It seems that Apple’s latest operating system for desktops, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, has also introduced some nifty bugs besides a collection of heart-winning features. As more and more users complain, Mountain Lion decreases battery life of every portable device with up to 50%. Although the information comes straight from the forums, some have actually set up a testing procedure to prove the glitch and it seems that Apple is in deep trouble this time.

Is there really a Mac OS X 10.8 battery bug?

Well, after analyzing the on-going discussion between more than 300 members of the official Apple forum, it seems that not every copy of Mountain Lion may bear the battery curse. We are not yet sure what part of the software is truly affecting the battery consumption rate, but by the looks of it, the bug has nothing to do with the hardware found in any Mac notebook but solely to the software (the operating system).

While some users say that after installing Mountain Lion the battery life actually increased, more and more complains are received affirming the exact opposite aspect. Most of the users experiencing the battery bug claim that their device can only run half the period that it was supposed or, even worse. Take a look of the most noteworthy testimonies:

  • Battery used to last all day easily on a 13″ MBP with room to spare. Its now 3:30, I have used it less than normal and I am at 5% left.
  • I can visably see the battery draining. In fact when I first started writing this post my battery was at 96% and now, three sentences later, without doing anything else, and without having any other applications running, my battery life is at 91%
  • I just unplugged it and in the past 30 minutes, my battery life has dropped to 77%. This is on a mid-2011 MBA with Spotlight disabled.
  • Snow Leopard had great battery life. Lion sucked it down to about 5 hours. Mountain Lion has dropped that down to about 4.5. I might as well install Windows 7 on it.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It seems that although some try to blame the huge battery consumption rate on 3rd party software, like Safari, the CPU and memory performance percentage has never escalated.

Testing proves it

Chris Foresman of ArsTechnica has tested the “white lion” himself and the results were more than expected. When using a MacBook Pro with Retina Display and a HD4000 GPU with applications that are used in a day-to-day experience, such as Chrome, Twitter, Colloquy, Photoshop, Mail, Outlook and others in that category, Foresman’s battery has dropped from 8 hours to 5. During the test, the quad-core processor was below five percent, excepting the small 20% peaks when a new application was opened and things of this sort.

Moreover, one forum user has contacted Apple and asked for an explication, receiving indeed the confirming answer: it seems that an update will soon be launched via the Mac App Store and will fix the problems, for anyone owning a MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air devices. This is not something new for Apple’s products, as in the past, we have also written about the fact that iOS 5.1 might be a cause for battery drain.

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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.


3 thoughts on “Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Decreases Battery Life, Users Complain

  1. It took me 2 days to get my Mountain Lion account working “properly”. The vast majority of the issues seem to be related to iCloud. I had processes running at 90% CPU and more. Fan was running and battery was draining.

    The reason I blame iCloud is as follows:

    I have 2 Macs and 2 iOS devices. I wanted to synchronize Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, and Notes. Nothing else. Most of use (self included) would think this is pretty easy, but not always.

    Contacts: When I put my Contacts on the iCloud, a handful of my iPad Contacts became corrupted (about 12 out of 200). There was no way to edit (or delete) these contacts because the EDIT button was missing when viewing the Contact. I tried several methods, and was just about to Factory Reset my iPad when I finally got things working. Sadly, a day later I noticed some other corruption in the accounts (email addresses from one contact were found in a few other contacts… yikes. Fortunately, I was able to search/edit for these errors and fix them.

    At one point, all of my contacts were doubled (two of everything). Then I found corruption in about 12 out of 200 contacts which I could not edit out or delete. I saw two processes running on my Mac at 90% which ran indefinitely (process names both contained the word “Address’ so I assume they were related to iCloud trying to Sync my Contacts). When I disabled Contacts from iCloud, the processes stopped. I think what was happening is that iCloud was unable to successfully sync, and therefore kept trying again and again… hence the CPU usage and battery drain.

    Where’s the roadmap?

    As I mentioned earlier, I had multiple IOS and MAC devices. Where’s the roadmap for this. If you dig enough you might come across a few Apple notes but seriously… some basic guidance in the setup would go a long way Apple.

    Here’s what I learned (or should I say what I wish somebody had told me before I went to Mountain Lion and iCloud):

    1. AppleID: One for iTunes, and One for EACH person in your family. (otherwise, your kids might receive your text messages in iMessage).

    2. iCloud: One for each Family Member. When setting up notes, you are forced to create an iCloud address. If you already have one Apple will still insist on you created a new one. This seems stupid, but you just have to get over it eventually (it took me a couple hours of research before finally caved in a create a 2nd iCloud email address which I will never use. Uhg!)

    3. Add one item at a time to iCloud (Contacts, Calendar, Notes, etc).

    4. Email: I have not techniques to offer. Based on my experience with Contacts, I am unwilling to risk corrupting or losing important email, so I’ve elected to NOT put these on the iCloud.

    Lastly, I will say that my experience with MTN LION was a bit of a disaster. I lost two days of my life getting it working properly. I put the blame squarely on two things: (1) Lack of guidance from Apple. (2) Lack of testing prior to release.

    There are still some issues with MTN LION and iCLOUD that I’m ignoring for now (like iMessage putting my TXT in random order instead of chronological order. Ugh!). I’m hoping Apple’s silence about the release is because they realize they’ve made a mistake and are working hard on a fix for all of the issues.

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