Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Improves Battery Life?
When was the last time an operating system update gave you more battery life? I can’t remember that ever happening, but here I am running the dev preview of Mac OS X Lion and I have longer battery life than I do running another OS.
I can’t vouch for all Macs, but on my MacBook Air 11.6″ base model with the screen brightness set to half and running Mac OS X 10.7 Lion it’s squeezing out 8 hours of battery life with 91% charge remaining. That is about an hour longer than Apples suggested max battery life on the 11.6″ Air, and nearly 3 hours longer than I get in 10.6 Snow Leopard under similar usage conditions.
It was just last week that I took a screenshot of battery life in this menubar tip. This is the same MacBook Air, same brightness settings, same apps open, the only difference is Mac OS X 10.6.6, where it shows 5 hours of battery remaining at a 95% charge:
Is this just a fluke? Maybe Lion calculates remaining battery life differently, or maybe there is a fundamental change in how Mac OS X Lion manages power? I don’t have an answer, but my anecdotal evidence shows that I get significantly more battery life out of Lion Developer Preview than I do in Snow Leopard. I’ve continued to test this and even after increasing machine activity, CPU load, and screen brightness, the MacBook Air continues to show the same results.
The more I use the developer preview, the more I like it. If you’re a developer and you haven’t used it yet, install Lion on another partition and dual boot your Mac, there isn’t much to lose. For the rest of you, you can either register for the developer program and pay $99 for access, or you can just wait until Summer for the release and watch this 16 minute Mac OS X 10.7 video walkthrough in the meantime to get a good feel for the new OS.