8,2. only 3-4 hours battery life with web usage (no video)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kot, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. kot macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    Hi guys! What is your battery life on MBP Early 2011's?

    I've got an MBP Early 2011 (8,2) and on Apple's site they say it gets 7 hours of wi-fi browsing when on battery. Also I saw other Apple users say their MBP's did 10 hours on battery easily.

    But my battery lasts only for 3-3.5 hours of wi-fi + browsing + music (once I could get 5 hours), it doesn't even come close to 7 hours, (I don't know how people get 10 hours with their notebooks).

    Does that mean my battery is defective? Should I send it to Apple for examination or maybe there's a problem I'll be able to fix myself?

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Read the BATTERY LIFE FROM A CHARGE section of the following link. This should answer most, if not all, of your battery questions:
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Battery life is dependent on usage. 3-4 hours is normal for Wifi, browsing, and music.
  4. kot thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    Thank you, I have read that already.

    I mean I see people who tell me that their MBPs last 10 hours with browsing and wifi, so I became worried and decided to ask here what you battery life is. How can batteries differ so much between me and others (3-10 hours)?
    My battery is fresh and new.

    Also I was getting 5 hours out of i the first few days after purchase. It seems it has degraded significantly since then (my MBP is 2 months old).
  5. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    are you sure nothing else is running?

    whats screen brightness set at?
    do have the keyboard light on?
    do you have your wallpaper set to change after so many minutes?

    the list goes on, lots of things other than internet on wifi change your batter life
  6. kot thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    the screen is 50%
    wallpaper is static
    keyboard light is turned off

    so maybe there's some troubleshooting tips I could use to uncover the truth what is causing severe battery drain in my laptop.

    I use Firefox :) It's a bit CPU intensive, maybe it's responsible for higher than normal drain.
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Did you read the FAQ I posted?
  8. kot thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    Yes I did, sorry if I missed anything important. Also every 2-3 days I stay on battery until it goes down to 50% or so to keep it "alive".
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    There are some other things you can check which affect performance, and therefore, battery life:

    Performance tips for Mac OS X
  10. dusk007, Dec 15, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011

    dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    You can startup activity monitor and watch which processes need how much CPU. For good battery life you want those to be below 5% everything combined.
    I rarely ever get that unless I really have only one not very demanding app running.
    Also just keeping you fingers on the touchpad scrolling all the time does create quite a lot of load. Applications like Word from MS Office 2011 just takes quite a bit CPU when sitting in the background when it should do anything. Killing of many of those poorly designed(from a battery life perspective) applications helps a great deal.

    Also Safari does best with battery life much like on Windows IE is by a quite significant margin better for battery life than any other Browser. I think Safari is a crap usability browser and still wouldn't use it myself. I think IE is better than Safari but many people can deal with it.
    FF is probably the worst of the bunch in battery life, it got a rather inefficient GUI and the whole extension based architecture just wastes a lot of ressources on redundant work. Especially with too many addons FF can be quite bad.

    Add blocking addons are recommended they save battery by not displaying all the annoying flashing adds.

    Sometimes it can just be one process that really is responsible and not your use. Like a spotlight index that doesn't finish (mdsworker) or some NTFS driver that is crap (used to run the free NTFS-3G). Or whatever else. Activity Monitor should show you.
  11. Satnam1989, Dec 15, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011

    Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    - Brightness 20-50% (4-8squares/16)
    - Bluetooth Off
    - Keyboard Light Off
    - Quit applications u aren't using...
    - Download Click2Flash - Only loads flash on the webpages when you click on it/want to see it.
    - In spotlight preferences I hav alot of things unselected, only the ones I would need to search(IF Ever) I am pretty organized and know where my things are majority of the time
    - Get gfxCardStatus - Select Integrated Card when on battery...do the switch manually cause sometimes if u set it to auto applications can hang/lag if they are/were running while u switched the cards
    - you can make sure nothing is plugged into ur usb ports....
    - set any kind of monitoring software u may hav to do so at a longer interval example iStat Pro set to 1hourly..., email checking change to hourly or manual

    I browse web, read docs, email, make notes in micro word, maybe 1-5 youtube videos i watch of no more then 1-5mins....listen to music in my iTunes(approx 30-1hr worth), I can squeeze out 6hours approx out of my macbook pro(closer to 7 if only using SSD with 2nd HDD ejected), remember being on wifi continuously will reduce your battery life but even then you should be getting 4-4.5hours minimum with similar light tasks....Only time i get LOWEST battery life is when i do Skype video chat then I get extremely low usage time(1.5-2hoursMAX) and during Skype audio calls i get approx 3hours...I also have the program f.lux installed and screen brightness set to 6100 compared to 6500....some people say it helps improve battery life but i use it solely because it reduces eye strain for me as i spend long hours working and studying on my MBP.

    Total time I spend using WiFi out of my 6-7hours battery life that i achieve is about 1-1.5hours total with about 500MB of data transfer over the network (Up & Down) dunno if this helps you....

    Rest(3.5-5 hours cause i do take breaks lol) is spent doing/using files and working locally with the WiFi still on and Following list is whats happening/running on my laptop 90% of the time:
    - Brightness (4-6squares/16)
    - Bluetooth Off
    - Keyboard light off
    - Skype signed in (msg here n there jus chat no video/approx 1hr audio call)
    - iChat signed in (msg here n there jus chat no video/audio)
    - Growl Voice
    - Mail App (Manual Fetch of new mail)
    - Widgets(bunch of them incl. iStat Pro set to Hourly)
    - Smartsleep
    - gfxcardstatus
    - f.lux
    - WindowTidy
    - DayOne - Journal app...
    - Microsoft word
    - Adobe Reader
    - and NTFS for OSX driver(in background) running the whole time along with other normal processes n what not....99.9% of the time my fans don't ever spin higher then idle speed...

    Apps I launch/use 10-30% of the time:
    - Safari (currently open obviously lol)
    - iTunes
    - MPlayerX(currently open, not playing anything and when I launch this or VLC my second HDD is mounted)
    - VLC
    - Any other apps that I would use.....

    My usage is extremely light compared to a lot of people who do CPU/GPU intensive tasks....cause i depend heavily on battery life so i thought id share:) Today Im so far at 5hr30mins n battery meter still showing 25mins to go while i type this lol and with that being said all my 90% apps/tweaks are running incl safari and MplayerX

    It really varies day in day out cause if i do longer audio call on Skype its clear i loose more usage time and vice versa but again I do get closer to the 6hour mark
  12. rainking macrumors 6502


    Aug 12, 2011
    Johnson City, NY
    Firefox will use more juice then safari. Switch browsers and see your battery go back up.
  13. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Use Safari as browser, and don't install flash. For the few times I actually want to access a flash website, I start Chrome, and quit it once I'm done. Flash is just incredibly bad for battery life, and I think Lion and/or the Sandy Bridge CPUs with their turbo boost actually make it even worse. And it's not just watching videos... small stuff like Live tickers and of course ads on many websites are flash based and will eat your battery!

    Other than that, I don't do anything to actively increase my battery life. The screen is set to 12/16, which I consider comfortable, and the keyboard backlight is set to automatically switch on/off. I also rely on Apple's implementation of the GPU switch and don't mess around with that.

    With the above I get 6-7 hours of wireless web browsing, which includes having many tabs open, viewing and downloading pdf documents, and similar tasks.

    If you want to monitor the battery more closely, you can install CoconutBattery. It tells you the current power usage (in Watts), and whether your battery is healthy. I usually run between 10 Watts and 13 Watts, which gives me the above 6-7 hours. If you're closer to 20 Watts, this will cut the battery lifetime in half obviously.
  14. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    Are you using GFXCardStatus to keep your GPU on the integrated card? If not, firefox is turning on your dedicated graphics, which explains the drop in battery life.
  15. Max(IT) Suspended


    Dec 8, 2009
    I do confirm. For some reasons Firefox is activating the discrete graphics instead of integrated while web browsing ...
  16. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    firefox and chrome have always done that, and probably always will.
  17. Max(IT) Suspended


    Dec 8, 2009
    nevertheless is annoying ;)
  18. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Strictly for good battery life browsing the web, use Safari. Chrome and Firefox suck battery life like there is no tomorrow even though they are faster than Safari in some instances.

    Other things to check is whether you scroll around websites a lot or cycle through pages a lot. Typically, you can get past the 5 hours mark only if you read a single web page for at least 10 - 15 minutes before moving on to the next.

    Also last but not least, it depends on which Early 2011 MBP you got... 8,2 has 2 models. One has a Radeon HD 6490M GPU and the other has a 6750M GPU. The 6750M consumes roughly twice the amount of power the 6490M does, and it puts out twice the amount of heat as well. In retrospect, that means under some cases, the 6750M model can suck up to 25% more battery on average than the 6490M model while putting out more heat, which also affects battery.

    I think the 10-hour claims are those from the 6490M model instead of the 6750M, so if you have the 6750M, it's not surprising. Use gfxCardStatus to force the machine to use the Intel HD GPU on battery instead. I think you'll have much better battery life.
  19. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    The 10 hour claims were on the 2010 model, and also based on a different measure.

    7 hours wireless web with Safari and no flash, medium brightness is what apple claims. This works out very well for me, and I switch pages like crazy, and usually I am above medium brightness.

    edit: forgot to mention, I have the 6750 GPU in the late 2011 model. Since I stick to Safari, it's not being used while browsing. I do not manually disable it!
  20. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Yeah, Safari doesn't try to switch to discrete as far as I know.

    It's only when certain Flash contents appear that the discrete GPU kicks in, which is when the difference between the 6490M and 6750M really shows (noticeable fan noise for one), but otherwise, if Click-to-Flash is used, there should be no difference between the two.

    In fact, I'd still advise that gfxCardStatus be used. The Intel HD GPU is more than enough to handle Flash, and Click-to-Flash doesn't have to be installed then.
  21. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    If you use gfxCardStatus to force integrated, battery life doesn't decrease. I've gotten better life with chrome on integrated than safari, and it's markedly faster.

    Seconded. my integrated GPU can handle 1080p youtube without breaking a sweat/turning on the fans.
  22. miker2209 macrumors regular


    Jan 2, 2010
    Are you using Lion? Do your friends have Lion or SL ?
  23. ssn637, Dec 17, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011

    ssn637 macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2009
    If you've upgraded to Lion that may explain the problem. There's a huge discussion over at the Apple Support Community regarding this issue:


    I had to revert to Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro 13" after suffering a 2 -3 hour loss in battery endurance with Lion. My battery's health also plummeted to below 80% in just a few days and had to be replaced. Many users have reported similar drops in battery life even when no discrete GPU is a factor. But I'm confident that Apple is working on a solution just like they did with IOS 5 and the new iPhone 4s.
  24. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    if you are on Lion, OP, reset your SMC and NVRAM. Although the NVRAM shouldn't do anything, I experienced a huge ride in battery life after I do this. I do it after every SMC and EFI update, as well as major operating system updates.
  25. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    PRAM/NVRAM has nothing to do with battery/power/charging issues. Resetting it will not help. Only resetting the SMC addresses such issues.


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