Fix M2 MacBook Air Running Slow with a Simple Settings Tweak
Some M2 MacBook Air users have discovered their MacBook is running slow from time to time, perceiving what feels like dramatically reduced performance. Usually when this happens, the MacBook Air slows down when the Mac is running on battery power, but the workload being performed is not particularly abnormal or even demanding; maybe it’s a Safari browsing session with a few work apps open simultaneously, for example.
We’re going to assume you’ve run through the standard performance troubleshooting steps for MacOS of things like making sure there are no crashing apps, unresponsive apps that need to be force quit, or apps pegging CPU in the background, Messages isn’t slowing the Mac, and that the Mac hard disk is not out of disk storage – each of these will also slow down any Mac. The situation we are focusing on here is specific to MacBook Air (and MacBook Pro) laptops that feel unusually slow when running on battery power.
How to Fix Slow MacBook Air Performance when on Battery
When and if the MacBook Air is perceptively slow, perform the following task to boost performance back to normal:
- Go to the Apple menu and choose ‘System Settings’
- Go to “Battery”
- At the top of the screen, look for “Low Power Mode”, and toggle this setting to “Never”
- Exit out of System Settings and the Mac performance should be immediately restored and no longer sluggish
At this point your MacBook should be performing significantly faster, and noticeably so.
Many MacBook Air users have found that Low Power Mode is activated automatically when on battery power, and while this can dramatically improve your MacBook battery life, it also will significantly impact performance of the Mac. Some independent explorations of this feature showing 40% reductions in system performance when Low Power Mode is enabled! Thus, if your MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, is feeling unusually slow and sluggish, with a huge performance decline, and it happens to coincide with battery usage, Low Power Mode is likely the reason.
Whether or not this is the default setting on your particular Mac likely depends, but it was enabled by default for battery on several M1 and M2 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models that were checked.
Of course there are many valid reasons to use Low Power Mode on a MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, mostly if you’re aiming to get the maximum battery life out of your Mac laptop, but just be aware that by enabling the feature, your MacBook performance can be slowed considerably. Fortunately, it’s also easy to resolve and get your Mac back up to full speed, with just a simple settings toggle as shown here.
You can turn Low Power Mode on again at anytime by going back to Battery settings in MacOS, but now that you know of the performance implications, at least be mindful of this feature before enabling it.
Did turning off Low Power Mode significantly improve the performance of your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro when on battery power? Did you find another problem or solution? Share your experiences with Mac performance in the comments!