Apple “Fixes” MacBook Pro Battery Life by Axing ‘Time Remaining’ Estimate

Yesterday’s macOS Sierra 10.12.2 update saw Apple quietly remove the ‘time remaining’ battery estimate in new 2016 MacBook Pro models, a move apparently to address battery life concerns.

According to Apple, in a statement to The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple:

Apple said the percentage is accurate, but because of the dynamic ways we use the computer, the time remaining indicator couldn’t accurately keep up with what users were doing. Everything we do on the MacBook affects battery life in different ways and not having an accurate indicator is confusing.

While Apple told Dalrymple they stand behind the 10 hour battery life of the new MacBook Pro, we cannot say the same. Our own battery life tests of our 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar have been less than stellar.

We’re seeing usage times of 4-5 hours and that’s not even pushing the computer to the limit, with just Safari and Chrome open, along with Messages, Twitter, Skype, Photos and iTunes, with brightness set at about 80 per cent. I recorded my own start and end times with battery life and did not come close to Apple’s claim of 10 hours.

This removal of ‘time remaining’ doesn’t address the issue at hand—battery life. Whether it was inaccurate or not, battery life in the 2016 MacBook Pro is still poor, compared to the performance of my MacBook Air when it was new in 2012. We’ll have to redo our battery life tests with the latest macOS 10.12.2 update.

How to bring back the ‘time remaining’ battery feature? There’s a way to still see how much battery life is remaining, by launching Activity Monitor on your Mac, then clicking the Energy tab. Next to the graphs at the bottom, you’ll see how much time is remaining on your battery charge.

How’s your 2016 MacBook Pro battery life so far?

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • geekyaleks

    Yeah, Apple be like – “kill the messenger”..

  • It’s Me

    Battery gauge is still there isn’t it? So, now you have to rely on the accurate gauge of how much battery charge is remaining instead of the estimated and inaccurate remaining time display.

  • Dehop

    It has always been a good indicator of how much life was remaining *on current load*. It was hugely useful for when I was working away from my charger. Today I was running low-energy stuff during a meeting so I had over 9 hours estimated; last week I was running a full virtual environment and software tools, and knew I had less than half an hour left when it dropped below 20%.

    This is a totally backwards “fix” that’s an admission they can’t fix the actual problem in a timely manner.

  • It’s Me

    Perhaps it was accurate, but in the end it’s still an accurate estimate, while the gauge is actual.

    They need to fix the problem, but they clearly felt that the estimated time remaining was putting too much of a spotlight on the actual problem, and in some cases exaggerating the appearance of the problem.

  • KS

    But isn’t this like banishing the entire grading system just because one fails to score better than “C-“?

  • MrXax

    Apple still seems to think that a smaller form factor is worth shit battery life.

  • It’s Me

    No it would be like removing an estimated KM from a car instrument panel but leaving the fuel gauge, especially if it was found that the estimated KM remaining was inaccurate. If that car additionally had reports of not achieving the manufacturers milage estimates (and that car also didn’t display a trip odometer to let you know how far you’ve travelled since last fillup) then it might make sense to removing an unnecessary and inaccurate indicator that made people think they were getting even less milage than they were.

  • KS

    The statement “If it was found that the estimated km remaining was inaccurate” is the key here, right? The new MBP’s battery percentage estimate was in line with the actual usage, but far from what Apple promises.

    As mentioned in the article, Gary himself recorded the start and end times with his battery life and did not come close to Apple’s claim of 10 hours.

    Rather than resolving the battery drain or retracting from their claim of 10 hours, they decide to not show you how many more hours will your laptop run if you keep on using it at the current rate – something which was never an issue for the previous models.

  • It’s Me

    I’d suggest that it’s two separate yet linked problems. One, they may not be living up to claimed hours. Two, the battery indicator was not as accurate as they wanted.

    Problem number two can also accentuate the appearance of problem number one, so I’m sure that played a part in the decision to eliminate it.

  • KS

    I agree.

    While there has been no evidence, if the “remaining time” estimate was indeed inaccurate, we should see a revised version of it return in subsequent macOS updates.

  • It’s Me

    Except that it is inaccurate by definition. It’s an estimate. It’s an estimate that attempts to rationalize the expected remaining battery time assuming current load and anything that can impact battery charge remained exactly the same for the amount of remaining charge.

    I’m no so sure we will see it return, though we might.

  • KS

    You are right. Battery percentage should suffice.

  • xxxJDxxx

    These new macbooks just keep getting worse and worse