Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.1) Update Improves Battery Life; But Still Not Back to Lion (OS X 10.7.4) Levels

Apple’s Mountain Lion OS X release saw record adoption numbers in the initial few days of launch, but it also brought with a few bugs, the most noticeable of which was a substantial decrease in battery life of MacBooks.

According to tests conducted by MacObserver, OS X 10.8.1, the newly released maintenance update for Mountain Lion, does improve upon the drop in battery life, but not enough to bring it to pre-Mountain Lion levels.

MacObserver tested battery life on MacBooks running OS X 10.7.4 (Lion), OS X 10.8 and OS X 10.8.1. Their testing process was:

  1. Open TextEdit, pause 10 seconds.
  2. Open Safari and navigate to a content-heavy website (, pause 20 seconds.
  3. Navigate to a second content-heavy website (, pause 20 seconds.
  4. Open Mail, pause 10 seconds to allow any messages to download
  5. Close all open applications
  6. Log a time stamp to a text file
  7. Repeat

Their results:


Build 12B17 was the developer release of the OS X 10.8.1 update, while build 12B19 is the public release. Removing the Wi-Fi icon from the menu bar was a fix suggested by a MacObserver reader, which obviously didn’t work.

As the chart shows, there’s still a one hour difference in battery life between Lion and the newest release of Mountain Lion. Apple’s expected to continue improving upon battery life in the 10.8.2 update, which has already been seeded to a few developers.

Have you experienced improved battery performance after upgrading to OS X 10.8.1?

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Categories: Mac, OS X

  • Ron

    They have until october to solve this,
    cause ill sure need the battery to study after this break

  • shaneblyth

    Is it the Powernap new system? It obviously must use more power to keep running when your lid of your laptop is shut

    • Zangpakto

      However older laptops that were on Lion do not have that new feature… So this report I am assuming is based on an older machine say even 2010/2011 model… The point is, I have also noticed a difference in battery time/use and I do not have powernap on my laptop.

  • gbfluteman

    I’m guessing it’s due to the iCloud and Notification features. With some products, Apple’s servers push the notifications to you, but I’m guessing the more likely scenario here is that your system is checking for the notifications and is syncing with iCloud frequently enough that it affects the battery life (TimeMachine backups decrease battery life, so why would we expect iCloud backups to do any less?).