Apple’s recently released 2016 USB-C MacBook Pro is one of the first laptops from the Cupertino, California-based developer to not receive a recommendation from Consumer Reports.
Back in December, the magazine reported that the MacBook Pro produced battery life between 3.75 and 19.6 hours. In my experience, I’ve had similar results with the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, with battery coming in at six to seven hours in some cases, and as low as three hours in others. The USB-C MacBook Pro we’re using that doesn’t come equipped with a Touch Bar, however, experiences much better battery life.
While I haven’t been able to pinpoint the battery issues yet, they seem to stem from what I’m actually doing with the MacBook. For example, browsing the web seems to use little battery life, while editing photos or doing light video editing, depletes it at a rapid pace.
Consumer Reports, however, has revealed that its testing methods require a browser cache to be turned of, which can lead to inconsistent battery life, according to the publication. The magazine plans to retest the laptop’s battery life, something Apple has been pushing the publication to do for the last few weeks.
Apple describes this bug as ‘obscure’ and states that it only occurs when users change the developer settings in order to turn off Safari’s browser cache.
“This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage,” Apple said in a statement. “Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life.”
Apple says it has fixed the bug and released an update in the latest version of Sierra. It’s unclear if this fix will actually solve the MacBook Pro’s battery life issues given it seems to solve a problem that only affects Consumer Reports’ testing methods..
Read Apple’s full statement on the issue below:
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Consumer Reports over the holidays to understand their battery test results. We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache. This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage. Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life. We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test. This is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made, we respect Consumer Reports and we’re glad they decided to revisit their findings on the MacBook Pro.”
Update 12/01/17: Consumer Reports has now officially recommended Apple’s latest MacBook Pros following retesting the laptops after the bug fix had been applied. Its new battery findings shows a significantly longer lifespan.