Explaining the battery life problems with the new MacBook Pros

“Some users of Apple’s newest MacBook Pros aren’t happy with their battery life,” Andrew Cunningham reports for Ars Technica. “It does seem fairly common for users of the Touch Bar model in particular to see battery life that falls short of Apple’s 10-hour estimates for Web browsing and movie playback.”

“Apple called extra attention to the issue this week in the newest macOS Sierra update, not by fixing it but by removing the ‘time remaining’ estimate that some users had been sharing to demonstrate the battery problems they were having,” Cunningham reports. “The accuracy of that battery estimate aside—and it was always more useful as a ‘rate of battery drain’ indicator than as an actual time estimate — it looks like a superficial solution designed to solve a PR problem rather than an earnest effort to fix anything.”

“Apple told us repeatedly and emphatically that it had taken no specific steps to improve MacBook Pro battery life in this update. According to Apple’s data, the company said the batteries appeared to be performing as intended,” Cunningham reports. “Given the extra (and well-earned) attention, let’s break this battery situation down. How is Apple arriving at its battery life figures, and why might yours be falling short? If you’re coming from an older MacBook Pro, why might you be seeing lower battery life than before? But most importantly, what—if anything—can you try to do to fix it?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’d love to know how many of those reporting battery problems are those who do not use Safari, but use third-party web browsers instead.

SEE ALSO:
Users of Apple’s new MacBook Pro report improved battery life with macOS 10.12.2 – December 15, 2016
Apple ‘fixes’ MacBook Pro battery life issue by removing the ‘time remaining’ clock – December 14, 2016

19 Comments

  1. I can tell you that the most common battery hog on iOS is enabling background refreshing of apps- turn it off and watch your data use decline and your battery life grow. That and sync Safari via iCloud- your cache will grow into the GBs as all the stuff on all your devices will be cached on your local device.

    Maybe someone has a good app that logs activity by app. The biggest hog of them all among Apple apps for data is Safari- it is very aggressive in caching data and probably queries the websites for updates constantly.

    1. In macOS, Safari is a gluttonous RAM hog and is very active in the background grabbing around the Internet. There are a few things to do in Preferences that will decrease its processing:

      • Under the Search tab: UNcheck ‘Preload top hits in the background’.
      • Minimize the number of Extensions you’re running.
      • Under the Advanced tab: Check ON ‘Stop plug-ins to save power’.

      I also recommend testing out and seeing if you can tolerate using extensions that block Javascript, plug-ins and, ahem, marketing side loads into web pages. The amount of extraneous, *cough*, materials loading into web pages is beyond comprehension at many websites. For example, I’ve seen certain pages load over 250 cookies. If you can tolerate using tools that cut out OVER-loading of pages with cruft, you can save a lot of processing energy, making your battery happy. 😸

  2. For the prices Apple charges, you’d think they would have thought through all the big stuff. Does anyone at Apple think about user experience anymore? Jony forces just about every product to be thinner than the last iteration, so instead of pushing back in defense of useability, the engineers at Apple cowtowed to fashion stupidity and offered a laptop with worse battery life than the prior generation? WTF?

    While it would be nice for software and user controls to help alleviate the battery life limitations, the real problem at Apple is much more fundamental. The people who dictate key product attributes don’t actually use them. Styling of products and short term profit margin has become the only metrics that Apple leadership cares about. No wonder users are struggling to justify Apple’s latest designs. Too much coin for too little performance. Fix it Apple.

    1. …the real problem at Apple is much more fundamental. The people who dictate key product attributes don’t actually use them.

      That appears to significantly be the case. My current rag is the user-hostility of Apple’s Feedback Assistant system for beta-testers. People are volunteering their time to help Apple but get kicked around by utter nonsense and outright roadblocks when they attempt to report bugs. Clearly, Apple hasn’t bothered to use their own Feedback Assistant. That’s incredibly ridiculous and I’ve told Apple so, a few times now. (There are times when it’s worth being a pest).

      IOW: Yup!

  3. Just because one can twiddle their thumbs and type dosn’t mean they have a fsucking clue. The new MacBook pro is awesome and comparing apples to past apples, battery life is on par.

    1. So being no better than last year’s MacBooks is acceptable to you?

      Battery tech has improved since 2012. Mike is right, Apple took those advantages to make the MBP thinner rather than better. Other companies offer users the option of thin machines or thick workstation laptops with current CPUs and 32GB RAM etc. User gets the option. Apple doesn’t even compete at low or high end. It charges highest prices for a middling machine that in real world performance isn’t consistently better than what Apple made in 2012. And it’s not because the components aren’t available. It’s because Jony and the boys have no clue.

      What does Pro mean at Apple these days???????

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