When and How to Remove Your Laptop Battery While Plugged In

Extend battery life and avoid overheating risks

Lithium-ion batteries pack considerable energy into a compact, lightweight space.
Kristoferb, Creative Commons License

If you have a removable laptop battery, sometimes removing it while the laptop is attached to an AC outlet can actually optimize your battery life. However, if there's a power outage while the laptop is plugged into an outlet without its battery, there's a risk of data loss.

Given the inconvenience and risk of data loss from an outage, is the practice of removing the battery worth it? In some cases, yes. We'll take a look at the circumstances under which you should remove the battery from your laptop to optimize battery life, and explain how to do this.

Heat Issues and Battery Life

Overheating is one of the worst things that can happen to a laptop's battery. Battery life can be negatively affected when the battery is fully charged and hot for long periods of time, such as when the laptop is plugged in and being used.

You've probably felt the heat generated from the battery if your laptop is sitting on your lap. Placing a pillow or blanket between you and the laptop will only exacerbate the problem, interfering with air circulation and the laptop's ability to cool itself.

Resource-intensive tasks such as gaming and multimedia editing can further drive up the amount of heat your laptop produces.

When to Remove Your Laptop Battery

If you'll be using your laptop for extended periods of time while connected to AC power, particularly to engage in intensive heat-generating tasks, removing the battery is a worthwhile step to preserve its life. However, if the electricity often disconnects in your home or there's a storm outside that could cause a loss of power, keep the laptop battery attached and avoid the risk of data loss.

If you are plugged into an uninterruptible power source (UPS), then this is not a concern and removing the battery is fine.

If you're on the go and plan to stay plugged in only for an hour or so before you'll need the battery again, keep your battery attached. The process of shutting down the laptop, removing the battery, and then booting back up only to power down again shortly thereafter to reattach the battery (and turn on the laptop again when you get to your next stop) is inconvenient and a waste of time. Keep the battery in for short plugged-in stints when mobile.

If you won't be using your laptop for a long time, such as when you're on vacation or even over a weekend, it's a good idea to detach the battery. This can give the battery a rest and potentially extend its life.

Don't remove the battery or reinsert the battery while the laptop is running, or even in sleep mode. It is best to shut it down any time you're going to be connecting or disconnecting the battery.

How to Remove a Laptop Battery

Always follow these steps in this order when removing the battery from a laptop.

  1. Shut down the laptop.

  2. Unplug the power cable from the AC outlet.

  3. Remove the battery.

  4. Reattach the power cable to the AC outlet.

  5. Power on the laptop.

Storing Your Laptop Battery

The most common recommendation for laptop battery storage is to have it charged to about 40% (or somewhere between 30% and 50%) and then keep it in a dry place. Some manufacturers recommend a storage temperature of between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius), which isn't too cold or too hot.

Some people keep batteries in the refrigerator, but this is risky and unnecessary. Doing so can damage the battery when exposing it to humidity and condensation. Moisture and computer components don't mix well.

Always warm the battery to room temperature before using it.