Phil Schiller is Recommending First Time 2016 MacBook Pro Users Read This

There are mixed opinions right now on the battery life of Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro models with and without Touch Bar. Many users have been critical their battery life has been far short of Apple’s advertised 10 hours, with some tweeting Apple SVP Phil Schiller with their concerns.

Recently, Phil Schiller has been responding to tweets of poor MacBook Pro battery life (some are noting 3 hours out of the box), suggesting users read the following support document, particularly the section on “Setting up your Mac for the first time”.

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Here’s what it says:

When you set up your Mac for the first time, some activities—like setting up Mail and Photos, downloading your files from iCloud, and indexing your files with Spotlight—can use more power than your Mac requires in general use.

If you have a large amount of data to transfer over Wi-Fi, it might take a few days for your Mac to finish its setup process. It’s best to keep your computer connected to a power source during this time. Once setup is complete, the battery life will begin to reflect the regular activities you perform on your Mac.

Essentially, one culprit of sapping your battery life is iCloud, which would be downloading files such as images to Photos and emails to Mail, while Spotlight’s indexing process will also “use more power than your Mac requires in general use.”

Apple suggests keeping your MacBook Pro plugged in for “a few days” if you have large amounts of data to transfer over Wi-Fi.

It makes sense, but even with our 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar having complete its iCloud downloads and Spotlight indexing, our battery life is still at or below five hours of usage, with the latest macOS Sierra 10.12.2 update, far below Apple’s advertised 10 hours.

Schiller has also asked users to private message him so his team could help “investigate” 2016 MacBook Pro battery issues.

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Consumer Reports recently released their report on MacBook Pro battery life, saying it was “very inconsistent”. Apple is currently working with Consumer Reports to “understand their battery tests.” In a recent inquiry by 9to5Mac, the consumer testing group said it doesn’t believe re-running tests “are warranted for several reasons.”

How’s your battery life on your MacBook Pro with Touch Bar?

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  • bspence88

    Mine now ha regular battery life of around 9-10 hours. At first I was barely getting 4-5 hours. It took 3 charge cycles before I started getting normal battery life.

  • Person McPersonson

    Nothing to do with charge cycles. As the article said, by the time you got through the charge cycles, the indexing, downloading/uploading finished.

  • Brad Fortin

    I don’t think he’s mentioning the cycles as the method, just as the time frame.

  • bspence88

    Exactly. That’s when my battery started acting normal.

  • Salinger

    If that’s the only cause of the battery issues, then why is this the only MBP that is experiencing it? Surely, if I buy the previous model, it’s going to go through all the same setup, downloads and everything else the new 2016 model is going through. Yet, we’ve never heard complaints about any other model but this one. Just more smoke and mirrors from Phil to try and take away from what is an obvious issue.

  • MleB1

    “You’re using it wrong”
    Expectations that a user might have that the technology that Apple builds into the OS won’t actually cause problems for the device in the first place are unfounded. Great.

    Perhaps initial setup boot instruction screens should stipulate –

    – Please leave computer plugged in to power for the first week. While we appreciate that this is counter-intuitive for a device meant to be a portable, mobile computer, this is to allow the battery to a attain a full charge and for all background activities to properly format using that power. The battery of your new computer is only intended to run applications that are fully installed, properly formatted and indexed. This is a feature of your new, slim, MacBook Pro.

    – Now install all applications and user files (Documents, Photos, Videos, Accounts) via a hardwired connection to a backup / Time Machine drive or the internet. Do not use wi-fi or bluetooth connections as that can adversely affect the initial charging cycle of your battery. This will require a USB-C hub and adapters for both power and ethernet (not included) – some of which are available at the Apple Store.

    – Access to setting up your iCloud account on your new computer will be granted after the initial week of charging, and, for the setup and first sync, will also require the Mac to be plugged in. Thereafter, iCloud sync may happen when on battery only, but will require user input to activate. This is another battery-saving feature…