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I've recently bought the new macbook pro 13" retina (2013) this November and noticed that it has extremely short battery life compared to my old macbook pro 13" (2010).

On a full charge, my new macbook has about 4H whereas my old one after three years of use still hovered close to 6H, and over 10H when new. Has anyone else been having this problem?

pic1

*** update

Here is another snapshot 7 minutes later. I've only been using chrome to do light browsing. notice that the battery life has gone down by 34 minutes...

enter image description here

  • It's probably something causing this problem with the battery. Can you attach or paste your activity monitor. – user64972 Dec 16 '13 at 8:21
  • As it says in the dropdown, Chrome is eating a lot of energy, probably due to Hulu. What happens if you close the Hulu tab? – nohillside Dec 16 '13 at 8:24
  • Did you ever resolve this? My guess is quitting chrome would stabilize the drain you had for 10 minutes or show the next program that also is using significant energy in the menu drop down. – bmike Feb 2 '14 at 14:51
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The picture you post might not indicate any problem whatsoever with the hardware. However, the tools and steps to determine if this is hardware or software are quite easy and powerful.

Since the Mac is new, you would be free to use internet or in-person support to ask Apple to help determine if the battery is sound and the software installed properly. You can also check System Information (spotlight will locate it) and check the power settings. If the health isn't Normal initiate hardware service with Apple as software alone won't remedy the low battery life.

To determine if software is the cause, I would do this as follows:

  1. Back up your files or the entire drive. It could be hardware and why risk losing anything - whether during troubleshooting or if the Mac fails completely.
  2. Make a new user account as administrator
  3. Disable automatic log in
  4. Shut down your Mac
  5. Plug in power and wait for the LED to turn green and disconnect from power
  6. Start the Mac and log into your newly created empty admin account

It won't have any saved state, nothing extra running except perhaps any software you have that starts at boot (instead of when your normal account logs in). Run Activity Monitor for 20 minutes and nothing else. Also, document the power in System Information -> Power:

You care about documenting the overall settings and these settings over time as the Mac runs:

  Charge Information:
    Charge Remaining (mAh):     5975
    Full Charge Capacity (mAh): 6432
  Amperage (mA):               -1101
  Voltage (mV):                12096

Open Activity Monitor and go to the Energy tab. Not all the programs listed are running as things from the last 8 hours of non-sleep time are displayed, but you can sort on Energy Impact to show running processes.

In the next 20 minutes where you don't do anything on the Mac except wait for the battery to go down a bit, watch for apps that are using non-zero energy. In general, apps that support App nap and sudden termination will let the OS be most frugal with power when the app isn't busy with work.

After 20 minutes, you should have a good reading on the estimated run time with no load as well as a baseline for what apps are using power before you start loading your menu bar extras, chrome. You can use the Activity Monitor to watch and determine whether your battery can run for 8+ hours idle (it should) and if programs you don't want are causing the CPU and GPU to drain that 8 hour allotment in half the time. Since all shipping MacBook are capable of draining their batteries in 3 hours if the CPU and GPU are loaded 100% - you'll have to determine your energy usage by using Activity Monitor or getting Apple to assist you in testing the battery.

They do have diagnostic tools that can read the power logs and battery information and summarize things more rapidly, so if none of this makes sense you can always get a new Mac checked during the warranty period for proper battery function for free.


This turned out to be longer than I hoped, but my guess is you will find a good battery and that the "light browsing" in chrome is actually one or two tabs that take continual CPU time as well as a few other background tasks that run constantly and prevent the energy savings that depend on App Nap and CPU sleeping for un-noticed to us, but significant portions of the time.

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This is a well known issue that can be fixed by

  1. if you are within the two weeks warranty period, having your macbook exchanged or returned.
  2. trying a couple of things

I will just assume 1) is no longer possible so let's go with 2):

  • first of all, try an SMC reset: you can do that by turning off your computer, plugging the power adapter to a socket, and press the keys Ctrl+Option+Shift+Power button at the same time for 20 seconds. Then turn on you computer and check your battery life. There is a high chance the problem has been solved.
  • if the above has not worked out very well, you can still try resetting the NVRAM and PRAM, have a look at this: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1379. With a bit of luck this solves your problem.
  • If none of the above have worked, you may have a nasty program running in the background that is making the kernel_task going off the charts thus draining your battery. This might be caused by dodgy software you might have installed. Use Activity Monitor to spot the problem.
  • Most important of all, do not use Google Chrome, it literally drains your battery dead, and if you got at the same time a Flash complement running, well it makes it even worse. This is a well known issue too, but Google just doesn't care, nor does Apple.

If you have tried all these steps and the battery life has not improved, I would take my machine to the Genius Bar, letting the "genius" know that you have tried all of these things. If you don't let him know, he will simply get rid of you by saying "oh yeah well you know just try not to use Google Chrome".

  • I would say that some proportion of Mac coming out of the box have a problem that wasn't discovered during testing or happened after shipping. I would also say, that software mis-installation or corruption could cause this. What issue do you think this Mac has? (also, your prediction on how about a future genius bar appointment would play out seems overly unoptimistic and simplified.) The rest of your answer is good information, but why begin and end it the way you did? – bmike Feb 2 '14 at 14:15
  • whatever trevor – Alfie Feb 3 '14 at 22:24
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Chrome is a power hog on macs. Get rid of it.

Use a browser made by people who know how to write apps for MAC OS.

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