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ArsTechnica guide explains poor MacBook Pro battery life, offers some solutions

While the new MacBook Pro has a more power-efficient screen, it can't offset the reduction in battery size. (Source: iFixit)
While the new MacBook Pro has a more power-efficient screen, it can't offset the reduction in battery size. (Source: iFixit)
ArsTechnica has published an explanation and some workarounds for the rather poor battery life on Apple's 2016 MacBook Pro lineup.

There's nothing wrong with the battery in the new MacBook Pro 13 and 15 notebooks, according to Apple. So why are people getting so much less battery life than with previous models, and what can they do about it? ArsTechnica has published a guide that seeks to explain some of the peculiarities of the new Macbooks and offers some options for users.

Ars reports that firstly, Apple is measuring its battery life on the most basic configurations of its notebooks. This likely means that the battery figures are calculated for the lowest-clocked Core i5 with 8 GB of ram for the Pro 13, and the lowest-clocked Core i7 with the less-powerful RX450 GPU for the Pro 15. Those with upgraded models will have components which utilize a bit more power than the base models.

The main issue is that Apple dropped the battery side from 74.9 WHr to 49.2 WHr for the Pro 13, and 99 WHr to 76 WHr for the Pro 15. Apple expected a drop in power consumption due to Skylake CPUs and a screen that is reportedly 30% more power-efficient than the previous one, however Ars notes this doesn't translate to making up for a 34% and 24% reduction in battery size for the 13-inch and 15-inch notebooks, respectively. The 6th gen Skylake chips still draw nearly the same power as the previous generation.

While the Pro 15 didn't lose as much battery as the Pro 13 did (percentage wise), it does have a 35W dedicated GPU that will turn on and off as it pleases. There is no way to completely disable the dedicated GPU in the Pro 15 at the moment, due to Sierra's dynamic handling of GPU usage.

The guide suggests limiting your multi-tasking and keeping an eye open for browser tabs or apps that are stopping the CPU from going into an idle state. The CPU is still the largest power draw when it's going full tilt, and finding out what apps you use that are draining power is going to help the most. Other than that, Ars recommends using Safari, lowering screen brightness... or just returning your MacBook Pro.

If you're a MacBook user suffering from 3-4 hour battery-life, check the guide out for the full details here.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2016 12 > ArsTechnica guide explains poor MacBook Pro battery life, offers some solutions
Douglas Black, 2016-12-17 (Update: 2016-12-17)
Douglas Black
Douglas Black - News Editor
I am a university Lecturer and researcher in English writing, but I like to keep myself busy. Between weightlifting, MMA, and SCUBA diving, one of my life-long interests has always been computers. I used Macs until about 17 years ago when I switched to PCs because of an interest in games, but I'm still interested in top quality laptops that push the design envelope.