Here’s why macOS Sierra 10.12.2 removes your battery’s estimated time remaining

By , Dec 13, 2016

macOS Sierra 10.12.2 battery time remaining indicator

Aside from a number of fixes, GPU improvements and a few new features in macOS Sierra 10.12.2, the update’s introduced a significant change related to the Mac’s Battery menu. Long story short, Macs with macOS Sierra 10.12.2 or later no longer display the battery’s estimated time remaining in the Mac’s menu bar.

Here’s what prompted Apple to make this change, according to The Loop.

Just to be clear before we get to it, a percentage of the remaining battery life is still being shown in the latest Sierra update, like on your iOS devices.

TL;DR: you no longer see how much time is remaining before your battery dies because the time remaining indicator wasn’t very accurate to begin with.

After speaking with his Apple contacts, The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple was told that the indicator couldn’t accurately keep up with what people were doing “because of the dynamic ways we use our Macs”.

In other words, a bunch of processes which often run in the background that most user might not even know about contribute to the inaccuracies. In order to avoid scenarios where users are unaware of what’s draining their battery, Apple’s decided to remove the time remaining indicator.

Here are some of the Mac features that cause inaccuracies in your battery’s time remaining indicator:

  • iCloud syncing—the Memories feature, facial, object and scene recognition, as well as the initial sync after setting up a new Mac, all happen in the background and affect the battery severely. iCloud syncing issues are even more pronounced when you factor in the new Optimized Storage feature that can free up storage space by uploading your rarely used files to iCloud Drive.
  • Spotlight indexing—Spotlight constantly runs in the background and monitors any changes to the files on your Mac’s drives. Plus, initial Spotlight indexing after setting up a new Mac can monopolize resources and take a long time to complete, too.
  • Apps—Apps you use on your Mac, of course, may contribute to the inaccuracies.

“Everything we do on the MacBook affects battery life in different ways and not having an accurate indicator is confusing,” said Dalrymple. I know it’s all about user experience, but I’d still rather Apple added a switch to let us optionally enable the battery’s time remaining indicator, inaccuracies be damned.

Back in the iPhone 4 days, Apple released an iOS update which tweaked the cellular signal strength bar, saying people were seeing more-dramatic-than-usual drops in signal strength because an underlying algorithm had a flaw.

As for the problems with battery life that some new MacBook Pro owners complained about, Apple told Dalrymple that “after a lot of testing” they stand behind the advertised ten-hour battery life when browsing the web or watching iTunes movies.

If you just set up your brand spanking new Mac, any decrease in battery performance and speed can be probably chalked up to initial iCloud sync and Spotlight indexing. After these processes have completed, which can take from a few hours to a couple of days, your battery life should normalize.

Source: The Loop

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  • ready1take1

    a few years ago they removed the ability to see your battery’s time remaining in the menu bar along with the percentage. Since then I’ve been using the Mac app “Battery Time” to permanently show the time remaining in the menu bar right next to the battery icon and percentage. I wonder if this app still works in 10.12.2

  • triggerhappypunk

    that’s dumb, that’s like GM saying they are removing the fuel gauge because people have different driving habits.

    • RobertoRiquelme

      the fuel gauge shows percentage, not time.

      • triggerhappypunk

        ah, right, i misread the article, thanks. so the battery percentage is still there, just not time remaining? i never used the time remaining anyway, as it was not accurate 😉

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        No but it’s like saying GM or some car manufacturer removed the “Distance in KM/Mi till fuel is empty” display. Every car has that in the odometer.

  • Jibbley Gravey

    I know exactly why… because the new MBP on a full charge says like 4 hours xD when claimed 10 hours… fkn lying sons of guns

    • Dilir Daiyan Aranna

      They said in Web Browsing and iTunes movies,and on Integrated GPU

      • Jibbley Gravey

        Fully charged with nothing open is 3 hours 44 minutes…. I do nothing but web browse and I’m getting less than 4 hours LOL… do you even own a MacBook? obviously not…

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    So they removed this without actually fixing the underlying battery issues. Well done, Apple. +€3000 laptops and one cannot get an accurate enough estimate of how much time remains before battery runs out. Things have gotten really sad with Apple lately.

  • Mohannad Daoud

    Does 3rd party Apps still shows estimated time remaining?

    • 5723alex .

      No need for 3rd party Apps. Estimated time remaining is build into macOS under Energy.

    • Docservlet

      Yes…there are many free apps that can sit in the notification area or menu bar.

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    Is that wallpaper for Mac available?

  • 5723alex .

    You can still get Battery Time Remaining Estimate under Activity Monitor > Energy.

  • AMB_07

    I see no problem with that. Those things were pretty bogus to begin with, never accurate on any platform.

  • kikan33

    Great move Apple ! Instead of finding a better algorythm to estimate the remaining time they just remove the feature.
    Appart for the latest MBP’s issue, it shouldn’t take a genius to understand that this estimation is just that: an estimation for god’s sake!

    At least with it I had a clue when an app was misbehaving (like Outlook for Mac often does hogging to much CPU ressources than it is supposed to for no reason), and I could remediate BEFORE my battery level ran too low (which often means restarting the app).

    This is not Outlook specific and no I won’t keep the activity monitor open all the time.

    Instead of making the new laptops a tad thinner, they should have put bigger battery in it.

    Now that they don’t supply a long power cable anymore, are people gonna start hugging power outlets again ??

    Sorry for the ranting but we do pay a hell of a premium for these babies. They should lead the competition in a lot of ways, REAL LIFE battery life being one of them.