Quickly Find What App(s) Are Using & Draining Battery on a MacBook

Feb 19, 2014 - Leave a Comment

Find what is using MacBook battery

Batteries on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are made to offer many hours of work on a single charge. Unfortunately, sometimes apps get in the way of our wonderful Mac battery life, often without a user even noticing until suddenly their battery life has been drained dramatically. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way, because OS X provides a very easy way to see exactly what’s using battery (well, energy), which you can then take whatever action is necessary to resolve.

The MacBook Air/Pro will need to be running OS X 10.9 or newer to have this option available within the menu bar, assuming that’s the case, here’s how you can check what’s using battery on any portable Mac:

  • Pull down the battery menu bar item from the top corner of the screen and look under the “Apps Using Significant Energy” section, and then do one of the following:
  • Go to the app listed, save your work, then quit the app, or address the action taking power in that app

See what app is using battery in Mac OS X

Saving any data from the apps listed under “Apps Using Significant Energy” and then quitting those apps is usually the best solution. This preserves your data and work, and then exits out of the app that was draining battery. If the app listed is a web browser, as shown in the screen shot, look for active web browser tabs or windows that are using things like Flash, animation, video, or AJAX, and close those if possible.

Of course, sometimes you’ll find the “App Using Energy” is the one you’re using and thus can’t do much about, or can’t quit it until you’ve completed the task at hand. If that’s the case, you may want to refer to more specific battery tips that can help to extend the battery longevity of all MacBooks.

It’s worth mentioning that selecting the app from the battery menu will launch into the Activity Monitor, which allows users to take further advanced action, usually killing apps or processes selectively. For energy purposes, that’s best handled in another article, but if you’re comfortable force quitting apps in OS X you’ll probably already know what to do.

As mentioned, this feature is limited to OS X Mavericks 10.9 and newer, and is one of the reasons that portable Mac users may want to upgrade to Mavericks if they’re on an older version of OS X, because it really can help to improve battery life quite a bit by providing quickly actionable information.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

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