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I have an Early 2011 MacBook Pro (Core i7, 8GB RAM) with Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.2).

What are some effective ways to save power? I am looking to maximise use of the battery - from a full charge - on long plane/train trips. Here are the ways I'm aware of:

  • Turning off WiFi.
  • Turning off Bluetooth.
  • Reducing the screen brightness.

Is there anything else significant I'm missing? Can I easily check what processes/programs might be sucking power in order to kill them?

Also, if I need/want to use the WiFi (for example, I'm on a flight with WiFi service), is there a way to minimise its power consumption?

Note: I'm happy to broaden the question to other models of MacBook/versions of OS X if necessary, since I'm sure the answers will be similar.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If your Mac has dual GPU (integrated for tasks not requiring much graphical performance, and dedicated for high performance tasks) then I recommend using an app called gfxCardStatus. It allows you to lock specific GPU to be in use all the time instead of dynamically switching it. It provides HUGE battery life boost, mainly because OSX's GPU switching algorithm is very far from perfect, triggering dedicated GPU on even very basic apps eg Coda 2.

Just to give you an idea (based on my own MBP 15 2011):

  • Dynamic switching: ~3h on battery
  • Locked to integrated GPU: 7h on battery

I have found that very often in order to actually lock your GPU you need to select it twice in the app.

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Woah man! That's a dramatic change in battery life! I hope Apple is working on perfecting their algorithms! –  kevin9794 Mar 11 '13 at 1:56
    
This really seems to work (at least using it to identify programs which are forcing the switch into discrete mode, and killing them). Good tip, thanks. –  Andrew Ferrier Mar 11 '13 at 12:01

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