Review: Low Battery Saver app

Review: Low Battery Saver app
Quick Mac Tip, 12 February 2012

There’s something about my MacBook Pro that means that instead of warning me that my battery’s running low it tends to just turn off with no notice. The Low Battery Saver app helps avoid this. Here’s what you should know.

Low battery warning

If you use a Mac laptop it’s supposed to warn you when the battery’s low. I’ve seen this warning in the past. As I recall it actually warns you a couple of times with messages to the effect that the battery’s low, really low, and save-your-work now low.

For reasons I don’t know and can’t be bothered investigating it seems my MacBook Pro just doesn’t give me those warnings, and nor did my previous Mac.

Energy Saver battery settings under System Preferences.

Energy Saver battery settings under System Preferences.

Show battery status in menu bar

Look in the System Preferences at the Energy Saver settings under Battery. There is an option to show the status of the battery in the Menu Bar. I prefer not to have that icon up there.

My Menu Bar’s already full of things I find much more important and useful. And when I make a screencast to accompany a MacTip I already need to get rid of most of them then restore them afterwards. I don’t add more lightly.

Low Battery Saver options.

Low Battery Saver options.

Low Battery Saver provides unmissable alerts

The other day I was offered a free copy of Low Battery Saver (US$1.99) for review. Since this app touched a nerve I readily accepted. As it happens I bungled and ended up paying for it, but given how little it costs and how well it’s worked for me so far I don’t mind.

The app has a few options. For testing purposes I set it to start to warn me 1 hour before the battery would run out.

The red band of prodding

After the first warning appeared I watched the clock until my battery did actually run out. It was an accurate 1 hour that I’d set.

Actually it was 59 minutes, the longest time I was able to set.

Low battery warning.

Low battery warning.

An hour before my battery died a large red band appeared on my screen. And even if the red band went away, because I dismissed it or because it just went away on its own, it kept coming back. And what’s more it didn’t just come back in the same spot, but would appear in various places on my screen.

It was darned annoying, and absolutely impossible to miss. Which was exactly the point. There was no way I was going to fail to notice that my battery was low.

Sleepy now

At the time I’d selected in the preferences the red band changed its messages. Now it warned me the computer was about to go to sleep.

Sleep warning.

Sleep warning.

At that point I plugged in and was able to keep working.

Tiny annoyances

I had one tiny annoyance with the app: in the Preferences you can’t type a number directly into the time slots. I was obliged to click the tiny arrow repeatedly to select the exact time for the warnings to appear.

The sleep warning maxes out at 59 seconds and the low battery warning at 59 minutes.

I’d prefer to be able to type in a number and select options such as second, minutes and hours.

How long a warning?

Because I was testing I set my first warning to 1 hour out. This was way too long for me since I had only to walk into the next room to plug in. For that situation perhaps a 10 or 15 minute warning would be most useful.

If I were out and about though, perhaps working in a cafe, a full hour’s warning may give me time to locate a place to charge up.

A helpful app

I’ll be keeping Low Battery Saver and keeping it switched on. The irony is I still have an extra icon in my Menu Bar, but the app is stunningly useful.

I’d say that if you use a Mac laptop this app is worth the couple of dollars it costs. It does one thing and does it well.

Win a free code

I have one free code to give away to a lucky winner. This isn’t the code I tried and failed to use. To successfully use a code I think you need to redeem it before you try to buy the app. I was expecting a point in the purchase process where I could enter the code, but that just didn’t happen.

If you’d like this free code leave a sensible comment on this Tip at the website before 7 am New Zealand time on Monday 20 February 2012. I’ll draw one winner at random.

Let us know in the Comments how this Tip helped you.

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  1. Paul said:

    I’m a writer and always concentrate on the one workspace in fullscreen (Writeroom). And, if i forget about battery, what happened each time, i can loose some of my ideas and words. I think this is important for me and very helpful that i can get notification and don’t think about to jump in menubar each minute.

    Sorry for bad english (:

  2. karen said:

    If I don’t win this app, I’ll buy it.
    I appreciate getting my tips from New Zealand
    because I like the “accent”. k

  3. Dana Schwartz said:

    I’ve had exactly the same problem with my MBP. Haven’t seen the low-battery warning in a long long time – it just shuts off. Would love to have Apple fix this, but this App sounds like the next best thing.

  4. KiwiGraham said:

    “My Menu Bar’s already full of things I find much more important and useful. And when I make a screencast to accompany a MacTip I already need to get rid of most of them then restore them afterwards. I don’t add more lightly.”

    Miraz – just wondering whether you’ve considered using a separate user account on your machine when doing a screencast. Most menu bar icons and other plug-ins can be installed or configured on a per-user basis which would allow a separate user account to keep a “clean” background for screencasts or screenshots??

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Thanks Graham. That would be a rather logical approach, and I’m not sure why I don’t use it. I think I did try it once…

      I should consider it again, for sure.



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