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article imageApple removes MacBook 'time remaining' battery life estimate

By James Walker     Dec 14, 2016 in Technology
Apple has responded to the widespread complaints about the battery performance of its new MacBook Pro PC by removing the "time remaining" estimate from macOS. Some users have criticised Apple for silencing the complaints by hiding the inaccurate figure.
Prior to this week's macOS 10.12.2 update, clicking the battery icon in the status bar provided an estimate of a MacBook's remaining charge duration. Apple has now removed the fly-out, leaving users with just the percentage reading to work out how long is left.
The change came shortly after a round of negative Apple publicity. Customers have been complaining that the new MacBook Pro isn't capable of achieving the battery life claims made on Apple's website. The company quotes an average of around 10 hours of regular usage. According to discussion threads online, actually reaching the figure isn't easy.
It's thought that Apple has axed the time remaining estimate because some users may be relying on it for accurate readings. Software estimates of battery life can change rapidly as they adjust to how the hardware is being used. It's common for the readings to drop by several minutes or even hours if a demanding application is launched after a period of inactivity.
The change has been criticised by some users who note that while the reading is inaccurate it does help to identify major changes in energy use. Rival operating systems, including Microsoft's Windows 10 and many Linux distributions, continue to provide run time estimates.
According to Apple, the update improves "the stability, compatibility and performance" of Mac computers. It advised all users should install the update. The removal of the battery life estimate isn't publicly mentioned.
This isn't the first time Apple has "solved" a MacBook Pro problem in an unusual manner. In November, it responded to complaints about the laptop's lack of ports by slashing the prices of all its accessory dongles.
The MacBook Pro has been criticised by some users and industry professionals for failing to live up to its "pro" name and leaving out features used daily by creators. Despite the controversy, the laptop has got off to a very strong start and is selling well.
Apple's new macOS update comes with a few other changes besides the battery life behaviour. There's also a fix for a nasty graphics bug that's been affecting some users. Impacted devices are left with flickering displays that exhibit artifacting, tearing and checkerboard patterns due to a driver issue that's now resolved.
Additionally, Apple has tweaked the behaviour of some iCloud features, enhanced Bluetooth audio quality and enabled taking screenshots of the MacBook Pro's new Touch Bar.
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