have gone further into debt with Apple’s luscious Magic Trackpad (which, you guessed it—requires batteries) I decided to look around for some kind of early warning system. You know, something to tell me when all these wireless devices are about to die on me.
Die? Yes, I know I get a warning when the batteries reach about 20-percent of the charge, but that 20-percent seems to last anywhere from two minutes to overnight, depending on how important what I’m working on at the moment really is.
Hey, Apple. Listen up. Three words: Early Warning System.
All I could find was an interesting Dashboard Widget that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and continuously monitors all of my wireless Bluetooth devices. Mac user, meet BatteryLevel.
For me, BatteryLevel displays the keyboard, mouse, and trackpad, and the percentage of battery power left on each device.
There are many ways to check battery levels on a Mac. BatteryLevel is the most handy. It displays yellow when the battery level reaches below 20-percent, red when it reaches 10-percent, and stays green for any amount above 20-percent.
There is absolutely nothing to not like.
BatteryLevel is free. Does anyone actually pay for Dashboard Widgets?
Alright. I’m mistaken. There is something extra that BatteryLevel needs. It needs some kind of audio warning system when the battery’s power reaches a certain level.
Like, you know, a voice that comes on and says:
Excuse me, Alex, but your keyboard’s battery is now at 20-percent. Please consider replacing the battery soon. You have approximately one day of power remaining.
Whoa. I am all for that. Anything to get my Mac to open up and carry on a dialog is an improvement. What has Apple done about their anemic battery life in all those new and fancy Bluetooth wireless devices?
Why, in their loving thoughtfulness, they’ve given Mac users yet another way to recharge—with an Apple Battery Charger. Thank you, Apple. I had planned to use that money on food and clothing for my kids, but an Apple branded Battery Charger makes me feel more like a part of that big Apple family.
What’s your experience with battery life on Apple’s wireless devices? How long do batteries last on your wireless keyboard, Magic Mouse, or Magic Trackpad? Share your thoughts and read others in the Comments section.