eXtensions - Thursday 26 January 2017

Cassandra: Menu Bar Battery Panel Screen Power-use icon with Update to macOS 10.12.3

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


The recent macOS update to version 10.12.3 had a nice little change with regard to the power use. With the limited battery size of the new MacBook Pro, Apple has come in for some criticism, particularly when the 10.12.2 update removed an option in the battery display panel that showed time remaining.

That had never been accurate in my opinion and simply showed a snapshot of the expectation at that time. A few minutes later, the time would have changed (up or down) depending on different circumstances, such as files opened or Safari tabs used. I had always referred to the percentage figure which gave a more accurate estimate of the amount of power remaining.

It is clear whether the Time or Percentage options were being used that certain actions (features, applications) would drain the battery quicker. Apple, for example, gives its estimates of battery life using basic apps and with the screen brightness turned down.

As the screen does use more power when at full brightness, it is good to see that with this week's update, a brightness icon is now added to the items shown in the battery menu bar panel to items Using Significant Energy. This is shown if the current screen brightness settings are using more power than may be necessary for the conditions. Clicking on the icon, reduces screen brightness and the icon is no longer visible in that menu.

Battery condition Battery condition

I have already used this a couple of times and the effect on reducing brightness is instant although the difference makes the screen appear dull and I feel like I want to turn it back up a little. It may take some more time to judge its effect on Power use.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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