When Mountain Lion was first released to the public, a number of frustrated MacBook users began reporting a major drop in battery life on their portable machines. Based on a personal test by Ars Technica, the latest version of OS X was shaving roughly 20 to 30 percent off the duration of a charge compared to the same device running Lion (the previous Mac OS). In response, Apple reportedly began contacting affected users and requesting they log system data for Apple to look over. However, a public statement regarding battery issue has not been released and Apple has made no mention of battery improvements in the 10.8.1 update to Mountain Lion.
Regardless, further tests by Ars Technica have proven that approximately 2 hours of battery life can be recouped after updating to the latest version of Mountain Lion. That’s still an hour less than Lion was delivering, but any improvement is welcome at this point. The tests were performed on a 2010 MacBook Air as well as a Retina MacBook Pro, a fair representation of both pre-existing users and those who recently jumped on the MacBook bandwagon. Each laptop was forced to run through a day in the life of a writer while being disconnected from power. During the tests, a full charge lasted around 7 hours on 10.8.1 while Lion would typically provide 8 hours of battery life under the same conditions.
The Mac Observer performed similar tests, but used Automator to perform a list of actions over and over until the battery exhausted itself. The tests were conducted on a new and old MacBook running on Lion first and then Mountain Lion. The results very closely aligned with Ars Technica’s own findings, also showing a one hour loss in battery life when moving from 10.7.4 (Lion) to the latest 10.8.1 update.
Not all users have reported an increase in battery life, however, with a handful stating their longevity has stayed pretty consistent even after 10.8.1. But for an update that didn’t state improved battery life as one of its features, it’s doing pretty well for itself. Here’s hoping the newest Mountain Lion update (10.8.2), currently in developer preview, will continue extending the amount of computing that can be done on a single charge. Have you noticed any changes in battery life? Let us know in the comments.