Apple limits 2016 MacBook Pro models to 16GB of RAM to maximize battery life

“Despite featuring more energy efficient Skylake processors, faster SSDs, better GPUs, and new thermal architecture, Apple’s revamped MacBook Pros continue to max out at 16GB RAM,” Juli Clover reports for MacRumors.

“Many customers have been wondering why Apple didn’t bump up the maximum RAM to 32GB, including MacRumors reader David, who emailed Apple to ask and got an explanation from marketing chief Phil Schiller,” Clover reports. “According to Schiller, more than 16GB RAM would consume too much power and have a negative impact on battery life.”

To put more than 16GB of fast RAM into a notebook design at this time would require a memory system that consumes much more power and wouldn’t be efficient enough for a notebook – Phi Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Would have been a cool feature to allow 32GB RAM onboard, but let the user to allocate a lower amount of it while running off battery. Maybe next time?

The key mission of Apple’s new MacBook Pros – October 28, 2016
TIME Magazine: Apple’s new MacBook Pro Touch Bar is an inventive new way to get work done more quickly – October 28, 2016
Apple does touch right and, as usual, Microsoft does it wrong – October 28, 2016
IBT: Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar is the coolest thing ever; will change the way we use laptops – October 28, 2016
Wired hands on with Apple’s New MacBook Pro: It’s a whole new kind of laptop – October 27, 2016
CNET on the new MacBook Pro: Apple’s amazing strip show reinvents the notebook – October 27, 2016
Hands on with Apple’s new MacBook Pro: Looks and feels so good it’s unreal – October 27, 2016
Apple debuts three new TV ads for all-new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – October 27, 2016
Apple unveils groundbreaking new MacBook Pro with revolutionary Touch Bar and huge Force Touch trackpad – October 27, 2016


  1. children go to your rooms, stop whining, thank goodness you are not in charge of production at Apple, these are fine leading edge machines which will substantially increase productivity to the vast majority of users including you so-called pros, except the whiners and haters of course.

      1. It depends on which profession, Peter. I admire your passion but you can’t speak for all of us or dismiss our stories, as you have been doing for a while now, as if the “Pro” market were monolithic. Even if your assertions are all correct, it hurts to feel marginalised. Perhaps I wouldn’t feel so wounded if I had forsaken science and management, and sold out to Hollywood instead.

        1. With all due respect most professions seem to have been addressed with the pro area the most grievously left behind. All we’re asking for is the kind of gear in Mac OS form that our own professions require. I don’t believe I’ve ever put down other’s needs though there have been quite a few trying to marginalize pro needs as not important, but usually just to THEM. The reality is not the greatest empathy is shown pro needs. I see nothing wrong in asking Apple to be aware of all it’s market’s various needs. I don’t think it would complicate product offerings all that much by doing so.

          Working in Hollywood is not a “sell out,” it’s a choice. In my case a wonderful choice.

          At any rate you have no reason to feel marginalized or hurt since it appears your needs are being met. Walk a mile in our shoes.

          1. At least you didn’t say “red-headed” step child. 😅 I’m red-headed, left-handed, and wall-eyed

            I don’t disagree with most of the criticisms of Apple’s neglect of the pro market. I’ve had words with Tim Cook myself over the matter. I only bristle when users go too far and denigrate the cylinder as a monstrosity, something only a not-a-real-pro would buy. At trade shows I’ve had to face down attendees who started up the same insulting diatribe. Apple form over function, blah blah blah. Well I am retired now and am through with all of it. Instead I’ll go riding. The horse likes me and I like the horse. Life is better.

            1. My sister is a redhead, so I am sensitive to your point.

              Sorry, I disagree you regarding Apple cares more about form over function.

              In the early years, Apple ruled BOTH.

              Today, pfffttt …

              If you know and talk to Cook, please consider steering him back to the APPLE CORE business — MACS.

              Dance with the one that bring ya.

              Yes, the core now is smaller than the rest of the Apple profit wise, but they can do it all given their resources.

              Enjoy your fall horse ride … 🌞

            2. You know I respect your opinion, and your instincts in these matters are generally good. Simply, Cook has a fiduciary responsibility that he is faithfully carrying out, even at the cost of alienating some of us who do appreciate industrial design but require higher performance standards than 90% of his customers. A dizzying balance of economic tradeoffs and strained partnerships led to compromised design and production decisions that have made professionals indignant.

              Cook is quintessentially Steve Jobs 2.0, taking a hard line and saying No to a great many things, amongst them lately the preferred tools of the creative. Personally, I hated Apple much earlier for deep-sixing their server products. Then they dropped “Computer” to become just “Apple, Inc.” And worst of all, I remember Jobs proudly remarking at a keynote that Apple had become a mobile device company—I distinctly remember experiencing that sinking feeling, the same feeling you get when your lover sits you down and tells you, “I don’t want to hurt you, but…” It is a bleak feeling, one of almost literal abandonment.

            3. I respect your wordsmith skills, as well. 🤗

              Professionals and creatives like myself are indignant because we are not provided the best tools any longer. We are marginalized and forgotten after all these years.

              Again, why can’t they do it all?

              Certainly not lack of money.

              Certainly not lack of talent.

              Certainly not lack of manufacturing prowess.

              Even if we are only 10% of their business, so what?

              Make badass machines to order so as not to overdue inventory. Charge a premium price as long as it blows out the competition.

              I understand what you are saying about fiduciary duty, dropping Apple name and Steve concentrating on device consumption.

              But it is of little comfort to an old pro of decades devotion withering on the vine …

              I predict more discord and divorce like a jilted lover. 😡

  2. If you are making a “Pro” product, then give it “pro” capabilities. People like me, who rarely unplug from the wall, would like the 32GB. Battery life is of little importance to me. Very little.

    I believe this is a symptom of Apple becoming a mobile company. Last year, when Tim Cook was discussing the iPad, he said, “Why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?” The fact he asked this Gates-like question is horrifying. He truly cannot comprehend why someone wants something other than an iPad. I imagine Steve rolled over a few times when this happened.

    The day he made that statement was the day I realized the Apple of Jobs no longer exists. This Apple does not want traditional desktop or laptop users like myself.

    I have owned Apple stock for about fifteen years. I have used Macs exclusively since 1988. I own an iPhone I rarely use and I have never owned an iPad. I want a machine with a significant screen and a keyboard. I have a feeling Apple will be out of that business entirely within the next few years.

    I have never owned a non-Mac PC nor have I ever purchased a Microsoft product. I really, really hope Apple does not force me in that direction.

    1. Tim Cook has lost credibility. He doesn’t have the clarity and depth of understanding that Steve Jobs had. And as a result, Apple becomes just another company out there, losing its edge. It’s sad to see happening.

    2. Well stated. This is the first time I feel like Apple is losing its way a bit under Tim Cook. This is a hobbled machine – limited RAM, average video card. The MBP used to be the undisputed machine to buy for performance and reliability. After a four year wait, we get a touch bar and a minor spec update. I cannot even connect my iPhone without a dongle or ordering a cable. I just can’t imagine that would pass the muster with Steve.

    3. It’s not just Cook, it’s Ive. He’s out of control, and Tim isn’t doing his job reeling him in. There’s no reason to make a pro machine thinner than the 2012 unibody MBP. Go back to that form factor or even a bit thicker, and give us the option for 64GB upgradeable RAM, 4TB SSD and a hard drive, and high end video. Put the touch bar above the function keys, not instead of them.

      Thin is stupid.

      And while you’re at it, give us a real Mac Pro. The trash can is an abomination.

      1. Right on Victor, right on. Ives, while having done some great work, has ruined some Macs, I think. I’ve gotten sick of all this design mess. I’m probably not even considered a true pro user, but I use my Macs for real work, daggnabbedit. I loathe Windows, cannot buy it, tried Linux (whew, no), and love macOS (or, OS X), so I am stuck. Actually for me it’s always been the system more than anything else with Apple. Now, they stick us faithful Mac buyers with these Macs. Even the only reason I use iPhone is iOS, screens break so easily I’d buy any other phone if the OS was good. Stuck boys. We’re stuck.

      2. I don’t see how the decision to not give Pro customers the biggest baddest specs is Ive, especially regarding this memory-battery issue. Someone came up with some Prosumer specs and Ive hit it.

        1. I’m sorry Jony Ive but I imagine you just don’t need more than 16 GB of memory to create your designs – So to you people who uses more memory are just overdesigning?

          1. Good point, if Ive’s design had anything to do with how much memory was at the top of the BTO scale. Just not seeing it. It is indeed a mistake, but by the beancounters creating this Prosumer lineup.

      3. Those Jony Ive “dramatic close-up videos” of new or updated products are becoming jokes. And making Apple the company a joke.

        This coming from an Apple fanboy who’s becoming disgusted with Apple.

  3. So now it’s form over function? Great. Why not just make the laptop a bit thicker so you can have a bigger battery? Who cares how much it weighs?

    This update has finally convinced me that my next Mac will be a hackintosh and if they do something to mess up / prevent that then I’ll be forced to run Windows again.

      1. I would rather just have it work right out of the box from Apple but a PC or Hackintosh workstation may be in my near future too. I know that firms like Puget Sound Computers wanted to make a Mac workstation but of course Apple stopped them. Unless Apple’s sell not to you they don’t want you to have it, but then don’t offer it the way you want it. It sucks!

    1. That’s exactly what I’m doing. I’ve had it with Apple.

      I can’t believe how much the top-end MacBook Pro 15″ is now – over $4200! WTF Apple! In light of this new development with Apple, I’ve decided I’m going to build a Hackintosh to build a powerful desktop computer that can run Windows 10 Pro and macOS 10.12 Sierra. I want a NVIDIA GTX 1080 video card. I want a SSD for the Windows side and one for the Mac side. I want a 10 TB HDD for data storage on the Windows side and the same for the Mac side. Apple cannot offer me what I need in a desktop computer. So, it’s bye-bye to Apple’s hardware.

      For mobile use I’m going to buy a good Windows 10 Pro notebook. My MacBook Pro (mid-2012) is getting a little long-in-the-tooth. :/ The DELL XPS 13″ is quite nice. Checked one out at Costco the other day. makes building a Hackintosh with ZERO HACKED DRIVERS possible.

      I love my iPhone 7 (256 GB, black) that I got for myself and also for my wife. Love my iPad Pro (12.9″) too. BUT, I cannot do what I want to do on a desktop Mac with the iPad Pro or iPhone. Apple does not seem to get this at all.

      Personally, I think Apple should let PC manufacturers make desktop PCs that can run macOS out of the box. They don’t want to make the desktop Mac we power users need, so it’s a legitimate argument for sure.

      1. I feel you. Not wanting to run Windows but my next notebook might be a solid hackintosh configuration instead of a new MBP. Contact me if you start moving forward, would be interested to know how you progress.

    2. Another classic case for offering choice. Provide the ability to add more memory if someone chooses. Jony or whoever it is these days shouldn’t be the decision-maker for everyone

  4. The new MacBook Pro is what the MacBook Air should have become. IMO this is not worthy of the Pro monicker. Lazy and incompetent management of a line of products that made Apple.

  5. It’s just disappointing. I get the touch bar – could make some nice workflow changes. But seriously, why are we making these Pro laptops thinner instead of better? 32gb ram should have been a no brainier option. Battery life would not have been an issue if they kept the same thickness. And what’s with the pricing???? Not sure about the US but in Australia this thing is the price of a decent 2nd hand car!

  6. I’m really pissed right now! Do you realize how much cheese I had to eat to catch up with ALL THAT WHINE? I’m just trying to decide if I need the new MBPro… or just wait for the new Apple chipset next year. This stuff really does drive me crazy, but it doesn’t matter, because APPLE RULES, so shutup, all ya O’Doole’s (as they go off the cliff).

    1. When you no longer can afford to buy Apple’s hardware, because it’s so damned expensive now, it’s time to say “bye-bye.” :/

      You may think this is a joke, but if professional users can’t get the hardware they require for software development, photography, video editing, music, etc., what is one supposed to do? Where is all that content going to come from for the iPad and iPhone? Apple has pushed these users into building Hackintosh computers.

  7. I never thought I’d say this but maybe it’s time for Apple to stop making desktop and laptop computers and licence the work to a third party.

    It just appears that Apple is half hearted in the output of these machines. If this is the case (and I think it is) then just let somebody else produce the models that we want and need and have it loaded with the latest version of macOS.

    Just for the record, I’ve been a loyal Apple user since 1992 when I did the reverse of many computers users and migrated from Windows 3.1 to Macs. However what I’ve seen lately is really trying my patience and loyalty. it just seems that if you’re a iOS user then you count for much more than being a macOS person.

  8. Bottom line, if Apple wants the Mac to be the best laptop, desktop, or workstation in the world, they aren’t doing the right thing.

    They have all the pieces but aren’t executing correctly.
    Just one example: where is the iMac with tb3? What about a touch bar wired keyboard? Stick T1 and, say an A7 in that sucker to handle the I/O and let her rip.

    The Mac is a 20 billion dollar business inside a 200 billion dollar company. It doesn’t matter. That’s the message received by this loyal Apple customer. It’s Cook’s job to re-educate me.

    1. I don’t think re-education is in order, you have the RIGHT picture and you’re hearing what they’re saying loud and clear. The Mac is small potatoes, we’re moving to a PostPC world and the most valuable Mac spec right now is likely “Can you create iOS apps with it?”. If that’s what you want to do, they have a computer for you. If it’s not, then start looking at other options so that when the line IS cut, you’re prepared.

      1. Wrong Again is appropriate.

        So you are saying Pro users like myself from the 1980s are thrown under the bus and breathlessly waiting for iOS to take over Pro work computers?

        And just then, I woke up. 🇺🇸🔫😎

  9. reading through the forums lots of people have said the new MBP would be wonderful for everything, driving a bunch of high res monitors, doing high end graphics etc.

    I don’t really know the benchmarks of the new MBP in video performance but a January test by bare feats on various Macs including the previous model retina MBP is illuminating.
    (I have an older MBP and a couple of upgraded Cheese Grater Mac Pros so I’m not dissing MBPs) but here are the SCORES:

    in GPU intensive game (. I understand most games don’t need super fast fps, there’s a limit but this is just an INDICATION of GPU power ):

    Six year old Cheese Grater MP with upgraded card : 181 fps
    iMac 5k : 75 fps
    Cylinder Mac Pro D700 : 73 fps


    (reading that does anybody wonder why so many Pros still want a Mac Pro vs a MBP? for high end work or drive multiple monitors?) like I said maybe the new MBP is super fast but I expect the NEW desktop video cards will still trash it significantly.

  10. Davewrite.
    AMD 460M top TS-MBP = 73 fps (like the current top Retina iMac)
    Nvidia’s 1080M = 3X better (that would be over 200 fps based on other web reviews).

    I give Apple the credit they don’t want to create a design for a broad audience based just on a top performance GPU, but I also question Apple’s price on the new models and their “Pro” name. These new MBP are at best entry level profesional machines. Limited 16 GB of RAM and medium-entry level commercial GPUs.

    May Apple want you to believe their demonstration on specific software is a representation of high performance software? Its not. We may be all professionals (no offense) but it doesn’t mean we all use or need true top professional hardware.

    1. I agree that many pros don’t need the top power of a Mac Pro as there are many types of pros .

      problem is that those that DO need the GPU/processor/RAM power there is NO current good Mac OPTION, unless you want to Hackintosh something.

      (people should also note that the fastest tests numbers I showed are for a SiX YEAR old Cheese grater with ancient subsystems, old RAM etc. A PC with current fast subsystem, processors and large amounts of RAM will have even BIGGER all round differences).

      (my original post above was in answer to so many people who love the MBP and naively say NOBDOY needs anything more. Three times GPU performance is a serious gap )

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.