MacBook Pro Users Express Concerns About Limited Battery Life
A subset of users who purchased a new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar claim to be experiencing shorter than expected battery life.
In particular, some users claim to be getting as little as 3 to 6 hours of battery life on a single charge, or between 30% and 60% of the up to 10 hours advertised.
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.
Reddit user Azr-79 yesterday claimed his new base model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar received only 3 hours and 45 minutes of battery life on a single charge, despite what he described as "normal usage" in the form of web browsing, watching YouTube videos, and software development.
MacRumors forum member Scott claimed he experienced a 5 percentage point drop in battery life, from 10% to 5%, in just 12 minutes. Google Chrome, a known battery hog, was listed as the only app drawing significant power. The discussion topic he posted in and others are littered with similar claims of sizeable percentage drops in mere minutes.
Conversely, some users report battery life exactly in line with Apple's advertised figures. Reddit user Andrew J., for example, said he was working on non-intensive tasks on his new MacBook Pro for 90 straight minutes, and 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.
Estimates unsurprisingly vary widely based on screen brightness, background processes, and other factors, so user reports are only anecdotal evidence and your mileage may vary. It is also important to note battery life could be initially reduced until Spotlight finishes indexing your new MacBook Pro.
Battery life complaints are nothing new following the launch of a new Apple product. However, some users speculate battery life could be impacted by the new MacBook Pro switching from more efficient integrated Intel graphics to the power-hungrier dedicated AMD Radeon Pro GPU for unnecessary tasks.
Once again, however, there are always claims to suggest otherwise. Reddit user Lebron Hubbard claims he received 5 hours and 48 minutes of battery life on his high-end built-to-order 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar when forcing only the dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 460 graphics to run using gfxCardStatus:
Even though the dGPU rarely kicks in for day to day stuff, the Radeon Pro 460 seems really efficient for small tasks. 5:48 is nothing to scoff at for dGPU only, and it runs very cool and quiet.
Apple's built-in Activity Monitor and third-party app coconutBattery are useful tools for tracking system processes and detailed battery information.
Apple officially says the new MacBook Pro is rated for up to 10 hours of battery life. Specifically, its tech specs page 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.
TechCrunch placed battery life at 9 hours and 35 minutes for the 13-inch model. Mashable said 10 hours is a fair estimate overall. The Wall Street Journal got 9.5 hours on the 13-inch model. Engadget gauged between 9 and 10 hours of video playback on the 15-inch model. Nilay Patel got 5.5 hours on the 13" in real-world use.
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.
Apple's website also provides tips for maximizing battery life on the MacBook Pro, including updating to the latest version of macOS, optimizing 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.
Additional battery optimization advice provided by users includes performing a fresh install of macOS Sierra and resetting the SMC.