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I want to do nothing on my MacBook except watch pre-downloaded MP4 videos.

How can I make the battery last as long as possible in this situation?

I will of course already:

  • screen minimum brightness
  • quit every other app except the MP4 player
  • play in small window not full-screen

What other secret options or configuration can I take advantage of?

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  • 11
    We must not speak publicly of secret things…..
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 14:54
  • 2
    Long trip huh? ✈️🚢 Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 0:55
  • 4
    "play in small window not full-screen" This would probably make performance worse, not better. Fullscreen rendering can skip the compositor. This is definitely try for video games, but I'm not sure if video players take advantage of that
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 17:24
  • 1
    When Apple figures out how a way to make their laptop batteries last longer, they don't have much incentive to keep it secret. Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 15:10

3 Answers 3

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  • Engage low power mode On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Battery , click Battery or Power Adapter
  • Putting the video full screen saves the most energy for me for almost all video sources I consume or test
  • Disconnect all accessories (or power down radios like WiFi and Bluetooth to ensure no processes start that could be avoided even though the radio transmitter / receiver / amplifier power savings may be marginal )
  • Enable Optimize video streaming while on battery which lets high-dynamic-range (HDR) video play in standard (SDR) to save energy.
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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 19:39
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  • Re-encode video to be smaller resolution while you still have power source. Less decoding means less CPU time, reducing energy usage
  • Re-encode video to have slower framerate (some HD videos are 60 FPS but 24 FPS might be "good enough") while you still have power source
  • Re-encode video to use "easier" decoding while you still have power source. For example, H264 over H265 (storage space tradeoff for CPU time)
  • Enter fullscreen, and disable scaling/fit-to-screen (play at original size)
  • Buy external battery pack and use it to charge MacBook
  • Replace internal battery with a new one (especially if battery capacity is failing)
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    Do you know what is the least player-expensive video file type and codec?
    – minseong
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 14:10
  • Your activity monitor - energy usage should let you determine this for your specific videos and your hardware @theonlygusti
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 16:24
  • Which video players support no fit-to-screen in fullscreen?
    – minseong
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 9:09
  • @theonlygusti VLC can do that I'm pretty sure
    – Esther
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 13:57
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    Replacing the battery is not possible for many users for many reasons, the biggest of which is by design. It used to be 30 seconds of work to swap a battery module. lifewire.com/replace-battery-in-macbook-pro-5186558 Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 14:23
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Set a full black desktop wallpaper while you use the small window

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    Currently, this only helps if you're on one of the new MacBook Pros with local dimming.
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 18:36

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