Show the Remaining Battery Time Indicator Again in OS X Mountain Lion

Aug 22, 2012 - 22 Comments

Battery Time Indicator in OS X Mountain Lion

OS X Mountain Lion changed the battery indicator for mobile Mac users, removing the option to show the remaining battery life time and instead displaying only a percentage, like iOS. For those of us who live on the go and rely heavily on battery life, knowing the actual remaining battery capacity in hours is much more meaningful than a percentage.

Rather than clicking on the battery icon every time you want to know how much time you have left before needing to plug in, download a great free (beta was free only) third party tool, appropriately called BatteryTimeApp:

BatteryTimeApp is ridiculously simple and works with both OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Lion for MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or MacBook. It’s currently in beta and offers no frills, which is perfect if all you want is to see the estimated time remaining of your portable Mac before you need to connect to a power source again.

Hopefully a future update to OS X 10.8 will bring back the indicator natively and little third party tools won’t be necessary, but until then grab it while it’s free.

Update: The app beta was free but now the developer has uploaded it to the App Store and is selling it for $1. For a similar free solution, you can download SlimBatteryMonitor.

Update 2: Another great free option also pushes battery time remaining notifications to OS X Notification Center, check it out.


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


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  1. bill n says:

    Thanks for this post! Installed Slim Bat Mon. Like it!

  2. John says:

    Get the freetrial of istat menus

    and put this command in terminal after the trial:
    rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.bjango.istatmenus.plist

    Or buy it while it is on sale! Great app!!!!

  3. Rishab says:

    This really looks a simple app and a change like this is really pointless.

  4. vdiv says:

    Why do I need another stinky app for a basic function of the OS?

  5. RigaToni says:

    This app is retarded because if you have multiple icons in the menubar to the left of the battery icon, this ‘new’ app showing the time gets placed after all of them. In other words 1) it is NOT tied to the battery status icon and 2) it is not a movable icon like the Time Machine icon, WiFi icon, etc.

    That is stupid.

  6. Istarish says: – this one seems like a nice replacement as well (and it does not cause the mess in the icons’ order).

  7. flyte44 says:

    Hold option key and click on Apple’s battery status in the menu bar. Learned a lot about the conditions that way. Hope you don’t have to replace yours soon!

  8. MizuInOz says:

    Go to System Preferences
    Click on Energy Saver
    Let your eyes wander down to the lower left side of the box (just above the pad lock thingy)
    You will see a tick box and “Show battery status in menu bar”
    Tick that box.
    You can now see your battery status by percentage, if you choose.
    Not too difficult, aye?

  9. Nic says:

    Just drag your cursor over to the Battery Icon on the bar, click once on it and Voila, you see the estimated time remaining. No need to go to preferences and some complicated stuff. It’s right there.

  10. Jerry says:

    I think removing the battery time indicator was a good thing. The remaining time indication fluctuated wildly depending on what task one is doing at the moment. At least with the percentage indicator it provides an indication as a gradual decreasing linear expression as to how much battery power remains as an expression of 100% versus 0%.

  11. Rico says:

    Are you serious?!?! I can’t believe apple did that. Haha so stupid.

  12. Mike says:

    You can view estimated time remaining in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Goto Preferences>Energy Saver and you will see Current battery charge (shown in percentage) followed a couple seconds later by “Estimated time remaining: hh:mm”. This information was also present under Lion. Nope, it’s not on the menu bar, but it is just a a couple clicks away. No need to load up additional bloat-ware to view this critical bit of info.

    • Daybrother says:

      Hey! Thanks for that tip Mike!
      I also hate adding on little tweaks here and there if it can be avoided. Old terminal commands, .plist alterations and such become forgotten over time, sometimes leading to small problems with no clear remedial trail to follow.
      If I knew enough to dig into the OS I would enable an “option + click” menu where the “Show battery status in menu” check box lives and add that code. In my consumer grade ignorance it seems trivial and something the Apple of old would do. Sometimes the GUI changes they put out these days look like lousy meetings generated sparkle rather than real help for workflow or attempts by coders to live with structural changes.

  13. William says:

    I purchased iStat Menus just for the battery icon with time…..

    Bloody Apple :-(

  14. cnn says:

    istats menu will take care of this problem and show you more

  15. Nicko says:

    I’ve been using Battery Guard 1.1.1. It shows time remaining and more. Seems accurate.

  16. Rich W. says:

    This free app currently appears to be a timed beta, and looks like it will stop running according to this message: “This second beta version runs until September 5th 00:00 GMT.” Getting this while it’s free may not have value unless the subsequent updates are also free, but you at least help out a small developer with feedback.

    I understand a little housecleaning is necessary when Apple is updating their OS versions to avoid bloat, but it’s often hard to understand why nice small display or interaction options like these are removed from software. Are these options really resource hogs? Did the lawyers shy away from committing to battery life shown down to the minute?

  17. Sean says:

    Indeed one of the more baffling changes in 10.8. If they removed it entirely because it was inaccurate I wouldnt mind, but they didn’t. They just removed it from appearing on the toolbar natively. strange…

    • tom says:

      Not really strange – if they knew about the battery issues with mountain lion they probably didn’t wanted me to see that suddenly my fully charged MBA shows 3 hours not 8!

  18. Gabe says:

    Looks nice and simple. I’ve been using the following up until now.

    I don’t know why Apple made the change at all? Seems pointless.

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