avatarby Dan BartramDecember 3, 20161 comments

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Some users who have received their new MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar are claiming that battery life seems to be shorter than usual. In fact, some users are seeing battery life lasting as little as 3 hours on a single charge.

Apple claims 10 hours of battery life on a single charge for the new MacBook Pro, but users are seeing far less than the advertised life.

MacRumors forum member SRTM said:

Currently I’m powering a 1080p external monitor and casually browsing with Chrome. At full charge, I’m getting an estimate of 3 hours battery life. With gaming it’s even less.

MacRumors forum member Aioriya said:

I bought a maxed out 13-inch Touch Bar model and I’ve been using it for about a week. With light use, I’ve been consistently getting around 5-6.5 hours when mainly browsing. Apple claims 10 hours wireless web but my battery has never lasted this long.

It’s not only forums that are showing signs of users surprise of the lack of battery life. Reddit user Azr-79 yesterday claimed that his new base model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar achieved only 3 hours and 45 minutes of battery life on a single charge, despite what he described as “normal usage”, consisting of web browsing, watching YouTube videos, and software development.

In one particular instance, a user saw his battery drain from 10% to 5% in just 12 minutes. Google Chrome was the only app listed as using significant power in the battery settings, which although is a known battery hog, shouldn’t drain that quickly.

The claims seem to vary with users experiencing anywhere between 3 to 6 hours, but even so is a lot less than Apple advertised for the model that is supposed to see 10 hours of use.

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As with anything on the internet, you find the number of people complaining seem to have the exact same number of people that do not see a problem at all. A Reddit user for example said he was working on non-intensive tasks on his new MacBook Pro for 90 straight minutes but still had 92% battery life with an estimated 10 hours and 35 minutes of usage remaining.

I’ve been working non-stop for the past 1.5 hours, back and forth between emails, Safari, Calendar, Messages, organizing files, editing some PDFs in Adobe Acrobat DC, and building a financial model in Excel. I started at 100% and am now at 92% battery, with an estimated 10 hours 35 minutes remaining. If you’re not getting this kind of battery life on your MBP you should definitely get it checked out.

A lot of variables come into play when estimating battery life, and even more when establishing actual usage. Things like background processes and screen brightness, as well as background downloads all play a factor in using battery life, hence the huge difference in experiences. The official technical specification of the MacBook Pro says all new 13-inch and 15-inch models are capable of up to 10 hours of wireless web browsing, up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback, and up to 30 days of standby time on a single charge.

Apple explains how it performs its battery tests on its website:

The wireless web test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing 25 popular websites with display brightness set to 12 clicks from bottom or 75%. The iTunes movie playback test measures battery life by playing back HD 1080p content with display brightness set to 12 clicks from bottom or 75%. The standby test measures battery life by allowing a system, connected to a wireless network and signed in to an iCloud account, to enter standby mode with Safari and Mail applications launched and all system settings left at default.

Various reviews around the web average 9.5 hours suggesting Apple’s estimate of 10 hours is fairly accurate. Apple’s website also provides tips for maximizing battery life on the MacBook Pro. The latest macOS Sierra offers a lot of battery optimization so is worth updating to the latest model. There’s also various options that optimize Energy Saver settings in System Preferences, dimming the screen’s brightness to the lowest comfortable level, and turning off Wi-Fi while not connected to a network.

Have you experienced issues with shorter than expected battery life? Let us know in the comments below.

What’s Next?

New MacBook Pro orders begin to ship

Demand for MacBook Pro increasing supply orders

  • So Google writes really really bad software (Chrome) and doesn’t know what they are doing when it comes to coding and it is Apple’s fault?