Poor MacBook battery life? Apple suggests you... lower screen brightness

As you’ve probably seen in recent times, there’s been a fair old hoo-hah regarding the battery life some users have experienced with the new MacBook Pros, and with the latest beta of macOS Sierra, Apple has added another measure to warn users exactly where that rapidly diminishing power level may be going.

As MacRumors reports, the latest beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.3 has a new addition to the battery menu, a feature labelled ‘Display Brightness’ which pops up when screen brightness is set over 75%. Clicking on it will automatically lower that brightness level to 75%.

In other words, this is a simple flag to show that you’re running the display at a very bright level which is impacting battery longevity negatively.

This follows a previous move with the battery menu whereby apps that are being demanding and using a lot of power are listed, also bringing them to the user’s attention (and allowing for them to be closed if they’re not critical to whatever is being done on the machine at the time).

The latter is certainly a sensible and useful feature, although telling folks to turn their brightness down a bit could certainly be seen as a rather cheeky move by Apple. Still, it could be useful if you’ve forgotten what brightness level you’ve left your notebook on.

Brandishing the hatchet

All this comes, as we mentioned, after a lot of controversy regarding the new MacBook Pro’s battery, which was initially criticized by a good number of users across the net for coming nowhere near its claimed (up to) 10 hours. Then Consumer Reports got the hatchet out and refused to recommend Apple’s laptops for the first time in its history thanks to very inconsistent battery test results.

However, a bug in the Safari browser which Apple fixed (as we reported last week) was apparently to blame for these poor results, and Consumer Reports has since accepted this was the case, reversing course and now recommending the new MacBook Pro.

Even so, there’s still negative speculation regarding the batteries in these laptops, following chatter that Apple changed the power packs it was using at the last minute due to time pressures (dropping back to an older battery). For those MacBook Pro users who have hit problems with longevity, hearing this rumor – which makes it sound like Apple had a deadline scramble to put things right – didn’t exactly fill them with confidence.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).