If you notice your Mac’s battery draining faster after updating to macOS Mojave or above, you’re not alone.
Some users have reported battery drain issues — some significant — after updating to the new operating system. Notably, impacted users say that they see the worst battery drain when their computers are in energy-saving sleep or hibernate modes.
It appears to be a fairly widespread problem that’s especially draining on older Mac or MacBook models. To be clear, this is probably an issue that we fully expect Apple to patch at some point in a minor or major update.
But in lieu of a software update being currently available, there are some things you can try to alleviate the problem.
To be clear, this isn’t necessarily a “full-on” fix that addresses the underlying battery drain cause. But since it focuses on macOS sleep and hibernation parameters, it can help bump up your battery life while in said modes.
Here’s what you need to know
- Check your Mac’s login items
- Reset SMC
- Turn Off WiFi Temporarily
- Sleep Mode Basics
- How to Check Which Sleep Mode Your Mac is Using
- What Does This All Mean?
- Alternatively, Wait for Apple
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Check your Mac’s login items
Oftentimes, there are quite a few applications that open automatically when you log on to your Mac. And many of us have no idea because these auto-logins occur when we install a program!
Login items can significantly reduce battery performance. So rather than automatically launch them, pick and choose what apps you open by manually choosing them after you log in!
How to check and remove automatic items on your Mac
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups
- Select your user name and choose Login Items
- Tap the name of a listed application, then click the minus sign button below the list to prevent these apps from opening automatically at login
- Repeat for all listed applications
- Close System Preferences and restart your Mac
If you notice that your MacBook’s fan is always on, your MacBook won’t charge through a built-in USB-C port, or the battery charging indicator icon isn’t showing up anymore, then resetting your SMC might do the trick!
A few readers let us know that resetting their MacBook’s SMC (system management controller) seemed to help with battery draining issues after updating to macOS Mojave+.
The SMC is responsible for your MacBook’s battery management, so it makes sense that resetting this could help.
If you notice that your battery doesn’t charge normally or that its indicator is acting strange, like jumping around from one percentage to another quickly or back and forth, the resetting the SMC is definitely something to try.
How to reset the SMC for MacBooks with non-removable batteries
- Shut Down your MacBook
- Once your MacBook shuts down, press Shift+Control+Option on the left side of the built-in keyboard and then press the power button at the same time
- Hold these keys and the power button for 10 seconds (for applicable models, the Touch ID button is your power button)
- Release all keys
- Press the power button again to turn on your MacBook
How to reset the SMC for MacBooks with removable batteries
- Shut down your Mac
- Remove the battery
- Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds
- Reinstall the battery
- Press the power button again to turn on your MacBook
Turn Off WiFi Temporarily
A few readers noted that when they turned WiFi off that their batteries performed normally. So if you are using an application that does not require internet access, it’s worth a try to turn off WiFi temporarily and see how your battery performs.
To Turn WiFi Off on a Mac
- Click the WiFi icon on the right side of the top menu bar
- Choose Turn Wi-Fi Off
- When you turn off Wi-Fi, the WiFi menu icon changes to empty (no bars)
- To re-enable, tap the WiFi icon and select your WiFi network
Sleep Mode Basics
Before implementing the Sleep Mode fix, it helps to have an understanding of the various Sleep and Hibernate modes that Mac computers use
- Sleep mode is the standard for iMacs. Basically, when a Mac is in Sleep, it leaves its RAM powered on. That means it wakes from sleep very quickly since there’s nothing to load from the hard drive.
- Hibernation basically powers the RAM off when you put your computer to sleep. That means it has to copy the contents of the RAM to your drive, which results in slightly longer wake times. This is the standard for Mac notebooks made before 2005.
- Safe sleep, the default for Mac notebooks made after 2005, is a hybrid of the above two. It involves writing RAM contents to the drive but leaving RAM powered on. This results in quick wake time, as well as extra data protection “failsafe” in case there’s a sleep/wake failure.
- There is also a separate hibernate mode that works essentially the same as the other hibernate mode — but is made for computers made after 2005. It does not leave RAM powered on, which results in longer wake times but better battery life. We’ll get to this in a minute.
It’s worth noting that there is also a “standby” mode that’s separate from the above sleep modes. Your Mac enters standby after about 3 hours of sleep — and this mode uses far less power.
The bad news: some older Macs don’t support standby modes.
How to Check Which Sleep Mode Your Mac is Using
There isn’t an easy user interface that lets you check which sleep or hibernate mode your Mac is currently using.
Thus, to find out, we need to open up the Terminal and use some commands. Just open Spotlight, type in Terminal and hit Return. (Alternatively, find it in Applications —> Utilities.)
Once it’s open, you can use the following command to figure out which sleep or hibernate mode your computer’s using.
pmset -g | grep hibernatemode
Once you type or copy-and-paste that in and hit Return, you should see “hibernatemode” followed by a number pop up. Each number correlates to a different sleep mode.
- hibernatemode 0 is normal sleep.
- hibernatemode 1 is hibernation.
- hibernatemode 3 is Safe Sleep.
- hibernatemode 25 is the second type of hibernation.
It’s worth noting that hibernatemode 25 is never turned on by default. You have to set your Mac to use it via Terminal.
What Does This All Mean?
Essentially, some macOS users report that changing the default mode to hibernatemode 25 mitigates battery draining during sleep mode.
That’s largely because hibernatemode 25 powers down the RAM, unlike Safe Sleep.
Essentially, when you use hibernatemode 25, your Mac will take quite a bit longer to wake from sleep. But it should help bump up your battery life when your Mac is sleeping.
Contrary to what some users and other media outlets have reported, your new Mac isn’t supposed to be set to hibernatemode 25. It’s there as an extra option if you want to prioritize battery life over wake times.
In other words, hibernatemode 25 is hibernation for any portable Mac device made after the year 2005. Mac notebooks made before 2005 use hibernate as the default option, while Macs made after use Safe Sleep. On post-2005 Mac notebooks, hibernatemode 25 is an extra option.
That being said, it can help if you’re experiencing a significant battery drain during sleep after updating your macOS.
Make sure to back up your Mac/MacBook before using the terminal commands below.
How to Use Hibernate 25 to Fix macOS Mojave+ Battery Issues
Note: Keep in mind that hibernatemode25 will result in slower wake times on your Mac. You’ll have to consider your priorities. Just food for thought.
If you want to use hibernatemode 25 to bump up your Mac’s sleep battery life, you can change the default sleep mode using the Terminal.
Just open Terminal and type in the following command.
sudo pmset -a hibernatemode (modenumber)
Instead of the phrase in parenthesis, you’d use 0, 1, 3 or 25. For example:
sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 25
There is an additional step in using this mode to help your battery life, as noted by a helpful Apple Support Community user named dinecko.
Basically, it involves getting your Mac to enter hibernation mode from sleep after 60 seconds. Use the following command to take a look at your Mac’s power management settings.
Then, run the following commands one-at-a-time to change those settings. Copy and paste one, hit enter and repeat.
sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 25 sudo pmset -a standby 1 sudo pmset -a standbydelaylow 60 sudo pmset -a standbydelayhigh 60
You can, of course, implement shorter or longer times. Just substitute “60” in the last two commands for whatever time you’d like (just be sure to enter them in seconds and not minutes).
Alternatively, Wait for Apple
We only recommend using hibernatemode 25 if you’re comfortable with changing settings via Terminal — and you don’t mind slightly longer wait times.
As we’ve mentioned, the battery drain issues are not tied to the use of hibernatemode 3 over hibernatemode 25 on newer Macs.
Because of that, the macOS Mojave battery drain problems are likely a software bug that Apple will — hopefully — address.
Basically, if you’re patient, you can just wait for Apple to release a fix.
7 Top Mac Battery Saving Tips on macOS
In addition to changing your Mac’s hibernate or sleep mode, there are a variety of other small things you can do to help maximize your battery life. These can be good things to do whether you’re experiencing battery drain issues or not.
- Keep screen brightness at a mid-level or below.
- Try to keep all of your apps up-to-date. Older versions of apps can have battery issues as they age.
- Navigate to System Preferences and make sure Energy Saver is enabled.
- Consider turning off Bluetooth unless you are actively using it.
- Only keep the necessary apps open. If you’re working on a web browser, try to have as few tabs open as possible.
- If you don’t mind aesthetic downgrades, consider navigating to System Preferences —> Accessibility —> Display and checking Reduce Motions and Reduce Transparency to turn those features off.
- You can disable Location Services by going to System Preferences —> Security & Privacy —> Privacy —> Location Services. Do keep in mind that this won’t allow you to find your Mac with Find My Mac — so don’t use this option if you travel with a portable frequently.
- Beth noticed that her MacBook’s Microsoft Office Auto-update program was constantly running and taking up a huge amount of power. Once she disabled that program from running, her MacBook’s battery performance improved! To do this, open a Microsoft program and then on the top menu tap Help > Check for Updates. Change how it updates to Manually Check
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.