Apple Might Be Covering Up a Huge MacBook Battery Issue

Apple is no stranger to battery problems. Users have long complained about iPhone batteries conking out prematurely; in fact, the 6s had such egregious battery issues that the company has been issuing replacements to customers. Now, it seems the brand-new MacBook Pro may have some big battery issues of its own, and rumor has it Apple deployed a tiny change in the macOS update to conceal it.

mac os x sierra
Screenshot via Mac OS X

According to chatter on MacRumors, the latest update for macOS comes packed with some key bug fixes for new MacBook Pro users, but also slyly tweaks the battery indicator icon. If you've already updated to Sierra 10.12.2, you'll notice that when you click on the battery indicator in the upper-right corner, it no longer measures your remaining battery life in an amount of time (i.e., "8:15 Remaining") but rather by percentage -- much like the iPhone's battery indicator does.

This may seem like a pretty innocuous change, but it could also be Apple's way of skirting around the new laptop's disappointing battery performance. Buyers have been complaining about getting significantly less than 10 hours of battery life, which is the amount Apple said the MacBook Pro was capable of during its much-hyped debut in October.

Apple says it made the change because the indicator's time estimates weren't accurate. Apparently it wasn't able to keep up with the dynamic ways in which we use our computers, e.g., which apps are running or in use at the moment, whether you're streaming or downloading something, etc. But on the other hand, Apple claims the percentage indicator is accurate? Hmmm.

As several commenters on MacRumors point out, the timing of this tweak is more than a little suspicious, and could easily be interpreted as a way to cover up a problem rather than deal with it head-on. If that is what it's doing, it's not only a sheisty move, but laughably lazy.

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist and running at about 75% at the moment.