fter waiting for a few months, macOS Sonoma is here and those who are interested in the Apple ecosystem have already installed this OS on their Mac. Even though macOS Sonoma
is the major and boldest macOS release we will see this year, it doesn’t mean that the package comes in a fully-fledged form. Therefore, you can expect certain bugs and device-specific issues while using macOS Sonoma.
In particular, there could be issues with the performance and battery life of the device. In some cases, upgrading to Sonoma will also cause serious battery drain issues that you will have to take care of. But, some devices will get better battery health and battery life due to the Sonoma upgrade.
Keeping both these points in mind, we have created a complete guide on how to fix macOS Sonoma battery life problems or a consistent battery drain issue. You can use the following tips if you feel like your Mac battery doesn’t last as it used to before upgrading to Sonoma. On the other hand, if you feel that the battery life has improved or stayed the same, you might not need these tips.
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About macOS Sonoma and battery
Before we discuss the battery-related issues on macOS Sonoma, we will quickly look at the battery-related improvements that the OS wanted to bring.
- Game Mode is one of the major features of the macOS Sonoma package. This mode, designed to give maximum CPU/GPU priority to games, will definitely impact the battery life. Therefore, if you use the Game Mode feature to play games on your Mac, there will be a noticeable drain in battery life.
- macOS Sonoma also claims to improve the long-term battery health of the M2 MacBook Air 13-inch, which is my daily driver. During the routine testing on the first day, the device achieved almost the same battery life as it used to. So, this is positive news.
Now that we have these exceptions out of the equation, we can talk about common battery life problems and battery drain issues on Sonoma-based Macs.
Battery drain and low battery issues with Sonoma
We will look at some scenarios of how you face battery drain issues on a Mac running macOS Sonoma.
- Your MacBook is losing battery life more frequently after installing macOS. For example, the laptop takes less time to lose a specific amount of battery life (say 10%)
- Your MacBook battery drains so quickly after upgrading to Sonoma. That is, when you keep the device idle for a few minutes, you lose a lot of battery percentage.
- Your Mac loses a lot of battery life, even during slight tasks like streaming content from YouTube. In the same way, heavy tasks take a toll on your battery.
If you face any of the issues mentioned above, you are probably dealing with a battery drain and low battery problem with macOS Sonoma. Do not worry, though. You can use many ways to solve the problem, and we have a comprehensive guide here.
How to fix battery life & drain issues on macOS Sonoma
Now that you know how battery life and drain issues with macOS Sonoma manifest, we shall talk about some ways to fix the problem. As with most problems you face with Macs, the battery drain issue does not have a universal solution. Therefore, we try multiple solutions, one at a time, until you have a fairly fast Mac running macOS Sonoma. We shall start with something simple and go to the advanced fixes.
Fix #1 Restart your Mac
Your Mac would restart multiple times during a major software update like Sonoma. However, after the OS installation is complete, your Mac will relaunch the apps you had open. It is not a suitable option when you need the best battery life on your Mac. Therefore, you must restart your Mac once again.
To restart your Mac, you have to click the Apple icon > Restart. But, make sure that you have unchecked the option to reopen windows when logging back in. It means your Mac will open only those apps with access to the login items list.
Fewer numbers of background-running apps on your Mac will definitely reduce the strain on the battery.
Fix #2 Update all your apps
If you continue having battery-draining issues on macOS Sonoma even after a reboot, you can suspect the outdated apps on your Mac. The solution here is simple: update all your apps to a version optimized for the macOS Sonoma release. However, you need a couple of steps to accomplish this task.
Things would have been easier if you had installed all the apps from the Mac App Store. You can open the App Store, go to Updates and click Update All. macOS will update all the apps to the latest version. But, we do not know if all the developers have released a Sonoma-optimized version. If they have, you are lucky.
But, to update the apps you have downloaded from elsewhere, you need to endure a longer process. Sure, you can use CleanMyMac X Updater for most apps. But, for some, you may need Homebrew or some other third-party utility. However, keeping the apps updated offers additional benefits of security and privacy.
This fix will help you not only optimize the battery usage on macOS Sonoma but also use its features such as the widgets.
Fix #3 Monitor energy and CPU/RAM usage
It could also be a case where some apps are behaving erratically. Even when optimized for macOS Sonoma, apps may consume an unreasonable amount of battery resources. Fortunately, macOS comes with a fully-fledged Activity Monitor, where you can monitor CPU, RAM, and Energy usage.
Energy Usage, in particular, lets you how much battery each app/process consumes. To check this, you can open Activity Monitor and navigate to the Energy tab. Here, you can see a list of apps and how much impact they have on the battery.
The idea is to point out applications that consume more energy than they typically need. However, you need to use discretion here. For instance, Adobe Photoshop will surely have a noticeable energy impact, and it is very normal. But, if a simple utility takes up a lot of energy, you should double-check and possibly remove it from the system.
So, whenever your Mac becomes slow or power-hungry, understand that Activity Monitor is your friend.
Fix #4 Customize or turn off stage manager
We understand there is a growing popularity for Stage Manager, a feature that Apple added to macOS. With macOS Sonoma, it has improved and been better integrated with the desktop environment. However, there is no denying that Stage Manager consumes a lot of energy resources. So, if you regularly use Stage Manager to navigate within your Mac, it will contribute to the macOS Sonoma battery drain issue.
So, if you are not a big fan of Stage Manager, you should consider turning it off. You can do it by opening the Control Center, where you can find a single toggle button for Stage Manager. Keeping Stage Manager disabled will show you the impact it has on the battery life of your Mac.
Of course, you do not have to do it for the rest of your life. Once you can negotiate with the battery life impact of the feature, you can turn it back on.
Fix #5 Configure live wallpapers/screensavers
Live wallpapers and screensavers are an exciting addition to macOS Sonoma. We are sure you have also been looking forward to the feature. However, to ensure the maximum quality and rendition, Apple makes use of high-definition images and videos, which consume a lot of processing power. Therefore, you have to decide between having these aesthetic additions or improving the overall battery life of your Mac.
Fortunately, macOS leaves enough room for customization with Sonoma. You have the option to keep one of the scenarios either as a wallpaper/screensaver or both. You can also adjust when the screensaver kicks in and the display turns off. We recommend keeping this time to a minimum so that battery resources are put to use.
Once again, the idea is to find a balance between the features and battery consumption. You can go to the System Settings interface and explore both Wallpaper and Screensaver to improve how these options work on your Mac.
Fix #6 Be picky about desktop widgets
Another cause for battery life problems on macOS Sonoma could be the desktop widgets that you have been waiting for in macOS Sonoma. As much as they look nice, they take a toll on the battery consumption. When you think about it, these interactive widgets are a mini version of the app. Therefore, over a couple of hours, these widgets will leave a dent in the battery percentage.
You should be particularly careful while setting up third-party widgets on the desktop. While a high number of widgets may not slow down your system, they can reduce the battery backup over time. So, unless the information and control you get via the widgets are useful, you should keep them at bay. It is also important to ensure that the widgets in question are also optimized.
Fix #7 Optimize battery/charging settings
The recent versions of macOS, including macOS Sonoma, have a separate section for battery optimization. It also allows you to ensure maximum battery health through optimized charging routines. Therefore, you should go to System Settings > Battery and see how your MacBook is expected to behave. We recommend choosing the most battery-friendly option if you need the best backup.
In dire situations, you can also go about enabling the Low Power Mode, which may restrict CPU and energy consumption in the long run.
Fix #8 Find battery-conscious apps running
We already recommended quitting energy-conscious apps from the background. However, it is not always about which apps are running. You should also be wary of apps that generally consume a lot of battery life on your Mac. And, if you continually use the app, it will have a noticeable impact on battery drain.
Therefore, you should be on the lookout for such apps. These apps also cause a problem with overheating on some MacBook models. For instance, if you remember the M2 MacBook Air and Pro overheating problem, it was also happening when users were relying on heavy-duty apps.
Fortunately, in most cases, you can find lightweight alternatives to these apps. The best part? You can do it without compromising the core functionalities. Of course, the process may require some research, but you can have a MacBook that runs for a couple of hours more.
Fix #9 Check for compatibility problems
Sure, if you have updated your Mac to macOS Sonoma, it must have been compatible with the update. But, compatibility in terms of resources is a different affair altogether. For instance, Apple is upfront about the fact that Stage Manager uses a lot of resources. Therefore, if you run macOS Sonoma on a Mac that is at the end of its support line, there will be compatibility issues with respect to resources.
Therefore, to keep your Mac away from Sonoma battery life problems, you should disable these features. It must still be great because you get to enjoy the core features in question.
Fix #10 Roll back to macOS ventura
If none of these methods work, you can always roll back to macOS Ventura. Of course, the process could be a little complex and you may need a lot of time. But, at the end of the day, you will benefit from the notably better battery life on the MacBook.
Considering that Apple tends to offer support versions for a couple of years, you do not have to worry much about security. But, of course, if Ventura does not work for you, you may have to get a new Mac, probably one with the latest Apple Silicon chips and more Unified Memory.
RELATED: MacOS Sonoma Vs Ventura – Performance, Features, And Everything You Should Know
Should I update to macOS Sonoma?
macOS Sonoma is one of the most impressive releases Apple has hyped up in the last couple of years. It has brought not only performance improvements but also other features like widgets. So, if you have a Mac with compatible hardware, you should update to macOS Sonoma. Otherwise, you could miss out on features like better screensavers.
Does macOS Sonoma drain the battery?
Yes, there have been cases where macOS Sonoma is draining the battery. While there are ways to fix the battery drain issue with macOS Sonoma, not all of them are effective. However, when the potential issues are taken care of, macOS Sonoma can improve the overall battery life as well. For instance, there is a notable boost in the battery life of the 13-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip.
How long does a MacBook last on macOS Sonoma?
While there is no universal number, Apple devices tend to stick to the number that the manufacturer claims, at least for a couple of years. So, if you bought your MacBook in the last two years, you should expect the same battery life when running macOS Sonoma. In some cases, you can see an improved battery life on some devices.
The final words
We believe this guide helped you fix the battery drain issue on macOS Sonoma. We believe some of the fixes will help you more if you have a more recent MacBook model. For older Macs, you may have to disable some features, at least for a while. At the end of the day, you should also wait for a patch release from Apple.
It is also a good idea to keep your Mac temperature and battery health in check. You can go for a full system maintenance suite like Sensei.