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Apple Comments on Consumer Reports Testing of MacBook Pro Battery Life

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Apple has issued a statement to media outlets such as The Loop, to comment on MacBook Pro battery life testing by Consumer Reports, which turned out to be controversial.

As it turns out, Apple uncovered Consumer Reports was using a “hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache,” which does not “reflect real-world usage.” This setting caused inconsistent results—and when Apple asked Consumer Reports to re-run their tests with normal settings, battery life results were the same as expected and “consistently delivered”. Check out the full statement below:

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Consumer Reports over the holidays to understand their battery test results,” Apple said in a statement provided to The Loop.

“We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache. This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage. Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life. We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test. This is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made, we respect Consumer Reports and we’re glad they decided to revisit their findings on the MacBook Pro.”

Consumer Reports responded today (via TechCrunch) as well, to say once they did enable caching again in Safari, “the three MacBooks we’d originally tested had consistently high battery life results.” They also stated a software fix is coming from Apple and will be available to beta testers first, which is related to an icon fetching bug, and should improve battery life.

Initial testing by Consumer Reports saw battery life range widely on MacBook Pro models, from 4 to 19.5 hours, but now we know they were not using real-life settings. Apple’s Phil Schiller said at the time they were “working with CR to understand their battery tests.”

Regardless, my 13-inch MacBook Pro is getting about five hours of battery life. So while Consumer Reports may have not used real-life settings, I can tell you from my experience I’ve yet to go near six hours. What about your new MacBook Pro with or without Touch Bar? How’s the battery life?

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