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Mac keyboard and trackpad: save battery power

[2010-11-04] apple, hack, computers, mac
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With my iMac, I am now using a keyboard and a Magic Trackpad. Unfortunately, the latter is only available as a Bluetooth device and (for right-handers) only makes sense with a shorter keyboard which is also Bluetooth-only. Thus, one has to use batteries. A few tips for saving resources in this kind of scenario:

  • In normal use, both keyboard and trackpad go into light sleep if not used for a certain period of time. Alas, the keyboard does this much more efficiently, because it can wait for a key press to wake up. The trackpad still has to react to touch which is more power-consuming.
  • If you put the computer to sleep, keyboard and trackpad go into deeper sleep. E.g., the trackpad only wakes up if you click it.
  • You can also switch both devices off which is recommended if you don’t use your computer for an extended period of time.
The only problematic case is thus a long-running task such as finishing a download or converting a video where the devices never go into a deeper sleep. During this kind of task, I switch the trackpad off. Additionally, you can switch off the display with one of the two following methods. This is better than a screen saver, because the display won’t be running.
  • Put the cursor in a hot corner. Use “System Preferences → Desktop + Screen Saver → Hot Corners” (or search for “corner”) to configure a corner so that the display is put to sleep if the cursor stays in it. Disadvantage: this is impossible to do if you have switched off the trackpad.
  • Type Ctrl-Shift-Eject
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