Tests show OS X Mountain Lion may degrade battery life for portable Macs; fix likely due soon

“Some bit of software within Mountain Lion indeed appears to noticeably reduce battery life for Apple’s portable Macs,” Chris Foresman reports for Ars Technica.

“Following on numerous reports lodged in Apple’s support forums, we did some additional testing using our Retina MacBook Pro review unit, which seemed to lose approximately 38 percent of its previous 8-hour runtime after installing Mountain Lion,” Foresman reports. “Apple support technicians are continuing to gather evidence from users reporting problems, though at least one user has been told that an update from the Mac App Store should address the issue.”

Foresman reports, “Following our coverage, several Ars readers confirmed via comments and tweets that they were experiencing similar problems. But some claimed that their battery life under Mountain Lion is as good as or better than it was under Lion, so the problem does not appear to affect all users.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 10.8.1. With history as our guide, it’ll be coming soon.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was released 14 days ago on July 25, 2012.

Length of time between initial OS X release and first update:

• Mac OS X Lion 10.7: 27 days
(10.7 released on July 20, 2011. 10.7.1 was released on August 16, 2011)

• Mac OS X Snow Leopard: 13 days
(10.6 released on August 28, 2009. 10.6.1 was released on September 10, 2009)

• Mac OS X Leopard: 20 days
(10.5 was released on October 26, 2007. 10.5.1 was released on November 15, 2007)

• Mac OS X Tiger: 17 Days
(10.4 was released on April 29, 2005. 10.4.1 was released on May 16, 2005)

• Mac OS X Panther: 17 days
(10.3 was release on October 24, 2003. 10.3.1 was released on November 10, 2003)

• Mac OS X Jaguar: 25 days
(10.2 was released on August 24, 2002. 10.2.1 was released on September 18, 2002)

• Mac OS X Puma: 48 days
(10.1 was released on September 25, 2001. 10.1.1 was released on November 12, 2001)

• Mac OS X Cheetah: 21 days
(10.0 was released on March 24, 2001. 10.0.1 was released on April 14, 2001)

FYI: Mac OS X Public Beta, the predecessor to Mac OS X 10.0, was released on September 13, 2000.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


  1. Why do they allow such obvious deficiencies to pass through? Do they not bother to test crucial issues such as effect on battery life? It really gives a bad impression. Apple’s software team really needs to step up their QA. I’m really worried that Maps will be an absolute disaster upon release.

    If it easy enough to be fixed in a week or two, it should never have been released with the flaw.

    1. i had the same thought – the only excuse is that the millions of wildly different hardware/software configurations of users’ machines far outstrips any prognostication in the lab – still, bad press no doubt

    2. It appears that it in not widespread, this is corroborated by the fact that it also didn’t show up on any of thousands of developers machines no in this lab or beta test cycles.

      I’m sure it’s not only specific hardware but also likely only specific software. There was a major rewrite of the graphics and display systems (and api) including OpenGL.
      It’s likely a snafu with specific video configurations and specific applications.
      Now that they (apple) have it identified it shouldn’t be a major issue to correct whatever is causing it (and again this is apparently not on all systems, but it is difficult to get a feel for how widespread it is based on the news (and reply’s in in news blogs) because all the stupid trolls are posting made up stories about how this battery life was cut in half.

    3. @Bongo

      Obviously you’ve never worked in software test/QA.

      As Piccio said, the permutations of hardware/software are astronomical. Especially, as reported to Ars, it affects some but not others. Maybe a common third party app, outside of Apple’s control?

    4. Hyperbole much? Isolated issues are isolated. Have you seen windows? Apple is nothing if not responsive to bug fixes compared to any and all operating system vendors…

  2. Wow. So that means my battery life will now only last four hours instead of 5 to 6 hours? Oh the shame. I should get a Windows computer where my battery life will only be one hour maybe two hours. Ha ha ha!

    1. Hey,it’s just another plot to make Apple look bad. It’s probably Samsung starting rumors. Maybe Google. Oh, maybe it’s Microsoft. Jeez, the excuses never end. Quit it. You look like a dope. Nobodiy’s perfect. Apple is no exception.

  3. >Odd. Mountain Lion improved my battery life noticeably – like nearly another hour off a charge. MacBook Air 13″ mid-2011. .. I’m most pleased. <

    Me too.. same machine (a joy to use), same observations. And I'd add that everything happens (even) faster than before, while the machine runs (even) cooler than with Lion (hence less battery use).

    Same with the sister's 2012 13" MBPro. But there are lots of other HW-SW configurations out there and there's bound to be some problems, and undoubtedly room for SW-tuning for improvement on some of them.

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