Calls for Apple to Bring iPhone-Style Low Power Mode to MacBooks

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Following rumors of a performance-boosting "Pro Mode" coming in the next update to macOS Catalina, developer Marco Arment has argued that Apple should bring an iPhone-style Low Power Mode to MacBooks as well.


Since iOS 9, Apple has included a Low Power Mode on iPhones that reduces the amount of power that the device uses when the battery gets low, and Arment this week shared his experience with his own self-styled equivalent for macOS.

His method involves the use of a third-party app called Turbo Boost Switcher Pro that enables users to disable Intel Turbo Boost on a Mac's processor. According to Arment, disabling Turbo Boost has increased his 16-inch MacBook Pro's battery life by an estimated 30-50 percent and made it "a much better laptop" the vast majority of the time he uses it.

With Turbo Boost disabled, peak CPU power consumption drops by 62%, with a correspondingly huge reduction in temperature. This has two massive benefits:
  • The fans never audibly spin up. When Turbo Boost is enabled, the fans annoyingly spin up every time the system is under a heavy sustained load. Disable it, and it's almost impossible to get them to be audible.
  • It runs significantly cooler. Turbo Boost lets laptops get too hot to comfortably hold in your lap, and so much heat radiates out that it can make hands sweaty. Disable it, and the laptop only gets moderately warm, not hot, and hands stay comfortably dry.
Arment claims that despite the reduction in processing power, his MacBook Pro is "still fast enough to do everything I need (including significant development with Xcode)." His only concern is that the app which allows him to enjoy these benefits is on borrowed time: Turbo Boost Switcher Pro relies on a legacy kernel extension that likely won't be supported in future versions of macOS.
"I suspect that this is the last year I'll get to run the latest OS and be able to turn off Turbo Boost at will, making all of my future laptop usage significantly worse," says Arment.

An iPhone's Low Power Mode reduces battery usage by disabling background app refreshing and automatic downloads, locking the screen after 30 seconds, and via other methods. Would you be happy to see an optional Low Power Mode in a future version of macOS, too? Let us know in the comments.

Article Link: Calls for Apple to Bring iPhone-Style Low Power Mode to MacBooks
 
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fokmik

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Oct 28, 2016
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yes, i think this will be the "pro mode"
By default the pro mode will be on...and when you turn it off will enter in low power mode/normal mode when you can save some battery when you needed
So the 16" MBP can last 9-10 hours with normal use, but for light use you dont need everything so under "low power mode" can save last you 1-2 more hours
 
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Steve121178

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Apr 13, 2010
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I use mine via the AC Adapter 99% of the time. I'd like more cores & power on my 13" MacBook Pro not less. But as long as it lasts 5-10+ hours on battery then that should suit most people.

However, a low power mode already exists, just dim the screen!

According to iStat on my machine, OneDrive is highly inefficient and causes frequent CPU throttling. Maybe software companies getting their sh*t together would help battery life?
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
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It wouldn't need a low power mode if the MBP able to offer an all-week battery life.
Battery life isn't the only benefit, mainly heat and fan noise, which can really improve the experience of using the machine.

Most workflows don't even need a powerful processor so there is usually a lot of potential energy, heat and noise that can be avoided without the user noticing any difference in performance.
 

axcess99

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2005
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That TurboBoostSwitcher looks interesting.

Presuming it can't be done through mac app store, the site could use some work. The free link is buried in the middle of the page. The buy button is "I want this", which is an unexpected wording. Wish it was more like $5 than $10, but given the free version exists to try can't complain too much.
 
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jclardy

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Oct 6, 2008
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I’d say low power mode and low data mode. I’m not entirely sure how they would go about implementing it for the mac, given how many different configurations there can be. But low data could just be that any process that isn’t user initiated gets a throttled internet connection. And maybe they have a monitor view where you can see what apps are trying to upload/download what data and either approve or deny them.
 

Daniel James

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Sep 24, 2019
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I have a 2014 MacBook Air which is fairly aged. I’d love to see a low power mode on it as it’d save me charging the battery constantly and seeing it get hot when processing a lot of things.
 
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jb510

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2007
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MacOS would definitely benefit from a built in low power mode switch to extend battery life.

For a long time I used https://gfx.io/ which is very similar but different (and no longer works/supported). The problem there was once the dGPU was active it used way more power, even at rest, than the integrate GPU so forcing off the dGPU made a massive difference in battery life.

im going to give Turbo Boost Switcher Pro a try on my shiny new 16”
 

Saturnine

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Oct 23, 2005
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No. I don’t want Pro Mode or Low Power mode.

The reason I’ve been a Mac user rather than a Windows user for the past 20 years was because a Mac historically “just worked.” They were computers to do work on.

I want my computer to intelligently adapt itself to what I’m doing. I want it to manage its own updates. I just don’t want it to bother me and I don’t want to have to spend any time configuring or maintaining it.
 

iBluetooth

macrumors regular
Mar 29, 2016
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No. I don’t want Pro Mode or Low Power mode.

The reason I’ve been a Mac user rather than a Windows user for the past 20 years was because a Mac historically “just worked.” They were computers to do work on.

I want my computer to intelligently adapt itself to what I’m doing. I want it to manage its own updates. I just don’t want it to bother me and I don’t want to have to spend any time configuring or maintaining it.
You won't have to change this, but others may want to
 

bsbeamer

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Sep 19, 2012
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IF both low power and and pro mode are released as OS options for MBP16,1 it does signal a new shift from Apple at actually listening to pro user requests and needs. Maybe we can also get a Core i9 desktop machine with 128GB+ RAM option?
 
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aero7

macrumors newbie
Oct 12, 2011
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I'm with Marco on this one, what would be great is if you could not just disable Turbo Boost, but manually enable that mode the MacBooks go into when they are running out of battery (after you get the battery warning and battery icon in the menu bar turns red). In the past that mode was too slow to seriously work, it just made you plug it in, but with the current CPUs it's fast enough most of the time and it quiets and cools down the laptop significantly.
 
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MakeAppleAwesomeAgain

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Nov 21, 2016
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iOS has all this Metal Machine Learning nonsense, it can predict my daily routine better than me but they still can't figure out how to automate low-power or Turbo mode. It's just like disk defragmentation and other Windows-like stuff, no end user should ever have to worry about that. I buy Apple products because of the 'it-just-works' promise, not to be the manager of some CPU power state.
 

ruslan120

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2009
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Components automatically scale. Disabling Turbo is just silly. Low power mode is silly (unless it’s actually just a script that kills low priority applications.

Energy = Power * Time

If your processor temporarily uses more power over less time then total energy is lower. It’s called “race to the finish” and it’s actually an interesting read.

For those that disable Turboboost, you’re lowering the power but increasing the time it takes to complete tasks, potentially increasing Energy use. To illustrate component scaling, download Intel Power Gadget and observe how during non-use the processor scales all the way down.

tl;dr Can Apple make a low power mode, yes. Should it? No. Should it be better at power management under the hood? Yes.
 

-BigMac-

macrumors 68000
Apr 15, 2011
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So any developer making any suggestion is front page news on macrumors?

I used to hold a developer account.

Please write article that I think Apple
macbook Pros should be thicker and heavier, so they can put far superior processors, more space, and better graphics inside the machine.

Also, completely user upgradeable.


Because most pros dont care as much about lifting 0.2kg less, as halving the speed of their workflow.
 

JosephAW

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May 14, 2012
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I miss the days of having the low and high setting in energy saver that was for the RISC processors. Maybe a single core mode for the newer x86 chipset?

Be nice to see an option in iOS where when it's on battery it's in lower power mode and when plugged in higher. I just wish they get rid of the screen dimming when warm or at least have a toggle switch.
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2009
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So any developer making any suggestion is front page news on macrumors?

I used to hold a developer account.

Please write article that I think Apple
macbook Pros should be thicker and heavier, so they can put far superior processors, more space, and better graphics inside the machine.

Also, completely user upgradeable.


Because most pros dont care as much about lifting 0.2kg less, as halving the speed of their workflow.
I agree with your points about the MacBook Pro but I like reading more articles from MR, even if they are less relevant to some
 
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recoil80

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Jul 16, 2014
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I'd really like low power mode on macOS. I remember I used to do like Marco and force my Intel CPU to the minimum clock speed in Linux a few years ago and I was able to save power while using my laptop to code.
I'm not bothered by fan noise, but being able to save battery when I can't plug it in to charge would be really useful in some scenario.