I have 2 monitors plugged into my MacBook Pro 2016, one via USB-C and another through a 5-port hub with HDMI. When the MacBook is not plugged in to power (through the hub) it seems to drain power very quickly. Would the monitors cause this? Thx.

  • 3
    I kind of doubt it. Running a monitor, any monitor, is one of the biggest power drains on any computing device (Mac, PC, Phone, etc). The power drain you see is likely an effect of the computer driving two monitors. And if the monitors are plugged in (A/C power) THAT is where they are getting their power from, not the computer. Jan 10, 2017 at 21:03
  • thx. I guess my phrasing of the question was poor because what you described is what I meant by drawing power. I suppose saying "drain power" would have been better.
    – Sizzle
    Jan 11, 2017 at 6:03

2 Answers 2


Every device you plug into a USB port has a power requirement.

Some are quite small in the milliamp range and some can be quite large, up to 5A of current. The more devices, the more draw.

When you have monitors hooked up via USB, it's your CPU that is actually driving the display as there is no separate video adapter. Higher CPU cycles, more power draw. As your CPU works harder, fans have to kick on - another device, more draw.

So, in short, yes, your monitors are causing the more rapid drain on your battery.


This is from both experience and speculation.

My MacBook Pro needs to be connected to power while the lid is shut in order to project the screen onto an external monitor. I imagine this is due to power limitations from the battery, as well as the need for greater power draw from the monitors.

If the lid is open, however, you can keep the power unplugged while still using monitors. This would certainly drain the battery faster, as the device now needs to project the display to one or more external monitors.

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