If you’ve installed Ubuntu on a laptop, you might want to view battery percentage in the top bar. In this post, I’ll show you how to do this.

While the Quick Settings menu shows you the percentage of battery remaining it’s “out of sight” until you click on it. Useful for the occasional check but not ideal if you’re prone to forgetting (as I am).

Having the battery percentage displayed on the panel is, to my mind, more convenient. It remains visible for the majority of the time you’re browsing, coding, writing, or whatever (though obviously not when something is full-screen).

So how do you enable this handy feature?

Like so:

  1. Open the Quick Settings menu
  2. Click the battery icon to open Settings > Power
  3. Under ‘Power Saving Options’ slide ‘Show Battery Percentage’ to on

Immediately the percentage of battery remaining blinks into view in the top bar right next to the battery icon:

Left: before; Right: after turning the setting on


Showing the battery percentage in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and earlier required extra steps but those are no longer necessary (so if you’re here because you were searching for a “how-to” post after making an upgrade—surprise, the setting is finally integrated).

However, there’s a snag: you can’t show the time remaining, only the ‘precise battery charge level’ as a percentage.

You can open the Power Statistics app in Ubuntu (type Power when viewing the application grid to find it) to see an approximate “time to empty” value. This is at the bottom of the Details tab when viewing your laptop’s battery – so check that out if you’re interested:

Anyway, that’s that; enjoy seeing the remaining battery percentage in Ubuntu’s top panel — and I hope you’re close to a charging point if you find out your battery is about to die after turning this on!

Ubuntu Tips