MacBook Pro Battery Draining So Fast: Why & How to Fix It

One of the great benefits of getting your new MacBook Pro was the long battery life that was advertised. It was a great feature and you probably got used to working on your laptop without the need to be tethered to a wall outlet. Suddenly that’s no longer the case!

What’s going on? Why is the battery draining so quickly? Can I fix this problem?

Well, there are a number of reasons that this may be happening and the good news is there are some things you can do to fix the problem or at the very least gain a good chunk of battery time back.

My name is Eric, and I have been working with computers since I was a kid. After over 40 years of working with technology devices, I have seen my share of battery issues. Battery power has come a long way recently but that doesn’t mean we won’t still see issues like this.

If you would like to learn a little about why your Mac’s battery power might be waning and giving you less time away from the outlet, keep reading below and we will try to find some solutions that will get cordless again.

First Things First: Check Battery Health

It can be frustrating when we discover that our MacBook Pro battery isn’t lasting as long as it used to and it can be even more irritating if it is suddenly draining much faster than it was just a short time ago. 

When this happens, it is very common to right away assume that the battery has worn out and needs to be replaced. While this can be the case, it is not always true. In fact, it does not necessarily point to a hardware problem. This can often be due to a software issue.

Of course, we will take a look at your MacBook’s battery to ensure this is not the problem but we will also look at some other possible causes and what we can do for each of them.

Let’s get started by first checking your battery health so we can rule that one out if it is not the problem.

If your Mac is fairly new, chances are your battery is still good. If you have had it for a while and you are a heavy user, your battery may be beginning to lose its ability to hold a charge. Either way, it’s a good idea to first check its health to see where you are at.

This will give you an idea of how your battery is performing and if all looks good you can move on to the next possible problem. It’s simple to do just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Click on the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen and select About This Mac.

Step 2: Click on System Report.

Step 3: Once the System Report window opens up, click on the Power section on the left side of the screen. Then take a look at the Battery Information.

Step 4: Here you will see the Cycle Count. If you are near or over 1000 cycles then this will be a cause for concern but if you are well below that, then your battery should still be in good shape and you can probably rule out a worn-out battery.

If your MacBook’s battery is nearing the end of life, then you have 3 options:

  • Get the battery replaced.
  • Get a new MacBook.
  • Or live with it and stay near an outlet whenever using your laptop. 

You can check out Apple’s Battery Replacement service if you do want to get it replaced. It will cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but it might be worth it if you are still in love with your current MacBook and you don’t want to shell out the cash for a brand new one.

Okay, if the battery turns out to be good, check other common causes and fixes below.

Possible Cause #1: System Updates

It is always a good idea to keep your Mac updated with the latest macOS, so if you are seeing problems and you have not updated to the latest I would suggest doing so. With that being said, macOS updates can sometimes be the cause of the problem.

If you recently did an update and then noticed that your power is draining much quicker, the macOS version may have some issues that may be causing the system to use much more power than it previously did. The good news is that help is usually on the way.

When this does happen with a particular OS update, it is normally reported by a multitude of users and Apple is quick to correct it with a new update that will fix or at least alleviate the problem.

If you begin seeing the issue directly after an update, keep a lookout for the next update and get it installed as soon as possible. This will hopefully get your system working the way it previously was and allow you to go mobile again.

Possible Cause #2: Applications Draining the Battery

Believe it or not, the more applications you have running, the quicker your battery will drain. More applications mean the processor, memory, hard drive, and other peripherals are working harder, therefore they use more power and use up your battery quicker.

Running many apps at one time can suck up a lot of your power, but also keep in mind that some apps will use more than others. Applications that use a large amount of your CPU are power hogs and can often be the culprit.

You may not need to kill all your applications to fix the problem, but you may just be able to identify ones that are using up the most CPU and close or end those. It’s even possible that you have background applications running that you are unaware of.

If you started seeing this issue out of the blue and you haven’t been running any new software, there may be some malware or a virus running on your system that is draining your battery. The first step in looking at apps that might be doing this is to open Activity Monitor.

You can use Activity Monitor to see what is running on your computer and how much CPU it is consuming. The apps that are taking up large amounts may be the culprit and you can simply close those apps. Use the steps below to do this.

Step 1: Go to LaunchPad.

Step 2: Type Activity Monitor in the search field.

Step 3: Click on the Activity Monitor to start it up.

Step 4: Look at the list of applications running and see how much CPU they are using.

Step 5: Start closing the applications and then see if this helps to improve your battery life.

Select the application and hit the X to end it.

If there are applications that are unknown or look odd or unfamiliar, you might want to download a good virus or malware scanner from the AppStore and check to see if you have any on your system. The software can help you remove them and hopefully restore your battery.

Possible Cause #3: Screen Brightness

It may seem obvious, but sometimes we turn up the brightness for one reason or another and forget to turn it back down. The brighter your screen, the more battery power your system will use and in fact, it can drain it rather quickly if you have it set to the max.

Go into your display settings by clicking on the Apple symbol in the upper left corner of your screen, then select System Preferences, and then Displays. From here you can turn the brightness down. 

You may also want to check the box that says Automatically Adjust Brightness. With this set, your brightness will increase automatically when needed and it will be reduced when not needed. This way you won’t have to remember to go back in and adjust it to save power.

Possible Cause #4: Power Settings

Your power settings are another area that will affect your battery. You can check these by going to the Apple menu again and then selecting System Preferences and then Battery. From here you can adjust the slider to set the amount of time your system will stay awake.

By letting your computer sleep after a few minutes of inactivity, you can save lots of power. If your system has a long inactive time or it is set to Never, this could be a reason that your battery is draining so quickly.

Other Causes

If none of the issues and suggested remedies above have solved your power problem, it could be that you have something else going on with your machine. It could even be a defective battery. 

This may mean it is time for a trip to the genius bar to have an Apple expert take a look at it. You will want to check to see if your MacBook Pro is still under warranty or if you have an Apple Care plan that may cover the services needed.

Final Words

One of the great benefits of having a MacBook Pro is the mobility that it provides you. You can take it anywhere and usually don’t need to plug it into an outlet. With a quick-draining battery, you lose that ability and this can be very frustrating.

Thankfully most of the issues that cause this have simple solutions. I hope that one of the solutions I have listed above has helped you to revive your system’s battery health.

As usual, let me know if you find other solutions to this frustrating problem. I would love to hear your feedback!

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  • Mats Eriksson

    Hi there again. Thanks for these tips. I changed out my battery last year to a brand new and original one for my MacBook Pro running Osx Catalina 10.15 (it has now all the upgrades it can have, no more updates to this hardware). Now, in spite of system report sayin only 464 cycles, it says when mouse klicking on the battery that “service recommended” but not anything of what. I have done – again – the “total drain” first on the battery and then charged it again. It doesn’t last more that 3 hrs. Which was about the same the old battery did when it was way beyond its recrycling limits and had to be changed out.

    I don’t want to leave in my computer and pay for yet another brand new battery again, not after only one year and half of service, and since original Apple is twice or thrice the price of 3rd party batteries, or “copies” I wont do that. If an original Apple battery lasts only like 1 1/2 year, before starting to go south, I don’t want to know about the cheaper “copies” lifespan. I do not want to re-install OS instead which I had to do last time I swapped batteries out, either.

    • Eric

      Hi Mats,
      This sounds like a tough issue. With third-party batteries, it’s hard to say how long they will last or how reliable they are, and how accurate the cycle count will be. Yes, it is hard to justify paying the huge cost of an Apple battery because they are expensive. I, myself have a secondary MacBook which is from 2008 ( and I also have one from 2014 which has a little better battery). I rarely use it because the battery will only last for about 15 minutes so when I do, I usually leave it plugged in. It is hard to keep putting money into older systems so I eventually broke down and got a 2020 MacBook that can run the latest macOS and has a good battery. Sorry, I don’t have a good answer or solution for you. It seems that these systems are designed to force you to eventually upgrade as it becomes too expensive to keep upgrading old ones. Anyway, I hope that you can find a good solution. I’m sorry that I am unable to help.