Many users of Apple’s newest MacBook Pro models are not happy with the laptops’ battery life. It is fairly common now for users of the Touch Bar model in particular to see battery life that falls well short of Apple’s 10-hour estimates.
How is Apple arriving at its battery life figures, and why might many users be falling short? Why might users be seeing lower battery life than previous MacBook Pro models? Most importantly, what, if anything, can one do to try to fix it?
Keep in mind that these laptops are brand new, and many people have only had them for a couple of days or weeks. As Apple noted, those first days on battery can be particularly punishing, especially if you’ve got a lot of data on your drive or in iCloud. The entire setup process can certainly sap your battery quite quickly.
According to a report from Ars Technica, what users are using their laptops for now really makes a crucial difference in battery life. “That has always been the case,” reads the report, “but it’s different primarily because of three things: smaller batteries, a more power efficient screen, Intel’s recent CPU stagnation, and the 15-inch models’ mandatory dedicated GPU.” Basically, battery life is now more affected by different forms of use.
While many may think that the Touch Bar is a primary factor is battery issues, let’s put it into perspective. The Apple T1 SoC (which powers the Touch Bar) is a close relative to the one in the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Series 2 can last well over a day on a 1.03WHr battery, just a fraction of the 74.9 WHr to 49.2 WHr capacities of the Pro batteries. It has an impact, but it’ll be relatively minor compared to the rest of the system.
Some potential solutions to try until Apple addresses the issue more effectively include dimmer the brightness on the display, closing applications and tabs that you may not be using, using Safari instead of Chrome or Firefox, and using Activity Monitor’s energy tab. Of course, you could always go the nuclear option and return your MacBook Pro.
Gary’s experienced some less than impressive battery life, but after he updated to macOS 10.12.2, he saw a slight improvement, but not by a whole lot.
13” MBP TB battery life on macOS 10.12.2: 4 hours so far and 15% remaining. #slightimprovementbutbarely
— iPhone in Canada (@iPhoneinCanada) December 15, 2016
Hopefully Apple effectively addresses this issue soon, and until then, happy battery conserving!