Graph of Typical 11 percent Battery Drain Over Night

How’s that MacBook Pro Battery Problem Going?

graph of Typical 11 Battery Drain Over Night from iStat Menus
Typical 11% Battery Drain Over Night

It’s been a while since I gave you an update on my seemingly never-ending battery saga with my 14” M1 Max MacBook Pro. I haven’t talked about it because I’ve hit an impasse with Apple.

Allow me to do a quick recap to bring everyone up to speed. I bought the MacBook Pro in October of 2021, the day they were released. Within a few months, I noticed that the battery life was nothing like the promised “Up to 11 hours wireless web.”

After several months of working with Apple, they gave me a new battery and at the same time politely erased my machine. I did a clean install of all my apps and within a very short time, my battery life was nothing like that promised.

In April of 2023, I began taking metrics as I worked with Apple. The laptop gets around 6 hours of battery on “wireless web”, which is amazing compared to an Intel machine, but it’s barely half of what it should be getting. Every person I’ve spoken to at Apple have said that this isn’t right.

My main concern is that while using the laptop I lose 15% per hour. But what became more interesting during our testing was that it also loses 15% overnight when it’s asleep. This happens when it’s disconnected from power and all peripherals.

Over 23 phone calls and visits to Apple, we’ve tested on different networks. We’ve tested with and without iCloud logged in. It happens without Time Machine. It happens with sharing services disabled. We removed all of my Internet Accounts. We tested it with WiFi disabled. We ran Malware Bytes (which was actually recommended by Apple).

Finally, we installed a fresh version of macOS Ventura on a new APFS Volume, transferred none of my apps, settings, or data, and logged into iCloud … and it lost 14% over 12 hours while asleep. When it was logged out of iCloud, the MacBook Pro lost 0% overnight while sleeping.

It seemed to me that the clean install on a separate Volume really pointed to hardware. Apple seemed to agree because at that point I discovered the engineer that was working behind the scenes on this was on the software side, and he threw it over to the hardware engineering side. But that was in May and we’re no closer to figuring out the root cause than we were in April.

At this point, Apple Engineering have declared that the only solution is for me to do a full nuke and pave where I don’t migrate any apps or settings. They have not given me a satisfactory explanation of why this is any different than the clean install they had me do on a separate Volume though.

As you know, I’m actually a fan of doing a nuke and pave of my Macs on an annual basis, and since macOS Sonoma is right around the corner, I figure it’s worth a shot.

But what I do have a problem with is what they’re telling me to do after the clean install. They want me to install each of my apps, one by one, and after each app install, to run a battery test. They say this is the only way we’ll know which of my apps is causing the problem.

Let’s do a little bit of math here. I have 181 apps installed on my MacBook Pro, and we know Apple preinstall 40 apps, which means I have to do 141 battery tests. I’ve been doing the tests overnight where it loses 15%, so that means I have to test for 141 days. That could be as much as FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS OF TESTING!

As I said earlier, Apple have not given me any reason why doing a full clean install on my Mac is any different from doing it on a new Volume. But I had the opportunity to talk to a friend of mine who recently retired from Apple working on the server side of the business, and he said that at a very low level, there is a difference. That’s the only reason I am going to follow their instructions.

Margo, the wonderful and dedicated Apple Senior Advisor who has been with me for so many months has suggested that we get some data before I do the reinstall of my apps that could potentially reveal something interesting for engineering.

Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and even Apple TVs can run a self-diagnostic called sysdiagnose, and the files generated are what engineering pore over to try to figure out what’s going wrong.

Over these many moons, Margo has been sending me what she calls a “Capture Data”, which is a file that contains the code to run a sysdiagnose. In all this time, I’ve always waited for her to send me the Capture Data so I can run the sysdiagnose and send the file back to her, but in my research, I’ve discovered that you can actually do it on your own. The reason you might want to know about this is because if you want to submit a bug report to Apple, adding a sysdiagnose will help them work on it for you. If they choose to look at it, of course.

You can search the web for instructions on how to run a sysdiagnose for your particular device. I also found a company called HCS Technology Group who have published a single PDF with fabulous instructions on how to run a sysdiagnose for all Apple devices. They even have pictures of the keyboard highlighting what keys to hold down or which buttons to press on other devices.

Now that I know I can run a sysdiagnose on my own without waiting for Margo to send me instructions, I can run the early tests she suggested. Here’s what she suggested I do before I start installing apps:

  1. As soon as Sonoma is available, create an installer file on an external drive
  2. Wipe my entire drive.
  3. Next install Sonoma from scratch
  4. Put the Mac to sleep for enough time to see how it does in the sleep department. It usually takes a couple of hours before I can tell if it’s draining, especially if it’s at 100% when I start. Might even have to do this overnight.
  5. After the sleep test is complete, run a sysdiagnose and send it to her
  6. Now log into iCloud
  7. Put it to sleep again for sufficient time to test whether it loses battery
  8. Run the sysdiagnose again and send both of them to her

I’ll record battery levels during this process for my own records, but then I’m free to start installing apps. It takes me about a week to get my Mac back into fighting form with all of the settings and messing around I do.

You may be wondering how I’ve been able to create the podcasts and enjoy my Mac-happy life with my MacBook Pro tied up doing battery experiments so much. A few months ago I broke down and bought an M2 MacBook Air. It’s the only reason I haven’t thrown in the towel and just lived with a $4000 laptop getting half the battery life promised.

The MacBook Air is a delightful machine and for now, my MacBook Pro is essentially a super-powerful desktop computer.

I’m anxious to do the nuke and pave of my MacBook Pro and see if we learn anything at all. I have a feeling everything will be dandy at first and then at some point, which I won’t be able to readily notice and therefore document, things will go belly up again.

I’ll see you on the other side after macOS Sonoma is released and I’ll let you know what I learn!

9 thoughts on “How’s that MacBook Pro Battery Problem Going?

  1. Dan Wieder - September 26, 2023

    It will be interesting to see what happens after installing Sonoma. I am surprised that Apple didn’t just decide to swap it with a new MacBook Pro (or refurbished one), especially after months of trying to solve the problem. If the replacement MacBook Pro didn’t show the problem, then they would have a happy customer and they could continue to test the old one if they wanted more data.

  2. Sandy - September 26, 2023

    I’ve been wondering for months why Apple hasn’t simply exchanged your MBP for a new one of the same model. This isn’t the Apple I dealt with when I had a disaster years ago. Very disappointing that they haven’t done the simple — and right! — thing.

  3. Allison Sheridan - September 26, 2023

    Dan & Sandy – Margo did ask for the Mac to be swapped out and she was denied. She’s really fighting for me but her hands are tied on this. I wish I could say with confidence that replacing it would fix the problem, but even I still wonder if it IS hardware.

  4. Dan Wieder - September 26, 2023

    It was nice that Margo tried. I believe that if you sent a note to Tim Cook, explaining all that you have gone through with and without support, that it might get swapped out. I have seen that happen numerous times, and the amount of time you have spent on it, should make it a no brainer for Apple.

  5. Allison Sheridan - September 26, 2023

    I should have mentioned that I did just that, Dan. Here’s the response I received after I wrote to Tim:

    Hello Allison,

    Thank you for your recent correspondence to Apple. Due to the nature and complexity of technical issues, Apple does not offer support through written correspondence, but we have several resources for you to explore.

    For any queries regarding your Apple products, you may also visit our Official Apple Support site at:

    We regret that you have experienced issues with your MacBook Pro. Although we are committed to providing the best experience to our customers, Apple does not warrant that the operation of the product will be uninterrupted or error-free.

    Technical support is available over the phone by calling Apple Support at 800-MY-IPHONE (800-694-7466) OR 800-MY-APPLE (800-275-2273). Help is available seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT.

    You can also provide feedback to Apple by visiting Product Feedback – Apple at:

    We appreciate your support of Apple products and services.

    Kind regards,

  6. Dan Wieder - September 26, 2023

    Wow. I didn’t expect that answer from them after everything you have been through. Thanks for the update.

  7. David Price - September 27, 2023

    I have the same MacBook Pro you have, Allison. Mine sits closed in a desktop dock about 95% of the time and plugged into a CalDigit TS4 dock. If it has battery issues I don’t notice them because I hardly ever use it on battery.

    With Podfeet you are an influencer. I would call whichever Apple PR rep deals with MacBook Pros. Explain how you’re getting the run-around and how unrealistic solutions are being suggested.

    I used to work in high-tech PR and one of the main jobs of the PR folk is to prevent negative press. It’s easier to prevent it than to try to spin around it.

  8. Ray Robertson - September 27, 2023

    Wow, Allison. What an ordeal. I wish they had provided you with a new MBP. Perhaps at some point you were tempted to buy one yourself—from a source where you know it can be returned—just to further isolate the issue? This reminds me of a situation more years ago than I care to admit when I could never get two IIfx Macs to network together. It will forever be a mystery. But I know the engineer in you really wants to figure this out. Good luck!

  9. Allison Sheridan - October 1, 2023

    David – Yeah, my MacBook Pro is pretty much a desktop now. I could probably replace it with a relatively souped-up Mac mini next time. That’s an interesting thought to talk to Apple PR, I’ve never gone down that path.

    Ray – I wish they’d given me a new MBP too, but even I can’t say that it would have fixed whatever is ailing it. I suspect my iCloud actually. In the experiments with the fresh macOS Ventura volume, when I was logged out of iCloud it didn’t lose charge over night, but when I was logged into iCloud, it did lose charge. That seemed pretty definitive to me. It doesn’t explain why the MacBook Air battery life is good though, logged into the same Apple ID.

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