In previous versions of OS X the battery indicator in the menubar included options to show the remaining battery life as percentage or time (or nothing).

In Mountain Lion, there's only an option to show the percentage?!?!

How can I get the missing option back?

enter image description here

  • 1
    The plist still shows the option set to NO... but setting it to YES does not re-enable the time measurement :(
    – jtbandes
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 6:45
  • 9
    apple.com/feedback/macosx.html, please. We can get it back!
    – Arjan
    Commented Jul 29, 2012 at 11:00
  • 3
    I left feedback! That's ridiculous that it was removed.
    – da4
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 22:24
  • 1
    I wonder if someone can comment on why it was removed? Perhaps they found the time estimates to be unreliable?
    – asmeurer
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 18:54
  • 2
    feedback left - I really hope this actually does something... This 'sucks' and is steps backward in terms of usability.
    – AndrewPK
    Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 3:55

8 Answers 8


You just can't show the remaining battery time in the menubar since Mountain Lion.

The following free app uses almost the same icon design and adds a bit more features which makes it a valid replacement:

Battery Time Remaining

by Han Lin Yap

enter image description here enter image description here

You can read my blog post for some more detail on what I did, it also won't hurt to report a bug to Apple. So this issue will get to their attention.

  • Yay! This is the best solution so far. It's even more functional than the original battery menu indicator. However, I'd really wish that it were possible to move this icon further to the right in the menubar (between the other OSX menu items). But for now this is my solution. Thanks! :)
    – gentmatt
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 13:34
  • This is the right answer. Far higher quality software than the others listed here.
    – Chris Calo
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 23:38
  • 1
    @gentmatt, check out my fork of Battery Time Remaining. It is implemented as a menu extra, so you can move it around however you want. github.com/AriX/Battery-Time-Remaining
    – AriX
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 20:40
  • Battery Time Remaining is a good app. Nonetheless, in case you don't know how to compile the GitHub source using Xcode, you'll need to purchase it. Some free alternatives, such as TLOB, are available on the App Store. @gentmatt in MacOS Sierra you can move the icons order in the menubar by selecting one icon and move it right or left while holding "command" button :)
    – Albz
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 6:03

According to the following blog entry Apple removed the option deliberately and it won't come back:


I also missed the option, so I wrote an App. It's in beta now:


  • 2
    Welcome to AskDifferent and thank you for you answer! It's great to hear that you develop an app to give us choice back. How does your app determine the time? Do you use your own algorithm?
    – gentmatt
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 10:12
  • 2
    I use information from the system configuration framework, which provides an estimation, so no own algorithm. The same time is shown when you click on the battery indicator on Mountain Lion. Besides using an API, you can access the data using the command line utility scutil.
    – meeee
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 10:23
  • 3
    The current and maximum capacity are also shown by ioreg -l | grep -i Capacity.
    – Lri
    Commented Jul 29, 2012 at 13:48


Not only does it save much more space in your menu bar, it lets you choose what information to show in specific states.

I have mine set to show the time when running on battery, the percentage when charging, and just the icon when fully charged.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • This works in Mountain Lion! Awesome.
    – gentmatt
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 6:26
  • This is exactly what I was going to recommend. You can even make the icon "disappear" when the battery is fully charged (it doesn't really disappear, but there's just a very tiny sliver of it left and it's the same color as the menu bar so it isn't distracting.
    – TJ Luoma
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 18:32
  • Impressively, this app continues to work even with Yosemite, even though the developer hasn't updated it since 2009. You'll need to adjust the default warning panel percentage with newer laptops, as 15% charge lasts a lot longer than it used to. You can even adjust the colors so that it works in Yosemite dark mode.
    – asmeurer
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 16:53

A cheaper and simpler option than the still-awesome iStat Menus is Watts for USD $6.95. Very configurable and lets you schedule reminders including re-calibration.

Watts 1.3.3 menubar options

I've been using it on 10.6.8 on my last three portables and am very happy with it.

  • Just saw that the freeware SlimBatteryMonitor is described as working without problem on Mountain Lion.
    – da4
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 14:49

I made a very simple app to specifically show time remaining: Battery Time Remaining

enter image description here


iStat Menus can also solve the problem (as well as show tonnes of other useful information) http://bjango.com/mac/istatmenus/

  • There is a free iStats widget that shows the time remaining, but you would need to swipe to get to the widget. Probably quicker to click on the battery icon.
    – user25908
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 23:53

I thought this was already present in Lion. In Lion you could change it with

# Menu bar: show remaining battery time; hide percentage
defaults write com.apple.menuextra.battery ShowPercent -string "NO"
defaults write com.apple.menuextra.battery ShowTime -string "YES"

found on


  • Thanks for the link. Unfortunately only the first defaults write command takes affect in Mountain Lion.
    – gentmatt
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 21:12
  • 1
    I tried setting these and killing SystemUIServer. The UI flashed, but no time displayed. :-(
    – chrish
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 22:35
  • 2
    After upgrading defaults read com.apple.menuextra.battery already gives me { ShowPercent = NO; ShowTime = YES; } without running the above commands, maybe a leftover from Lion. I am not seeing the time though. Do you actualy see the time, @gentmatt?
    – Arjan
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 10:19
  • 1
    @Arjan No, I said that only the defaults write command for the percentage works. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    – gentmatt
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 10:20
  • 1
    I’m the author of ~/.osx which is mentioned in this post. These commands were based on OS X Lion and earlier versions. The ShowTime option is now a dummy setting — you can feed it any value you want, but OS X 10.8 will ignore it. Sadly. As mentioned, the command to show the percentage should still work. Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 7:49

If you have an older Mac and the older version of the Battery.menu app backed up (or downloaded from a trustful source), you can replace the new crippled Battery.menu with the former one that shows the Remaining time.

Inspired by this article, but in my case, I had to do everything in the Recovery mode in order to make it work. They also link the old menu version if you trust them. I fortunately had my own backup.

Approach in general:

  1. Get the previous version of Battery.menu
  2. Reboot into Recovery mode
  3. disable System Integrity Protection
  4. swap Battery.menu apps
  5. enable System Integrity Protection and reboot

Detailed steps:

  1. open this guide in your phone to keep it on eyes
  2. get the old Battery.menu e. g. to ~
  3. Reboot to Recovery mode (Command-R while start-up)
  4. Run Menu: Utilities > Terminal:
# csrutil disable
# reboot
  1. Trigger Recovery mode again (Command-R while start-up)
  2. backup replace Battery.menu again in Menu: Utilities > Terminal:
# cd /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/
# cp -R Battery.menu Battery.menu.backup
# cp -R ~/Battery.menu .
# csrutil enable
# reboot
  1. Double-check the System Integrity Protection is really enabled after rebooting in Terminal:
# csrutil status

This last step is really worth double-checking, because forgetting it would mean a serious vulnerability of your Mac.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .