OS X Mountain Lion battery glitch makes Apple users roar

OS X Mountain Lion battery glitch makes Apple users roar

Summary: Hundreds of Mac OS X users who upgraded to the newest Mountain Lion release are complaining the update has cut battery life short, in some cases by as much as 50 percent

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People upgrading their Mac hardware to the newest version of the OS X operating system, called Mountain Lion, have been complaining on Apple's forum that the update has significantly reduced the battery life of their devices.

Mountain Lion
Apple users have been complaining of battery life on machines upgraded to Mountain Lion. Image credit: CNET News

The Mountain Lion update was released on 25 July but early upgraders almost immediately took to Apple's support forum to complain of massively increased battery drain, even when the computer was not really in use.

"I upgraded to mountain Lion and now my battery life is about half of what it was before upgrading. Shouldn't the update improve battery life? Also, what can I do about this?" a MacBook Pro owner with the user name 'jpengland96' asked.

Despite the problem seemingly affecting a sizable number of Mac hardware owners that have made the upgrade — the original support thread has currently been viewed more than 33,000 times, has more than 550 replies and is spread across 39 pages — no fix for the problem has been forthcoming and the problem persists to date.

"I've had the same problem for the last 10 days after upgrading to Mountain Lion. I have a MacBook Pro 15-inch mid 2010. I also had about 7 hours of battery life before upgrading from Lion to Mountain Lion, now the most I can get is about 4.5 hours. Also, my MacBook sometimes runs noticeably hotter, particularly if using Google Chrome," a user with the screen name of 'david907' wrote on Tuesday.

"I have always been very happy with this great MacBook, but now I'm decidedly unhappy — I was about to purchase the new Retina MacBook Pro, but have changed my mind, at least until Apple fix this software," he added.

Apple had not replied to a request for comment or confirmation that it was looking into the issue at the time of writing.

Topics: Apple, Operating Systems

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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55 comments
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  • Hasn't affected mine at all...

    Hasn't affected mine at all, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was caused by some software they have installed that isn't completely compatible thats using up too much CPU time due to some bug in it, and not in Mountain Lion... especially if the whole machine is running hotter.
    doh123
    • You're probably holding it wrong

      Get with the program
      sagec
    • read before posting ill informed comments please

      @doh123 - Did you read the support forums? T

      The vast majority of people there are talking about this happening after a CLEAN install. It's got nothing to do with incompatible apps. There are no apps there to be incompatible in the first place. What we have discovered so far is as follows:

      1) For those not on the 'CLEAN' install, Dropbox seems to be a problem. Apple tech have been recommending update or removal. This has given many users ~1 - 1.5hr battery life back. Even then, the performance is still less than that of Lion.

      2) SMC and PRAM resets are not solving the problem.

      3) Many people have had these type of problems this time last year with Lion.

      4) Some users have reported removing a bash script has helped.

      5) For nearly everyone who has found a workaround, it's only been temporary and reverts back to the drainage problem again after a while.

      6) Some people have reported odd kernel behaviour such as repeated FATAL errors in the console.

      7) Some have reported installing on 2 or 3 different portables and having the same issue.

      8) Some people are even reporting buying rMBP's and having the issue on them too.

      Please at least try to read the forums next time to become better acquainted with the issues faced. We're not all idiots and noobs you know. Some of us with the problem are mac 'tech' people and know what we're doing.

      If you're saying you don't have the problem, please post your model, year and specs for comparison to help narrow things down a little. Assisting others in finding the problem would be better than being dismissive.
      readb4postingplease
      • And yet if a few hunderd

        Out of a few million have an issue, it's a major problem? My battery life is actually slightly better (on average 50 minutes per charge). I'm sure we can find a few Thousand users with a similar verifiable bonus. Having a few hundred Microsoft paid Astroturfers, flood a support forum is nothing new at all. Evryone I know has either the same battery life, or better. Yet I'm waiting for this to get a -gate name, being Microsoft need to have the negative attention shifted away from their "Metrosexual OS"...
        Jumpin Jack Flash
        • Riiiiiiiight.....

          Erm, ok. So you actually think Microsoft has 'paid' a few hundred people to post false reports in the Support Community about this issue?

          How about this then. With the exception of ONE person, everyone else I know who updated (~25 people) are all reporting the same problem. Maybe I should ask my friends if they work for Microsoft huh? Or the friends of friends? Maybe they all work for Microsoft and I'm the only one who doesn't...

          So far, there have been 3 million + downloads of Mountain Lion.
          Taking into account that only portables are affected and not iMacs/Mac Mini's etc then you're probably down to just over a million - if even that.

          Suddenly your figures ain't looking as good as before.

          Of COURSE there are people who have noticed a gain. Just as there were last year when the battery problems happened with Lion. Some users were unafected (inc me) and some were affected badly (inc many of my friends).

          As for proving your point, you didn't have one in the first place. The specs you posted don't *prove* anything whatsoever. The fanboi-esque comment however, does.

          So again. Please READ the forums before making baseless comments and posting conjecture.
          readb4postingplease
          • Considering 60% of all Macs sold are laptops, the number is more

            likely 2 million. 33,000 divided by 2 million is 1.2 percent.
            baggins_z
          • 33,000 what?

            Indeed. But if you READ the forum you'd see that only certain models seem to be affected.

            Anyway, 33,00 what? The numbers on the Engadget Poll? Are you saying you think that every user with a problem has a) visited the thread and/or b) participated in the Engadget poll? I doubt it. Very much.

            Anyway, not to worry if they all work for Microsoft eh?
            readb4postingplease
          • All my friends use Macs

            I have several dozen acquaintances and only one of them uses a Mac. The rest use PCs running Windows. Do you belong to a Mac fan club where the members are your only friends? If so I will pray for you that you might meet some Windows people who you could befriend.
            TACWALKER
          • Are you retarded?

            Microsoft has faked signature of dead people before, so paying some of their Astrofurfers, is bot beyond them. Also you have to see how many of the complainers signed up at the same time. Here's a hint... If they have very few posts, or they signed up within a few days, 9 out of 10 times they're paid astroturfers.
            Jumpin Jack Flash
        • Microsoft paid astroturfers

          OMG...are you really that stupid?
          TACWALKER
          • No but apparently you are

            If you think Microsoft wouldn't stoop to that... Remember "Freedom to Innovate"? Signatures from dead people, Microsoft's tactic. How about "True confessions of a Mac to PC switcher"? Again faked, by Microsoft. How about "Laptop hunters"? More faked "true stories". then there's always "Smoked by Window phone" where even if the competitors phone wins, Microsoft changes the rules to disqualify the competitor... Microsoft has a long, and documented, history of dubious behavior. When someone dismisses Microsoft's Astroturfing campaigns, as you've done, there are only two possible reasons.
            1) You're an idiot, just a quick search, shows Microsoft's most profitable products is F.U.D.
            2) You're a blind Fanboy, that refuses to believe you religious Idols would ever do anything wrong.
            Jumpin Jack Flash
        • Errr....

          Consopiracy theorist?
          "Few" means nothing. Those are the one that know how to find Apple support [and excludes phone calls]. What about those novices out there - and there are plenty of Mac novices? You think they'll nitice a battery drain?
          Gisabun
      • Oh and just for th sake of proving my point

        Model Name: MacBook Pro
        Model Identifier: MacBookPro6,2
        Processor Name: Intel Core i7
        Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
        Number of Processors: 1
        Total Number of Cores: 2
        L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
        L3 Cache: 4 MB
        Memory: 4 GB
        Processor Interconnect Speed: 4.8 GT/s
        Boot ROM Version: MBP61.0057.B0F
        SMC Version (system): 1.58f16
        Jumpin Jack Flash
        • It is most definitely a major problem...

          When you pay 1300$ or up for a MacBook and then 20$ for an update that cuts you're battery life significantly, it IS a major problem.

          13in, late 2011 Model
          2.4 GHz i5
          silent_jon
          • My battery life increased

            As have a few of the other Notebooks (a mix of Macbooks, Macbook Pros, and Macbook Airs). I have yet to see one have the battery life cut in half. Does that mean there's a few isolated cases? No. But is it a problem the Microsoft fanboys (ie."readb4postingplease") claim? I doubt it.
            Jumpin Jack Flash
          • So says

            the paid apple astroturfer
            mrefuman
          • Stop your nonsense already!

            Your nose is so far up Apple's butt, that, you don't have time to come up for air and face the real world, where, people do actually notice problems and report them, and don't keep their mouths shut in hope of not hurting Apple's feelings or those of its fanatical and delusional faithful followers.

            You are one of the biggest representatives of the religion known as Apple, and, Apple is a god to you, for whom you'd likely sacrifice your first born and your mother. Do try to get out of Apple's behind, and come up for air, and then, you can probably get a life.
            adornoe
          • I don't get any problems..........

            I got MBP 13in late 2011 Model and 2.4GHz i5. Last two weeks ago I upgraded to Mountain Lion and never cut my battery life! First I searched google to help me how to upgrade e.g. what to do before upgrade like Disk Utility, remove programs, etc. I found out..... I use disk utility to make sure if my HDD got any problems and they found 6 problems on my HDD so I click "Repair Disk" then my HDD has been repaired then I clicked "Verify Disk" and got no problems. I'm ready to upgrade to OS X 10.8. After upgraded, I recheck Disk Utility "Verify Disk" and got no problems. Everything was great. I'm very happy with OS X 10.8.
            MacPaduser
      • Some users have reported removing a bash script has helped

        What script? What does the script do?

        For example, removing a script that contains (provided it is run):

        #!/bin/bash
        while true;do echo -n ""; done

        certainly takes one core from my CPU and drains the battery faster...
        My MBA runs at around 20W with it and eventually gets hot, etc.
        Without the "bash script" it's back to about 8W (with a dozen ZDNET tabs open with flash and discussion threads).

        I could run it twice of course, to use any remaining cycles from the second core, as well...
        danbi
        • Again, read.

          If you read the forum you'll see exactly which bash script the Apple Tech advised the user to remove during a call Apple made to him to follow up the issue.
          readb4postingplease