How to Fix Bad MacBook Pro Battery Life

Bad MacBook Pro battery life is a problem with the 2016 MacBook Pro 13-inch and 15-inch models and with older MacBook Pro models as well. This is how to diagnose MacBook Pro battery problems and how to fix them on your own when possible.

Apple promises long battery life of 10 hours on the new MacBook Pro and similar battery life times on the older models. There are currently some issues with estimating the battery life remaining for the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that will likely be fixed in a new macOS Sierra 10.12.2. This fix will only help you see a better representation of battery life, but we are holding out hope that it will also specifically fix bad MacBook Pro battery life on the 2016 MacBook Pro models.

How to fix bad MacBook Pro battery life.
How to fix bad MacBook Pro battery life.

This will show you how to check your MacBook Pro battery life capacity and health to see if you have a battery problem or if you need to change your habits to get better battery life.

How to Check Your MacBook Pro Battery Life

fix-bad-macbook-pro-battery-life-3When you hover your pointer over the battery on the MacBook Pro status bar you will see some information about your MacBook Pro battery, including the estimated time remaining. This isn’t all you need to look at when checking your MacBook Pro battery life.

Hold the Alt/Option key and then click on the battery icon in the upper right corner will show more information. You can see the battery condition. If it is normal than there isn’t a problem with your battery itself, but if you see Replace Soon, Replace Now or Service Battery then you need to see Apple or a third party repair service for most models.

See detailed MacBook Pro battery stats.
See detailed MacBook Pro battery stats.

If you see an issue with that report, you may want to use CoconutBattery to look at more detailed information about how much of your actual battery is available to use at each charge. Over time the capacity will drop, meaning a 100% charge will last longer.

Reset PRAM and NVRAM

Although not a guaranteed fix you can try resetting the PRAM and NVRAM settings on your MacBook Pro to essentially tell the system to start over with many options and settings, any one of which could be the cause of bad MacBook Pro battery life. This will not delete your data, but you may need to set up speaker volume, screen resolution and some other settings.

  1. Shut down your Mac
  2. Turn on your MacBook Pro
  3. Press and hold the Command, Option, P, R keys at the same time right after the startup sound.
  4. Hold until the computer reboots and you hear the startup sound again.

On the 2016 MacBook Pro you need to hold the keys right after you turn your 2016 MacBook Pro on and keep holding them for at least 20 seconds.

After performing this step our 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar lists the estimated battery life at over 10 hours, which is the highest we’ve seen. We will continue to test to see if it actually fixes the bad MacBook Pro battery life or only the estimate.

Lower MacBook Pro Screen Brightness

lower the screen brightness for better MacBook Pro battery life.
Lower the screen brightness for better MacBook Pro battery life.

The best thing to do when you need to get better MacBook Pro battery life is to lower the screen brightness. Simply turning the screen dimmer will make it easier to get good MacBook Pro battery life after you’ve taken the steps above.

You can use the Touch Bar to lower the screen brightness or the on keyboard buttons to change the screen brightness. Experiment to find the best mix of usability and power efficiency for your eyes and your work environment.

Check for Apps Using More Power

You can now see what apps are using the most power by clicking on the battery icon in the upper right corner of your MacBook Pro. This will show you apps that use more power so that you can turn them off if you need more battery life or look for an updated, more battery friendly version.

Find apps using too much power to see if you can get better MacBook Pro battery life by changing apps.
Find apps using too much power to see if you can get better MacBook Pro battery life by changing apps.

Some apps that need more performance and require the dedicated graphics card on the 15-inch MacBook Pro will simply use your battery life faster and there is nothing you can do except close them when you are done. For others like Chrome, it’s a smart idea to switch to Safari while you are on battery power.

Disable Un-Needed Items

When you need better MacBook Pro battery life you should consider disabling services and unplugging accessories.

WiFi and Bluetooth use power that you can save when you don’t need them. Obviously there are many times when you cannot do without an Internet connection, but if longer battery life is more important you can turn them off at the menu bar or in preferences.

Unplug flash drives, SD cards and other connected accessories that may be drawing power from your MacBook Pro to extend battery life.

11 Best New MacBook Pro Cases and Covers

Slickwraps 2016 MacBook Pro Skins

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Slickwraps 2016 MacBook Pro Skins

After using a Slickwraps skin on my 12-inch MacBook, I ordered one for my 2016 MacBook Pro 15-inch. There are over a dozen styles and many more color and character combinations. The Slickwraps skins are easy to apply and you can reposition them as needed. I've been using a carbon fiber MacBook skin and now I am trying the Alcantara series, which adds a splash of color and a grippy texture. You can buy this for the 13-inch and the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

In addition to the base color options and a variety of textures and looks, you can also opt for Justin Maller designs that include heroes, villains, Star Wars characters, Helmets and others. These are available on a black background and on a natural looking wood background. Here's a list of the options. 

  • Carbon Fiber MacBook Pro Skin
  • Metal Series MacBook Pro Skin
  • Wood Series MacBook Pro Skin
  • Color MacBook Pro Skin
  • Leather MacBook Pro Skin
  • Glitz MacBook Pro Skin
  • Stone Series MacBook Pro Skin
  • Hemp MacBook Pro Skin
  • Justin Maller MacBook Pro Skin
  • Alcantara MacBook Pro Skin
  • Natural Series MacBook Pro Skin

Prices vary with the design and materials used, retailing for $50 to $60 each. This week you can save 50% without any code for Cyber Week, and during the year you can save 20% when you sign up for the email newsletter. These are easy to apply without leaving air bubbles behind, and you can remove them without leaving residue on your MacBook Pro. Some skins come with bottom and palm rest skins as well.

Buy Now at SlickWraps

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One Comment

  1. sebastian

    01/09/2017 at 10:53 am

    I just did the reset PRAM and NVRAM thing. This had the opposite effect and now halted by battery time from 6 hours to 3 hours…
    sooo.. what does that mean? :-S

    Reply

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