Is Apple's Mountain Lion causing big battery drains?

Apple launched the latest major software update to its Mac OS last week with OS X 10.8, better known as Mountain Lion. Apple later said that the update had already been downloaded three million times in its first four days. But is there a big software bug with the update that Apple missed?

That's the question that some Macbook Pro and Macbook Air users would like an answer for right now. Ars Technica reports that soon after the launch of Mountain Lion, many Apple laptop owners wrote posts in the company's support forums, stating that since they installed OS X 10.8 they have seen their battery life take a massive hit.

Some owners have said their battery life is now almost half of what was promised for Mountain Lion. A few users claim they can actually see the battery life graphic go down as they use their laptops.

After receiving no response from Apple last week, the company has finally started contacting laptop users who have reported the battery drain issues this week, asking them for system information and activity data. So far, there's no word on what might be causing this problem or how widespread the issue might be among Macbook Pro and Air owners.

Source: Ars Technica

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

HTC's Titan gets Lumia exclusive apps

Next Story

Four more Windows 8 RTM ISOs leak; two to web

71 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I have the mid-2011 MBP 17" and I can tell you that just surfing the internet with nothing running and listening to Itunes drained by battery from 97% to about 45% in less than 1.5 hours. It is horrible. I called Tech Support already. This is stupid.

I have not noticed any difference in battery life with Mountain Lion. I am a developer and since Preview 4, performance has been fine. I'm using an Early 2011 15in Macbook Pro. I'm thinking like with iOS battery life, it is being drained by location and notification settings. I'm sure Apple will release a minor update in few weeks to fix any problems that appeared at launch.

+Rant Alert+
As for the trolling on both sides what wtf do expect with a new release of software. I don't think I have ever encountered a piece of software that was "perfect" out the gate. I hate that every thing has to be so political. Mac/PC, Liberal/Right, Fox/NPR. It's stupid and so much energy wasted.

Can't say for sure how battery life is affected, but my time-to-wake-up-from-standby has definitely increased (MBA 2011).

I guess I should consider myself lucky, because if anything Mountain Lion has improved my MacBook Pro's battery life. I used it yesterday for about three hours, earlier today for roughly 2 hours, and have been currently using it for the past hour - all on battery. And my little battery indicator up in the menu bar says that I have 2:04 left. If true, that would be almost 8 hours total. My 15" MacBook Pro is from early 2009 - one of the first aluminum unibody models. I downloaded and installed Mountain Lion the day after it came out (I tried getting it on launch day, but of course by the time I got off work Apple's servers were hosed). One thing I should mention is that right after Mountain Lion successfully installed, I updated and ran the new version of OnyX and allowed it to go through a full cleanup sweep. Perhaps that is the difference between me and others?

<snipped, as such comments were removed, and this could take the section off-topic>

#1 cause why your Mac can have battery issues after ANY in-place OS upgrade is a background service / daemon of some kind that is not cooperating with ML and causing high CPU usage.

Go check your Activity Monitor and system logs before whining about it and blaming the OS, shows your level of inexperience when you do that!

Edited by Calum, Aug 5 2012, 10:16am :

The CPU usage is much less under Mountain Lion (and the system also runs much cooler) and the battery life is still terrible.

virtorio said,
The CPU usage is much less under Mountain Lion (and the system also runs much cooler) and the battery life is still terrible.

It's because the battery life of your old laptop just sucks, you have to buy a new MacBook with Retina display in order to get super high quality battery life again.

.Neo said,
As we all know Microsoft never had any issues right after they released a new Windows version.

The difference is of course that Apple fans never admit that there are problems or bugs in Apple software.

fetbaffe said,

The difference is of course that Apple fans never admit that there are problems or bugs in Apple software.


trolls != fans

You're listening to the wrong peeps, buddy, but I take it it suits your view, right?

GS:ios

fetbaffe said,
The difference is of course that Apple fans never admit that there are problems or bugs in Apple software.

Hello, I'm a Mac fan and I'm here to say that OS X has bugs in it - please to meet you.

Glassed Silver said,

trolls != fans

You're listening to the wrong peeps, buddy, but I take it it suits your view, right?

GS:ios

Just any colleague I had for the past 8 years. And I replied to statement that of course shifted focus to Microsoft.

"Yeah, but Micorosft eat babies!".

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Hello, I'm a Mac fan and I'm here to say that OS X has bugs in it - please to meet you.

Hello, nice to meet you too.

fetbaffe said,

The difference is of course that Apple fans never admit that there are problems or bugs in Apple software.


Apple fans don't know any better.

.Neo said,
As we all know Microsoft never had any issues right after they released a new Windows version.
No one says they don't. But here is the difference Sherlock. Microsoft doesn't get to test Windows on 100's of different PC models. Apple has ONE os and ONE computer and they claim to do so much in-house testing yet they never have problems in-house? Oh wait, SJ admitted they saw issues with the iPhone 4 and felt it was no big deal. They rather blame the user.

Honestly, I don't see why people even use Mac's. They aren't worth what they cost

TechieXP said,
No one says they don't. But here is the difference Sherlock. Microsoft doesn't get to test Windows on 100's of different PC models. Apple has ONE os and ONE computer and they claim to do so much in-house testing yet they never have problems in-house? Oh wait, SJ admitted they saw issues with the iPhone 4 and felt it was no big deal. They rather blame the user.

Honestly, I don't see why people even use Mac's. They aren't worth what they cost

Well said!

Battery drains, plus...
+ weird graphical glitches in Mail
+ slow performance in Preview (only in windowed mode)
+ slow shutdowns
+ random system crashes
+ etc...
and this is a clean install of ML with no third-party apps.

Mateus said,
Battery drains, plus...
+ weird graphical glitches in Mail
+ slow performance in Preview (only in windowed mode)
+ slow shutdowns
+ random system crashes
+ etc...
and this is a clean install of ML with no third-party apps.

I have seen those graphical corruptions in Mail, but none of the other issues you describe. In fact, Preview, Finder, Time Machine, and general sys performance are MUCH snappier than ever on Lion! Running a early 2011 MBP 13" w/ 8GB and 750GB 7200rpm drive.

Mateus said,
Battery drains, plus...
+ weird graphical glitches in Mail
+ slow performance in Preview (only in windowed mode)
+ slow shutdowns
+ random system crashes
+ etc...
and this is a clean install of ML with no third-party apps.

The graphics glitches is probably relating to the hardware acceleration in the Webkit rendering engine. Regarding random system crashes - I assume you mean kernel panics? if so, what software do you have installed? any third party KEXT's?

Mr Nom Nom's said,

The graphics glitches is probably relating to the hardware acceleration in the Webkit rendering engine. Regarding random system crashes - I assume you mean kernel panics? if so, what software do you have installed? any third party KEXT's?

Forgot to add to the list...
+ Fullscreen video scrambles after a few seconds (unable to watch the Olympics online fullscreen!)
+ Desktop background randomly resets to default wallpaper

Clean install and no third-party apps. But this is 10.8.0 and all other first releases (10.6.0 & 10.7.0) have been full of bugs too, but I never learn to wait for the bug fix release before buying.

Mateus said,
Forgot to add to the list...
+ Fullscreen video scrambles after a few seconds (unable to watch the Olympics online fullscreen!)
+ Desktop background randomly resets to default wallpaper

Clean install and no third-party apps. But this is 10.8.0 and all other first releases (10.6.0 & 10.7.0) have been full of bugs too, but I never learn to wait for the bug fix release before buying.

Again you haven't addressed what I stated - when you mean system crashes do you mean a kernel panic? if you are having issues why don't I see a post from you in the Neowin Mac forum so that people might be able to isolate the problem and offer a resolution? sorry to sound snarky but you complain but do little in the way of helping yourself.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Again you haven't addressed what I stated - when you mean system crashes do you mean a kernel panic? if you are having issues why don't I see a post from you in the Neowin Mac forum so that people might be able to isolate the problem and offer a resolution? sorry to sound snarky but you complain but do little in the way of helping yourself.

Yes of course I'm talking about kernel panics. I've reported each of these problems to Apple and on the official Apple discussion community forums. Neowin it predominately a Microsoft website (so I keep getting told by other users) so there's little point discussing the problems here. I had the same problems with Snow Leopard and, yes I know it's the first release, but it's still annoying. With Snow Leopard no one seemed to be able find a fix so I videoed the problem, put it on YouTube and emailed Apple. I then got a call from an Apple Engineer in Ireland who ran some tests and found a software buy (I also got a £50 Apple voucher!). I've done the same with these problems.

Edited by Mateus, Aug 6 2012, 8:00pm :

Mateus said,

and found a software buy

Meant to read 'a software bug'. On the whole I'm very happy with Mountain Lion, it's just frustrating that these fairly obvious problems were not picked up in the beta tests (too busy with iOS6?)

"A few users claim they can actually see the battery life graphic go down as they use their laptops."

Unlike other laptops running on batteries?

thommcg said,
"A few users claim they can actually see the battery life graphic go down as they use their laptops."

Unlike other laptops running on batteries?

Apple has done extensive research on the matter and they believe the battery drain is most likely caused by the computer components drawing power from the battery.

Enron said,

Apple has done extensive research on the matter and they believe the battery drain is most likely caused by the computer components drawing power from the battery.


Apple makes the components, so they should fix there own mistake.

ckempo said,
"Is Apple's Mountain Lion causing big battery drains?"

No. You're charging it wrong.


Seriously, this isn't funny any more...

robert_dll said,

Seriously, this isn't funny any more...
It's always funny. Maybe its not funny to you because you're a fan and the truth hurts. Next time SJ blames you, smack him. Oh wait....!

How is this a surprise? They've been doing it with iOS updates for years.
My ipod touch 2g on 2.2.1 gets about 2 weeks battery life.
My ipod touch 4g (white) on 5.0 gets just over a day battery life if I'm lucky.

n_K said,
My ipod touch 4g (white) on 5.0 gets just over a day battery life if I'm lucky.

You're using it wrong.

n_K said,
How is this a surprise? They've been doing it with iOS updates for years.
My ipod touch 2g on 2.2.1 gets about 2 weeks battery life.
My ipod touch 4g (white) on 5.0 gets just over a day battery life if I'm lucky.

Ever thought you maybe using it more due to it having more features?

n_K said,
How is this a surprise? They've been doing it with iOS updates for years.
My ipod touch 2g on 2.2.1 gets about 2 weeks battery life.
My ipod touch 4g (white) on 5.0 gets just over a day battery life if I'm lucky.

I believe older iPod touch firmwares actually do not keep Wifi on once the screen turns off, but the latest ones do (because Apple probably thinks people are all using things like IM and stuff that rely on push notifications on the iPod touches, which, having no 3G, rely on Wifi to get the notifications). Keeping the Wifi on all day even when doing nothing is what's draining the battery in your new iPod touch.

I can't remember but I think I read the above from Apple's forums, and it kinda upset those who use the iPod touch mainly as a music player, and just use the Wifi functionality to surf the webs occasionally. You could probably manually turn off the Wifi when not using to see if battery life improves, but it is quite troublesome IMO.

Kai Y said,

I can't remember but I think I read the above from Apple's forums, and it kinda upset those who use the iPod touch mainly as a music player, and just use the Wifi functionality to surf the webs occasionally. You could probably manually turn off the Wifi when not using to see if battery life improves, but it is quite troublesome IMO.

I don't have wifi on much at all, only when using wifi, other than that I turn it off.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Ever thought you maybe using it more due to it having more features?

More features? I use it to play music, occasionally play games or surf the web, when I'm listening to music or doing nothing with it, screen brightness is on very low, wifi is off, all running processes are terminated, and it's doing nothing. Battery goes from 80% -> 50% overnight by doing nothing.

n_K said,
How is this a surprise? They've been doing it with iOS updates for years.
My ipod touch 2g on 2.2.1 gets about 2 weeks battery life.
My ipod touch 4g (white) on 5.0 gets just over a day battery life if I'm lucky.
Tf course, its over 5 years old. How long you expect a battery that charge hold a charge? I would say lucky to be getting a days usage. 2 weeks? Not if you're using it everyday.

<snipped, as such comments were removed, and this could take the section off-topic>

Hopefully Apple is aware of this and will release an update to correct it.

Edited by Calum, Aug 5 2012, 10:37am :

aviator189 said,
My friend said his did

then complain to apple. I bet they will want your friend to buy a bigger, more expensive battery.

De.Bug said,
Isn't Apple known for having horrible batteries?

I'm sure the badly performing batteries are all made by Samsung

THolman said,

I wish my iPhone lasted longer, yeah, but it's rarely an issue. I've got an HP laptop that lasts about 15 minutes now (to be fair, it's going on 5 years old and I don't really use it anymore. When it was new it got about an hour and a half tops.

Only reason I ask (just because you don't like what I said doesn't mean I'm trolling), is because my iPod is a year old and lasts 30-90 minutes max on a full charge. I've never owned another Apple product, but I was pretty sure they were known for not having the best battery life.

De.Bug said,

Only reason I ask (just because you don't like what I said doesn't mean I'm trolling), is because my iPod is a year old and lasts 30-90 minutes max on a full charge. I've never owned another Apple product, but I was pretty sure they were known for not having the best battery life.

Their laptops are known for some of the best battery life.

Mobile devices... who knows.

Zippo7 said,

I would just like to say that the 5 hours I get on my 17" HP i7 w/8GB ram and SSD and stock battery kicks the crap out of most mac laptop batteries

5 hours in Macland is nothing O_o The discontinued 17" MBP could get at least 7 hours and the current 15" Retina MBP can get 5 hours as well. If I mention the MBA you'll complain you can't compare the two.

kInG aLeXo said,
exploding yes, short lifetime, no.

How about firstly not to troll - the batteries don't explode the expand, the two words are entirely different. Could you point me to a battery that has actually exploded - you know, the whole thing blows up with crap flying everywhere.

De.Bug said,

Only reason I ask (just because you don't like what I said doesn't mean I'm trolling), is because my iPod is a year old and lasts 30-90 minutes max on a full charge. I've never owned another Apple product, but I was pretty sure they were known for not having the best battery life.


thats because the battery has probably depleted, did you leave it charged at all times?

Mr Nom Nom's said,

How about firstly not to troll - the batteries don't explode the expand, the two words are entirely different. Could you point me to a battery that has actually exploded - you know, the whole thing blows up with crap flying everywhere.

Just Google. There have been reports of exploding....not expanding batteries. It canhappenwith any laptop under certain conditions.

Stop being a snob. Every time u fanfare told omething bad about apple hardware, u automatically dismiss it as being false. Why are fans so stupid?

kInG aLeXo said,

exploding yes, short lifetime, no.

unless you're using windows under bootcamp - apple can't bundle efficient or up-to-date drivers for windows, ever.

TechieXP said,
Just Google. There have been reports of exploding....not expanding batteries. It canhappenwith any laptop under certain conditions.

Which is a load of crap - I've just Googled then - morons who call 'expanding batteries' as equally exploding, An exploding battery is something that blows up and laptop parts are flying throw the air in all directions - THAT is what I and most others would call an explosion. Either provide a link to back up your claim or shut up.

Stop being a snob. Every time u fanfare told omething bad about apple hardware, u automatically dismiss it as being false. Why are fans so stupid?

I am not a snob - just sick and tired of people spewing crap on things they don't have the slightest clue about. I would be saying the same thing if the laptop happened to be a Thinkpad and you were making the same stupid non-verified claims as you're making now. When you speak with your friends they might be polite enough to allow your BS to slide but you're on the internet and the one thing we people on the internet demand is proof - either put up or shut up.