2015 rMBP problems: 5-6 hours of battery life and major UI lag.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Youhoney, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Youhoney, Mar 24, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015

    Youhoney macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2015

    I just got my fresh 13" rMBP last week with 2,7 ghz i5 and 256 SSD, 8 gb of RAM. I updated from a mid 2011 MBA because of general lagginess and bad battery life. I've now come to realise that I still suffer from both of those problems with my new laptop. It's driving me nuts.

    1. UI lag:

    Link to video demonstrating it: https://youtu.be/VAbAj8uS07A
    The problem is present almost everywhere: in mission control (fps drops to 2-3), opening the Applications-menu from Dock (fps 2-3), launchpad, resizing windows and scrolling web pages (mild to major lag depending on the page). I googled it and it seems that many others are also experiencing this (just google "retina macbook pro ui lag"). I've tried all the usual solutions, resetting PRAM, turning off transparency, turning on high-contrast mode etc.

    Out of these only turning on high-contrast mode has given any consistent help. The lag is still clearly untolerable, and resorting to ugly hamperings such as high contrast mode is not a solution I'm happy with. Buying a 1700€ mac, I shouldn't have to be doing things like this.

    2. Battery drain

    Even with almost all apps closed and one safari tab open, my battery estimate is like 6 hours on full display brightness. Apple promised me at least 10 hours of web browsing, while most of the reviewers were getting even 12-13 hours in their tests. 6 hours is simply horrendous and unacceptable.

    I've noticed the WindowServer process jumping my CPU cycles and it seems to be jumping every time there's UI lag. Maybe that's what's draining my battery? I tried to look into fixes for that also. The energy tab in Activity monitor mostly blames Safari and Chrome for the drain. It's not like I'm keeping tens of tabs open with Flash running.

    I've also tried repairing disk permissions, resetting the SMC, no help. I've used several hours in searching for solutions on the internet, and tried many things to no avail.

    I'm really getting frustrated with these problems. Any ideas what to do? My next guess would be to revert to Mavericks and see if that would help, but that's such a hassle and I'm not sure if it would help, so...

    Thanks for any feedback!
  2. ZombiePete macrumors 68020


    Aug 6, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
  3. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2012
    London, UK
    Firstly, did you restore your mac from a backup/time machine restore etc? If so, I wouldn't recommend this, I would recommend a clean install/setup and then manually transfer any files.

    Secondly, when Apple test's it's MacBooks, I know with 2013/2014 laptops the brightness is set at 75%. By increasing it to 100% you will see a noticeable reduction in battery life. It also takes a few cycles for the battery to get acclimatised. I recommend running your battery down to 10/20% (never go lower than this unless absolutely necessary, it isn't good for the laptop) and then charging it to 100% and doing the same again. You should be seeing around the same battery life apple has quoted, but be advised, you will always full short maybe 30mins to an hour in my experience.

    For example, I have a MacBook Air 2013 11'. Apple quotes 9 hours of battery but if you look at Anandtechs light browsing test, he scores around 8.5 hours. I would trust Anand's testing rather than Apple's as he has no bias and is more indicative of real world usage.

    EDIT: I don't think you can go back to Mavericks if the MacBook did not come with Mavericks originally.
  4. stempsons macrumors regular

    Feb 15, 2014
    Apple spec for battery life is based on 75% display brightness. That could be part of the issue...

    Attached Files:

  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, they didn't. Apple battery claims are "up to x hours", and are dependent on very specific situations. Your estimated time remaining is based on the minute-to-minute workload and power demands, which change constantly. It is not a reliable indicator. There are many factors that impact your battery life. See the BATTERY LIFE FROM A CHARGE section of the following link for details, including tips on how to maximize your battery life.
    The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
  6. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Turn down your display brightness and stop burning your retinas :cool:

    But seriously, the only time I've used max brightness is in direct sunlight. I pretty much live at 50% and even with Xcode, 20 safari tabs, mailbox, messages, iPhone simulator running I get around 10 hours.

    I guarantee you that Apple's 10 hour estimate doesn't include max brightness. And the same definitely goes for every other advertised laptop/phone/tablet battery stat.
  7. Youhoney thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2015
    Hey, thanks for the answers so far.

    "Firstly, did you restore your mac from a backup/time machine restore etc? If so, I wouldn't recommend this, I would recommend a clean install/setup and then manually transfer any files."

    I did a fresh install.

    Regarding the display, it's true I am using 100% brightness most of the time. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I feel like I wasn't using 100% on my MBA so much, it seemed to be brighter even on lower brightness settings. However, the new rMBP seems much dimmer, even while using full brightness. One reason might be the smaller fonts, they're especially hard to read if the display is dim. I guess I have to try getting used to more dim values or try using the lower 1440x900 resolution.

    Also thanks for the tip about acclimatisation, although I think I've already done that, having used this mac 100% → empty a few times.

    Regarding your Battery FAQ, GGJstudios: thanks. I'm getting the highest % CPU-values on WindowServer, climbing up to 50% and more while the UI is laggiest. The second highest is kernel_task.

    I'll try your tips out and report back with results.

    Any ideas regarding the UI lag?
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Something is definitely not working as designed, as the lag you described is not normal at all. I'd look at Activity Monitor and see what may be consuming resources, and also look to see if there are any unknown processes running. Have you modified any of your display settings?
  9. Youhoney thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2015
  10. Youhoney, Mar 24, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015

    Youhoney thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2015
    Oh and I was using the highest resolution from display settings. I also tried the lower ones, but still getting roughly the same lag. Other than that I haven't made any modifications that I know of.

    Here's a link to a video I captured: https://youtu.be/VAbAj8uS07A trying to showcase the lag. It also shows my activity monitor. Running the capture of course put some stress on the system, but the UI lag is pretty much as it is shown on the video.
  11. appleminion macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    video link is not working...
  12. Youhoney, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015

    Youhoney thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2015
    Hmm, it's working for me, even with different browsers. How exactly doesn't it work?

    Edit: moved the video to YouTube due to bandwidth.
    Retina Macbook pro 2015 bad UI lag: https://youtu.be/VAbAj8uS07A
  13. redneck6497 macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2009
    Others have mentioned they had good results with lag by resetting PRAM.
  14. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    And more

    Have reported that a reinstall of OSX helps enormously, also turn off transparency (or set to the lowest level). 5-6 hours with full brightness and a medium workload is exactly what I'd expect. Remember the retina screen has pixels very close together and needs to push more light through to get the same brightness it is a trade off you get for the sharpness. Still if you aren't happy exchange it for another one and see if thats better.
  15. Youhoney thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2015

    Thanks for the answers! I'm considering reinstalling OSX, although it's another 5-6 hours of work at least so I'm not really fascinated by the idea... Lastly if that doesn't help, then I'll try to return this model and get a new one. Turning down transparency only helps a bit, and doesn't really fix the problem, so I'm not happy with it as a solution.

    Yeah, today I've tried to use 50-75% brightness and battery is much better, 10 hours estimated or so. I guess like you said I had been accustomed to higher brightness while using my old MBA. I also turned the resolution down to HiDPI 1440x900, so it's easier to see the larger fonts even with less display brightness. Also I've been using safari instead of Chrome. At least according to Activity monitor, Chrome hogs battery like crazy. I also got a flash blocker for my browsers.

    Sadly, PRAM resetting didn't fix it.
  16. rhyzome macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2012
    I experience similar UI lag. I've been uncertain the entire time I've owned this laptop whether or not the behavior is a sign of a problem or "normal" for this generation of machine and version of OSX.

    (happening on a 15" 2.5ghz with dedicated graphics card, 16GB ram and 1 TB SSD)
  17. Hieveryone macrumors 68040

    Apr 11, 2014
    I would get it switched out. That UI lag looks really bad. I'm on Mavericks and it works *flawlessly*

    Regarding battery, I'm getting all day. Maybe 8 or so? something like that. Could be 9.

    So definitely open a case with them and see what they do. No need to accept that.
  18. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    If you have literally just got the MBP, it needs some time to index this can and does impact runtime on battery. Running Chrome is another battery burner on OS X so be mindful of your usage when away from the wire. I have a 2014 13" MBPr I can squeeze 10 hours on battery, 8 is more typical.

    As for the UI lag, pass have no idea as neither of my Retina`s lag . I personally believe that it`s related to software and or usage, I have no doubt that some users are observing the issue, equally others are not. On my 15" 2012 Retina now with well over 100 tabs open in Safari, typical Office applications, playing back a 1080P movie there is no lag on graphically heavy sites all on the HD4000 iGPU.

    Personally I would start from scratch and see if anything makes a difference, I run my 13" Retina scaled 100% of the time with no lag.

  19. appleminion macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    do a clean install... looks like you have too much stuff...
  20. yep-sure macrumors 6502


    Sep 21, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    I can see the problem - you're running Yosemite.
  21. Youhoney thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2015
    Thanks for the answers. I'll probably try reinstalling OSX when I have some time to do that. I that doesn't help with the lag, then I'll contact Apple and try to get the laptop replaced.
  22. pickaxe macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2012
    The UI lag is not solvable by the user. Apple can no longer do software optimization, and Yosemite is horrendously choppy on just about any hardware, including the nMP.

    You'l always have people like GGJstudios who try to downplay the problem, claim it's the user's fault or claim faulty unit. I'm not sure what their motivation is (well I do, I just don't want to get modded).
  23. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    You're just looking at it wrong. :p

    Apple can no longer do software optimization? :confused:
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That statement is irresponsible and false. You're making a sweeping, all-encompassing statement about UI lag in Yosemite, as if it applies to all users. That is simply not true. Explain how there are countless posts by Yosemite users stating they are not experiencing such problems.

    It's the simplest of logic: If the problem is Yosemite, everyone running Yosemite would have the same problem. No exceptions. If some Yosemite users experience lag and others don't, the problem MUST be some factor other than Yosemite.

    I don't make any attempt to downplay the problem. It's a problem for the users who experience it. It's not a problem for those who don't. Troubleshooting to find the source of the problem is a more intelligent approach than simply blaming Yosemite or Apple, with zero evidence to back up that position.

    I'm not claiming it's the user's fault or that it's a faulty unit. Again, simple troubleshooting can reveal the cause, including perhaps a trip to the Genius Bar.
    The motivation is to help those who need it by challenging false and misleading statements such as the one you posted. Claiming that it's Yosemite's fault or Apple's fault is not only false, it can lead a less experienced user to give up on troubleshooting the problem and discovering a real solution.
  25. pickaxe macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2012
    So are you. You made a completely unfounded claim that the lag is "not normal at all". How is THAT not sweeping, and where are your stats coming from?

    Not that simple. First, not all people experience lag in the same way. Some people do not notice frame stutter. Some have issues even differentiating between 30fps and 60fps, which is a frame of 'lag' for every frame of animation. Some simply ignore it, or are peeved but don't feel the need to report it.
    I'd love to see you do a screencast test of, say the Mission Control animation with an external display and multiple Desktops. There's no way you'll be getting anything close to 60fps, which has been the case several software revisions ago for Apple.

    This in no way discredits the notion that this is a widespread bug. Fortunately, framerate is an easily measurable parameter, unlike people's preferences.

    If the framedrops can and have been reproducible on a wide variety of hardware, "zero evidence" is clearly false. It is up to those who claim that Yosemite doesn't suffer from severe animation stutter to prove so.

    Indeed you haven't and I apologize for claiming that.

    It is false based on what grounds? The animation 'smoothness' degradation is reproducible and has been reproduced on video and in person, including on stock units at an Apple store. You're claiming that it's false - explain why the reports are widespread.

    There is no 'real solution'. Yosemite's hardware acceleration is wonky. It cannot handle transitions well. Same for iOS 7 and newer, especially obvious on the iPhone 6+. So yes, the people in charge of software optimization in Apple are not doing their jobs - the company that was once able to produce almost constant 60fps animations on hardware as ancient as the iPhone 3G is now shipping software that's anything but.

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