Apple devices are known for many things: the ethos “it simply works”, the aesthetic beauty, closed software ecosystems and of course premium price tags. One area in which they usually perform fairly well is battery life.
The laptops that have a long battery life in their feature lists include the Microsoft Surface Book 2 and the HP Specter Folio. Just because these laptops can last longer on a single charge doesn't mean that MacBooks are terrible.
If you know which MacBook to choose and need to configure it accordingly, you can extend the battery life for a full working day or play on a range of Apple notebooks.
Other MacBook manuals
Riley Young / Digital Trends
Apple's MacBook Air has always been designed as a slim, lightweight MacBook option where portability and aesthetics take precedence over other aspects such as performance. In the current MacBook range, however, it has proven to be the most durable, both in terms of specifications and according to our own tests.
When Apple updated the MacBook Air in March 2020, it updated the processor to 10th generation Intel Core CPUs. These chips not only made the MacBook Air more powerful, but also more conservative in terms of power consumption. The Air comes with a 49.9 watt hour battery, but how does it work when testing?
Apple claims that you can get 12 hours of Apple TV movie playback. In our MacBook Air test, we found that the modern MacBook Air can loop 1080p video for 10 hours – about eight hours while surfing the web.
You may be able to expand this further by lowering the screen brightness and keeping the background applications to a minimum. Configuration options are limited, but sticking to smaller storage capacities and storage offers a tiny advantage for extending battery life.
Apple also recommends keeping your device up to date and avoiding extreme ambient temperatures when using your MacBook Air.
MacBook Pro 16 inches
In Apple's MacBook Pro range, you'll find the true strength and performance of all types of hardware options for those who need more grunt for their MacOS tasks. With MacBooks, battery life isn't bad either, but you should choose specific models and take your configuration into account to get the most out of it.
When Apple launched the MacBook Pro 16, it promised the largest battery of any MacBook – actually a 100 watt-hour monster. According to Apple, you have an additional hour of battery life compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro and can surf the Internet or watch Apple TV videos for 11 hours.
This may arouse your interest, but in reality it is not so easy to say that a larger battery corresponds to a longer battery life. The MacBook Pro 16 contains much more powerful components than its smaller 13-inch sibling, which helps to shorten battery life.
In our tests, the MacBook Pro 16 took about five and a half hours in our regular daily workload, including running dozens of tabs, streaming music in Spotify, and using Slack. This is disappointing given Apple's promised 11-hour battery life. But it's also not too surprising given the higher resolution and the more powerful components of the MacBook Pro 16 under the hood.
However, your mileage may vary, especially if you specify the MacBook Pro 16 for battery life. Choosing the Core i7 processor instead of the Core i9, or opting for a slightly lower graphics card can help you extend battery life.
However, if you need more powerful components, seeing how battery life deteriorates is a compromise.
MacBook Pro 13 inch (2019)
With the 13-inch MacBook Pro, we found in our video loop test that it worked for over 10 hours with a Core i5 processor. In general use, it can take an entire working day. This corresponds to the 10 hours that Apple considers necessary. So it's still a good option to check if you want good battery life.
Interestingly, depending on the configuration, the MacBook Pro 13 has a 58-watt-hour or 58.2-watt-hour battery. In comparison, the MacBook Pro 16 has a larger 100 watt-hour battery.
Despite a smaller battery on paper, the 13-inch model may last longer than the MacBook Pro 16 due to its less powerful components, which only shows that large battery specifications aren't everything.
The MacBook Pro 13 is also much cheaper than the 16-inch model. The smaller version costs from $ 1,299, the 16-inch model from $ 2,399. As mentioned in our review of the MacBook Pro 16, the battery may be 16% larger, but it won't last 16% longer. In addition, the price is far more than 16% higher.