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Apple isn't happy with the MacBook Pro battery complaints - and it may have a point


MacBook Pro 13 2016 review

The new Apple MacBook Pro recently suffered the indignation of becoming the only one of its brethren ever to miss out on a recommendation from the influential Consumer Reports website.

However, it turns out the 'wildly unpredictable' battery life issues - anything from 3.75 hours to 19.5 hours - that prompted the damning verdict may have been caused by a bug unlikely to affect the vast majority of users.

Apple is putting the issue at CR’s door, claiming the methodology used to test the MacBook Pro utilised a hidden developer setting in Safari which unearthed the bug, causing the discrepancies in battery life.

Related: Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch w/ Touch Bar review

In a statement, Apple said: “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... We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test."

Consumer Reports admitted as such today, but also pointed out this is a method it uses to test all laptops, beyond those running macOS.

The idea is to ensure all laptops are tested equally while web browsing, rather than certain models coincidentally benefitting from some websites being visited more than others.

As for that Safari bug Apple mentioned, it has been addressed by a new beta version.

Apple said: “[Consumer Reports’] use of this developer setting… 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.”

Consumer Reports says it will retest the MacBook Pro and update its findings. The 2016 MacBook Pro may yet earn the coveted recommended rating after all.

MacBook Pro (2016) Touch Bar tips & tricks

Are you still considering an MBP 2016 purchase? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


January 11, 2017, 9:02 am

But this is the same test that CR have used to test all previous Macs.

So Apple are demanding that CR give the new MBP an easy ride by turning on caching?

"You're not testing it right"...


January 11, 2017, 11:10 pm

It's an obscure bug in Safari whose effects are only apparent when testing in a very specific way (i.e. reloading the same page for 10 hours without letting the browser cache previously downloaded data).

The bug could have been introduced at any time since MacBook Pro's were last released / tested (i.e. May 2015).

Jan Mejlgaard Bliddal

January 12, 2017, 9:19 am

It is a case of both parties being right. When Apple says it wouldn't affect the average user then they are right. When CR says the need to turn caching off to create equal testing conditions across various platforms and models then they are right. A bug that wouldn't affect the vast majority of users was found do to the procedure, but i am pretty sure that the people who do need that setting turned on are glad it was found.

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