Apple not finding any material battery problems in MacBook Pro, prunes time indicator in 10.12.2

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
The latest macOS 10.12.2 Sierra update has eradicated the inaccurate "time remaining" battery indicator as part of its investigation about the 2016 MacBook Pro battery life situation, leaving users with just the far more accurate percent charge figure, as reported directly by the battery and the charging circuitry.




As a result of the change in Tuesday's macOS Sierra 10.12.2 update, the battery reporting now mirrors that of iOS, with the user not being given a real-time estimate. AppleInsider has learned that the removal is in part because of the complaints of short battery life with the MacBook Pro -- but not as a way to hide the problem.

The "time remaining" was an estimate based on user patterns how long the battery would continue to provide a charge to the user, one that becomes more accurate with use. A large amount of attention has been drawn in recent days to short battery life in the 2016 MacBook Pro refresh, which may be attributable to users reporting this figure, and not actual life in some cases.

"It takes like a month of use for the battery life indicator in macOS, or Windows for that matter, to give a good time," a source within Apple told us. "The percent measure that the user sees is gleaned from the battery circuitry examining battery output, plus capacity, and reporting to the OS what's left. Totally accurate, and way better with the new processor."

The same source told us that so far, Apple isn't seeing a wide-spread material or software problem, causing excess drain on the batteries in the new MacBook Pro line, but the work isn't yet done.

"We look at all the reports that come through the Genius Bar and AppleCare," we were told by Apple. "If you think you've got a problem, make an appointment or call and tell us."

But the feature can be re-implemented, with developers' help

The feature can be re-implemented with select third-party apps, such as the free CoconutBattery, or Bjango's iStatMenus ($18).
sockrolid

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    A relative had an MRI scan which can be intimidating and noisy. She kept pressing the alarm button but the radiographer explained afterwards that they had to disconnect the button because everyone was pressing it... Seems like a similar situation here..?? ;-)
    sockrolidration altokyojimu
  • Reply 2 of 19
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,076member
    People will claim Apple is "hiding" battery life because it is so poor, etc. Reasonable people understand that this estimate has always been extremely unreliable and misleading, through no fault of Apple. It is impossible to give any meaningful estimate of remaining time, simply because the estimate is extrapolated based on what is being done at the moment, which can fluctuate greatly. Short of reading your mind to figure out what you're gonna do next, this estimate will never be accurate, which is why I never look at it. iOS devices don't have that estimate, and that's never bothered anyone.
    edited December 2016 macxpressmagman1979jay-tsockrolidMetriacanthosauruspscooter63StrangeDaysfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,680member
    So no, I don't think this is Apple's fix to 2016 MacBook Pro battery life complaints. They're simply seeing the time left isn't accurate so they're removing it as to not make users think it only has X amount of time left when it may actually have more. Of course MacRumors is going nuts over this thinking Apple is just fixing the issue by removing the feature. Of course they aren't! Don't be stupid!
    magman1979fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,431member
    macxpress said:
    So no, I don't think this is Apple's fix to 2016 MacBook Pro battery life complaints. They're simply seeing the time left isn't accurate so they're removing it as to not make users think it only has X amount of time left when it may actually have more. Of course MacRumors is going nuts over this thinking Apple is just fixing the issue by removing the feature. Of course they aren't! Don't be stupid!
    My HP 820 does the same. Time remaining is useless. Mind you, it's battery life is usually less than the indicator says FWIW.
    sockrolidration alwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 132member
    slurpy said:
    People will claim Apple is "hiding" battery life because it is so poor, etc. Reasonable people understand that this estimate has always been extremely unreliable and misleading, through no fault of Apple. It is impossible to give any meaningful estimate of remaining time, simply because the estimate is extrapolated based on what is being done at the moment, which can fluctuate greatly. Short of reading your mind to figure out what you're gonna do next, this estimate will never be accurate, which is why I never look at it. iOS devices don't have that estimate, and that's never bothered anyone.
    I have intricate knowledge of Mac hardware internals, the OS X kernel and drivers and the layers above in the various OS X frameworks. For sure there's a battery drain issue in the new MBP... I certainly don't know what it is, but the best guess is gfx... hoping they sort it out.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 6 of 19
    aknabi said:
    slurpy said:
    People will claim Apple is "hiding" battery life because it is so poor, etc. Reasonable people understand that this estimate has always been extremely unreliable and misleading, through no fault of Apple. It is impossible to give any meaningful estimate of remaining time, simply because the estimate is extrapolated based on what is being done at the moment, which can fluctuate greatly. Short of reading your mind to figure out what you're gonna do next, this estimate will never be accurate, which is why I never look at it. iOS devices don't have that estimate, and that's never bothered anyone.
    I have intricate knowledge of Mac hardware internals, the OS X kernel and drivers and the layers above in the various OS X frameworks. For sure there's a battery drain issue in the new MBP... I certainly don't know what it is, but the best guess is gfx... hoping they sort it out.
    So do alot of us.  Why do you say you know for sure there is a battery drain issue?  You left that part out....
    jay-tmacxpress
  • Reply 7 of 19
    Apple is hiding battery life issues!!! There I said it. Do I believe it,? Partially. 
    What I do know about the new macbookpro. 
    Reports of: wifi dropping out when USB connects
    trackpad issues
    graphics issues
    battery issues
    usb port speed issues
    touchbar issues
    not to mention all the other previos features missing or not updated.
    16GB ram limit 
    CPU not the latest.

    right, so I'm going to wait for the AMD version of the MacBook Pro.  



  • Reply 8 of 19
    digitol said:
    Apple is hiding battery life issues!!! There I said it. Do I believe it,? Partially. 
    What I do know about the new macbookpro. 
    Reports of: wifi dropping out when USB connects
    trackpad issues
    graphics issues
    battery issues
    usb port speed issues
    touchbar issues
    not to mention all the other previos features missing or not updated.
    16GB ram limit 
    CPU not the latest.

    right, so I'm going to wait for the AMD version of the MacBook Pro.  



    Nope.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    digitol said:
    Apple is hiding battery life issues!!! There I said it. Do I believe it,? Partially. 
    What I do know about the new macbookpro. 
    Reports of: wifi dropping out when USB connects
    trackpad issues
    graphics issues
    battery issues
    usb port speed issues
    touchbar issues
    not to mention all the other previos features missing or not updated.
    16GB ram limit 
    CPU not the latest.

    right, so I'm going to wait for the AMD version of the MacBook Pro.  



    15" MBP owner here. I have none of those issues.... at all. Best laptop Ive had to date, and I've had them all. I get anywhere from 6-9hrs on the battery depending on what I am doing on average. You can still see the time remaining estimate and time on battery in activity monitor > energy btw. Using right now as an example, I have 3:13 on battery with estimated 4:53 remaining. Thats running several apps, browsing, and VPN with RDP to work going as well. Also for the record, 10.12.2 fixes 'a lot' of the new MBP issues. As a developer Ive had the .2 betas since day one on my new rig so I was able to avoid some of the pesky bugs some have reported.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    A time estimate is useful to have in order to configure the machine to last longer. If the estimate is showing 5 hours left and that's not long enough to get through the day, the display brightness can be lowered, external drives disconnected, heavy apps closed down etc in order that power isn't wasted going forward and the estimate would then adjust to let you know it will be maybe 8 hours on the lower settings. The time itself isn't as important as the fact that the battery drain has been lowered. The time can fluctuate if the activity changes but again, users would have some kind of estimate to weigh against real world time.

    The new MBPs have smaller batteries than the last ones (76Wh vs 99.5Wh = 25% smaller for 15" and 49Wh vs 75Wh = 35% smaller for 13") so it would be expected to last a shorter time if both machines draw the same power. There's a test here where the 2015 model lasted 21% longer with Youtube playback:

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/12/02/watch-apples-2016-macbook-pro-with-touch-bar-vs-2015-macbook-pro

    When they tested 4K rendering, the new one lasted 40% longer. The new hardware has better performance-per-watt and the chips sometimes have improved media support for modern video formats.

    The percentage estimate is fine for seeing how much battery is left but it's harder to see the depletion rate. The activity monitor has a battery graph so people can see some kind of depletion rate but it would be better to have another graph that reset at full charge and ignored periods on charge and a couple of numbers on the bottom axis:


    This depletion graph could be extrapolated using the entire activity period from when it was fully charged ignoring minor large fluctuations to give a more reliable estimate. If the user suddenly starts doing something intensive, the graph would show a steeper drop. This way, it's clearer to see where the estimate is coming from and also which activities have been causing the biggest battery drain. The graph can have 5 minute segments and remember the 5 heaviest causes per segment (apps, display, peripherals) so when the mouse goes over it, the user can see what caused the drain.

    Even having an indicator like memory pressure or the CPU bar would help as it can indicate when activities are causing heavy battery drain. If someone sees an indicator that is red showing that what they are doing at the time is draining their battery, they can click it to see if it's the display being too bright, a browser in the background or some process that has hung up and they can deal with it. If they keep the indicator in the green most of the time, the battery should be ok and if they get any unexpected low battery life, the graph mentioned above would let them see what happened.

    The middle part of the battery indicator could perhaps just turn a shade of red or grey of the battery is being drained quickly and would be normal otherwise.
    tokyojimujSnivelyanantksundaram
  • Reply 11 of 19
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,571member
    Been getting between 6 and 9 hours daily since getting my 15" 2.7Ghz Pro 460 model.  Running the usual office apps, email and VMware fusion for windows 10.  Finding that Im getting longer life than I was on my 2012 non retina 15" which this replaced.  Im loving this thing, super fast and rock solid, not to mention WAY more cooler than the 2012 model, especially when gaming.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    So a bit over a decade later they discover its best to remove the "time estimate", the fact that the new released product is receiving flak for poor battery life is just a unfortunate coincidence. </sarcasm>

    While apple is sure to crank out ridiculous profits in the short term, they are really pulling out all stops to get rid of their pro user base.

    While the time estimate is just a nice to have and its still available in the activity monitor, removing it at this point in time just seems like an admission that they fucked up and are sweeping under the rug on one of the many flaws of this new overpriced machine.
    edited December 2016 tokyojimu
  • Reply 13 of 19
    So a bit over a decade later they discover its best to remove the "time estimate", the fact that the new released product is receiving flak for poor battery life is just a unfortunate coincidence. </sarcasm>

    While apple is sure to crank out ridiculous profits in the short term, they are really pulling out all stops to get rid of their pro user base.

    While the time estimate is just a nice to have and its still available in the activity monitor, removing it at this point in time just seems like an admission that they fucked up and are sweeping under the rug on one of the many flaws of this new overpriced machine.

    Pretty sure the main problems here are that lots of users now have a dGPU as they're more prevalent in these models and aren't used to active switching between the two, which makes a HUGE difference, and I'm guessing Intel's chip optimizations also fluctuate in power usage a lot between lower level use and turbo boosts.

    That, and there's speculation a lot of these users are reporting their battery times while their systems are still getting optimized, i.e. Spotlight is running, libraries are syncing for the first time, Disk Optimization settings are uploading their Documents/Desktop folders, etc.

    If nothing else, this forces users to actually measure real world battery times as oppose to glancing at the system's way-off estimates and muddying the issue.
    edited December 2016 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    So a bit over a decade later they discover its best to remove the "time estimate", the fact that the new released product is receiving flak for poor battery life is just a unfortunate coincidence. </sarcasm>

    While apple is sure to crank out ridiculous profits in the short term, they are really pulling out all stops to get rid of their pro user base.

    While the time estimate is just a nice to have and its still available in the activity monitor, removing it at this point in time just seems like an admission that they fucked up and are sweeping under the rug on one of the many flaws of this new overpriced machine.

    Pretty sure the main problems here are that lots of users now have a dGPU as they're more prevalent in these models and aren't used to active switching between the two, which makes a HUGE difference, and I'm guessing Intel's chip optimizations also fluctuate in power usage a lot between lower level use and turbo boosts.

    That, and there's speculation a lot of these users are reporting their battery times while their systems are still getting optimized, i.e. Spotlight is running, libraries are syncing for the first time, Disk Optimization settings are uploading their Documents/Desktop folders, etc.

    If nothing else, this forces users to actually measure real world battery times as oppose to glancing at the system's way-off estimates and muddying the issue.
    Reposting from what I wrote in the AI article about the release of the OS update...

    There is most certainly a software issue in Sierra which is at least contributing to the battery drain. Want proof? Perform the following....Reboot your computer so you are starting with a clean slate. Open Activity Monitor and go to the Energy tab to confirm that no application is using the discreet GPU. Open Text Edit. Again, confirm that nothing is using the discreet GPU. Now in Text Edit go to Format > Font > Show Colors.

    Now explain why Text Edit is suddenly using the high-performance GPU (and thus causing a higher energy drain).

    Another example is launching Quicken 2007. In no previous OS did it cause the discrete graphics chip to be used. In Sierra it does.

    Something in Sierra appears to be causing the discreet graphics chip to engage far more frequently and for entirely unnecessary reasons. Neither Text Edit or Quicken should ever even remotely require the discreet GPU...and the didn't need it in previous OSes.

    fastasleep
  • Reply 15 of 19
    wiggin said:

    Something in Sierra appears to be causing the discreet graphics chip to engage far more frequently and for entirely unnecessary reasons. Neither Text Edit or Quicken should ever even remotely require the discreet GPU...and the didn't need it in previous OSes.

    I've been using gfxCardStatus (https://gfx.io) ever since I started having GPU issues with my 2011 years ago. It adds a simple menubar item and makes it slightly easier to check a) whether your dGPU is active and b) what's triggering it. I'm not on Sierra yet but in previous OS Xs I usually see it triggered by all Adobe apps (even the Code editor in Dreamweaver, which is annoying, though that might be fixed in the latest version), some Safari web content (guessing Flash or HTML5 Canvas content generally), as well as whenever I'm plugged into an external monitor which is most of the time.

    But yeah, TextEdit should NOT be triggering the dGPU... most "simpler" apps shouldn't be, ever.

    I plan to get a maxed out 15" in a few months. I assumed that opting for the 2.9Ghz and Radeon 460 meant I'd be cutting into battery life.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,683member
    TextEdit is not using the dGPU on my 2016 15" MBP.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    spheric said:
    TextEdit is not using the dGPU on my 2016 15" MBP.
    Interesting. Even when you open Color Picker? Which version of Sierra are you on? Which GPU do you have? Perhaps it's configuration dependent. I've seen it reported for 2016 MBPs (although I'm not sure what configurations they had), and it also started happening on my new 2015 MBP which shipped with Sierra (10.12.1). It's never happened on any previous OS I've had on any dual-graphics MBP.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    digitol said:
    Apple is hiding battery life issues!!! There I said it. Do I believe it,? Partially. 
    What I do know about the new macbookpro. 
    Reports of: wifi dropping out when USB connects
    trackpad issues
    graphics issues
    battery issues
    usb port speed issues
    touchbar issues
    not to mention all the other previos features missing or not updated.
    16GB ram limit 
    CPU not the latest.

    right, so I'm going to wait for the AMD version of the MacBook Pro.  



    All I hear is blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and so forth... under the last blah craps out.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,683member
    wiggin said:
    spheric said:
    TextEdit is not using the dGPU on my 2016 15" MBP.
    Interesting. Even when you open Color Picker? Which version of Sierra are you on? Which GPU do you have? Perhaps it's configuration dependent. I've seen it reported for 2016 MBPs (although I'm not sure what configurations they had), and it also started happening on my new 2015 MBP which shipped with Sierra (10.12.1). It's never happened on any previous OS I've had on any dual-graphics MBP.
    Whoops, you're right: click on the color picker, and the dGPU is switched on.
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