macOS Sierra 10.12.2 released

Apple on Tuesday released a significant update for macOS Sierra, fixing a number of issues users had with the Mac operating system.

One concern for all users of portable computers is battery life. Some users have reported problems with battery life, but Apple told me that after a lot of testing they stand behind the 10 hour battery life with the new MacBook Pro.

However, to help users better determine the battery life, Apple has removed the “time remaining” indicator from the battery icon in the menu bar with the latest update. You can still see the image on the top of the screen, and you can see the percentage, but you will no longer be able to see how much time is remaining before your battery dies.

The reason for removing it is very simple: it wasn’t accurate.

Apple said the percentage is accurate, but because of the dynamic ways we use the computer, the time remaining indicator couldn’t accurately keep up with what users were doing. Everything we do on the MacBook affects battery life in different ways and not having an accurate indicator is confusing.

Besides the apps we are working on all the time, there are a lot of things that are happening in the background that users may not be aware of that affects battery life. For instance, when setting up a new Mac, syncing iCloud photo libraries can take quite a bit of time. Add facial recognition to that, and battery life is affected even more. Many times, because it’s happening in the background, users may not be aware of what’s draining their battery.

Other tasks like Spotlight indexing can also affect battery life with its background work. If you add a large number of files, indexing can sometimes take days to complete.

There are other changes in the latest update too.

One of the things users love about Apple is their ability to implement cool features into its operating systems, and integrate those features with its other products. One example is Auto-Unlock, which allows users to automatically unlock their Mac using an authenticated Apple Watch. Some users found the process of setting up that feature a bit time consuming, and maybe even confusing. The new version of macOS Sierra cleans up that process and makes the setup easier than it was before.

Apple also made the alerts and instructions for iCloud storage and Optimized storage easier—the language for setting up and using these features is now more helpful.

While I didn’t have any graphics issues with the Touch Bar on my Mac, some users reported issues with the new feature. Apple said those have been fixed with the latest update.

Users can also now add a Chinese Trackpad Handwriting button to the Touch Bar Control Strip.

The update also improves audio quality when using Siri and FaceTime with Bluetooth headphones, and an issue where incoming Mail messages did not appear when using a Microsoft Exchange account has been fixed.

There are a number of other changes in the macOS Sierra 10.12.2 update, as well. If you have macOS Sierra installed, you can open App Store and click on the Updates tab to download the latest version.

  • Macino

    Seems like Apple is sidestepping the battery issue on the new MacBook Pros instead of adjusting their estimates accordingly”

    “The reason for removing it is very simple: it wasn’t accurate.”

    Sure, uh huh. Jim, shouldn’t you actually test these theories before accepting Apple at their word all the time? This website reads as a press release sometimes, and that’s not a good thing.

    • Wooster

      This reminds me of the Antenna-gate fiasco where Apple submitted a -software- fix for the iPhone 4’s hardware issue, which was little more than registering 5 bars under what were previously 4 and 3 bar scenarios.

      Apple. Don’t play these games with us.

      • Sheza1

        They made the 1 and 2 bar signal bars taller as well.

      • Herding_sheep

        The iPhone 4 update was the other way around. Originally (well ever since the 3G), iOS was over representing its signal strength. It stayed nearly constantly at 5 bars. Back when the common complaint of iPhone was ATTs service. The iPhone 4 update made it more accurately represent its signal strength. Because the death grip “made it look far more catastrophic than in reality it was.” I believe that was Steve Jobs exact wording.

        Not excusing that little trick they did, just making your statement accurate.

      • there was no issue with the iphone 4 — if you remember. if you don’t, go back and watch the media event. during it Jobs explained signal attentuation via a death grip on an external antenna was normal, and showed other phones doing it too. then he showed ATT carrier data proving no significant increase in dropped calls. then he expressed ire at the tech media. then he said free bumpers. it was all hysteria.

        more proof? they continued to sell the 4 unchanged for years after.

      • highvoltage

        Apple made it clear that their 10 hour estimate is accurate, and that it’s obviously YOUR fault for running any battery draining software which may be pre-installed by them on your MacBook.

    • It’s had serious accuracy problems for years. I don’t find it hard to believe they got worse on the new MacBooks.

      I think Apple needs to go back to basics on this. Maybe they can do something over the long term with Differential Privacy to come up with better estimates, but I kind of doubt it. It’s probably way too specific.

      • rick gregory

        The problem is that even when I just do normal stuff my battery is NOT lasting close to the 10 hours it should be getting (new MBP).

        I also liked the idea that I could look at the indicator and think “OK, 15% at my current work load should last… oh about 1:04. I’m good for the next 20 mins then”.

        PS: Virtually no one expected the time estimate to be on the dot. But it was useful to say figure out if you had about 40 minutes or about 12. About 3 hours or 1.5. But the real issue is that my battery in my NEW MBP isn’t lasting much longer after 20 cycles than my Air battery which is 3 years old and at almost 1000 cycles… and which wants me to change it.

        • Adrayven

          Umm.. you can still do that.. they didn’t get rid of the % .. just the ‘time estimate’ .. You’ll still see 15% or 50%.. etc.

          • rick gregory

            Right but I know don’t know how long 15% might last. Before this I could see Oh, I have 48 minutes at my current workload. Now, I cannot see that. All I can see is 15% or whatever

          • jezmondo

            Well is 100% is 10 hours (their estimate) then 90% should be 9 hours… They have at least made the maths simple.

            Now sure, if your usage is more demanding than theirs it’ll be less than that – but really, 10% should be a reasonable fraction of an hour (even if you do have the screen bright enough to see!)

          • rick gregory

            Sigh. No. Just… no.

        • I get your concerns with removing the time estimate, I used it the same way.

          What bothered me about the updates and I think this is part of the reason why Apple removed the time estimate, is that reviewers (who, honestly don’t test the products much these days before they write up an article to get as many ad views as possible), open up the new computer, start up a couple of apps, wait a minute, then report what the time estimate said.

          That is exactly what a popular review of the new MBP did recently. Reported that the time estimate was 8 hrs when all their running is, blah blah blah.

          Maybe, they should have done real journalism by charging the battery completely, restarting the machine fresh, loading the apps and using the machine until it shut itself off. Then tell us how long the battery lasted.

          I’m not arguing that the battery life is as good as Apple said or if they’re not. Apple tests the machines in a consistent manner so their numbers can be compared to the prior machines. If they change that metric, which they did a few years ago, then they should be held accountable for that.

          I am arguing that journalism on the web is crap these days and that real sites who actually do extensive tests should carry more weight.

          If you buy the machine and based on your average use, it’s not living up to your expectations, you have 14 days to return it. And hey, you can write an article telling us your average pattern of use over several days and how well the battery lived, that’s what I’d like to read instead of a time-estimate bitch article.

    • Andrew Montgomery

      Test what? Surely you’ve seen this yourself. Your battery is down to “30 mins”. And then you fire up and import your vacation images from your camera. That 30 minutes turns into about 10 minutes fast, right around the time starts processing images for faces and objects.

      Or your Mac starts backing up in the background.

      Or Youtube.

      Or anything Flash-based.

      And while many of us reading this post probably think we have a good idea of what constitutes a “battery draining activity” – a debatable position – a large, large majority of people say things like “I was just checking my email” or “I was just pm the web” or “I was just importing some photos”. To them “30 minutes” equals thirty minutes of using my Mac before the battery runs out.

      That’s simply not true. It’s a prediction, and it assumes very little will change in that 30 minutes.

      The amount of time left on your battery depends greatly on what your Mac is doing… and what it’s going to do in the future.

      Good riddance. I’m tired of explaining that “30 mins” doesn’t mean you have 30 minutes left.

    • imthedude

      Sure, uh huh. Jim, shouldn’t you actually test these theories before accepting Apple at their word all the time?

      That’s the reason I stopped coming here. To say he’s an apple apologist would be an understatement.

  • I hope photos bugs are fixed too

  • John Doofus

    They’ve showed the time estimate for what…15 years or more, and now they decide it isn’t accurate? I have a new 13″ MBP touchbar, and its battery life isn’t nearly as good as my 3 year old 13″ MBA. I’ve read many reports of the same thing. Seems fishy.

    • Adrayven

      for more than 15 years, only a few things changed to impact battery.. now in the past few years, it’s like 100+ different things..

      It’s basically the Microsoft install / copy wizard now.. no where near accurate.. you could sit at install of 100% done for like 20 minutes.. it doesn’t ADD anything useful now because it’s not accurate.

      Its the same with Windows.. Microsoft just is to PC to remove it..

    • i’ve owned MBs for years and its never been accurate. like a progress bar. not news.

      • John Doofus

        I’ve owned MBs since they were called PBs, and I’d say it has been so-so over the years. If you’re constantly doing more-or-less the same thing, it isn’t too bad. If your work is more variable, then all bets are off.

        But that’s beside the point. The feature has been there forever. Now, in an macOS point release, they decide to remove it? At exactly the same time people are starting to see that Apple’s MacBook Pro battery life claims aren’t matching up with real-world use? Sounds like PR spin.

  • 16C67?

  • rick gregory

    Uh. Bulls*t. I honestly don’t care if the estimate is there or not, but if, doing regular things (not gaming or otherwise stressing the MBP a ton), my new MBP doesn’t get close to 10 hours but gets close to 5 then they F’d up.

    • this is about the time remaining estimate, not the battery life itself. and that estimate has never been accurate.

      • rick gregory

        it’s been in the ball park. As long as what you’re doing is fairly consistent then it’s been reasonably accurate. Not to the minute but if it said “15%, 1:20” you could figure on about an hour of life unless you did things that were very different from what you’d been doing. Now, I can see 15 and have no idea if the battery will last that hour… or 14 minutes.

        Which of course is the bigger issue – if the battery got 8 hours out of the gate, fine. It’s not 10, but fine. However, we’re getting 4-5. That’s not OK because as we all know, batteries lose capacity over time. Ironically, the 3 year old Air I replaced with this MBP gets about 3.5 hours. After almost 1000 cycles.

  • Nate

    “However, to help users better determine the battery life, Apple has removed the “time remaining” indicator from the battery icon in the menu bar with the latest update.”

    Apparently the 3.5 hours of battery life I get under actual use (as in, it was dead by lunchtime three times last week) is MY fault. Removing the indicator will fix everything. Thanks for the “help”, Apple.

    What a condescending attitude.

    • if battery life were as bad as you say it would have flunked all the tech reviewer sites, which use scripts to test it thru various loads.

      for instance, you don’t even cite what your use is — if you’re running VMs and software inside those VMs it’s going to be less. 3D rendering, less. etc.

  • Herding_sheep

    Sometimes I really worry if Apple is becoming tone deaf. Did they honestly think taking away the battery life estimate would alleviate concerns over the new MBPs battery life? Maybe the intent is genuine, I have no idea. But are they tone deaf? This will only enrage users who are already enraged.

    • no they didn’t. they removed it because it’s never been accurate. battery life is a separate issue and one i’ve not heard negative about.

      but you’re “concerned”, i get it.

      • Meaux

        If it’s never been accurate, why remove it now?

        • Mo

          Because it’s overdue for removal.

      • Herding_sheep

        My concern is Apples complete lack of awareness of how this action would be perceived and reacted to by an already enraged and outspoken user base. In case you didn’t understand my comment.

  • EpaL

    I get it – after all, iOS has never had a ‘Time Remaining’ battery display.

    However, they could have at least been a bit smarter / less user-hostile about removing it and replaced it instead with some sort of “Battery Load” guage that indicates how quickly the battery is draining. The way it is now, you have no idea how much the battery is being used except a ‘heat test’ of the top/bottom of the machine, Activity Monitor or a third-party tool like iStat Menus.

    Pretty poor effort IMO.

    • Or a click on the battery menu, which will show you which apps are using a lot of power.

  • Caleb Hightower
    to help users better determine the battery life, Apple has removed the “time remaining” indicator from the battery icon in the menu bar with the latest update

    Apple, I expect this kinda ‘shiftiness’ from Microsoft, not you.

    • so how have you suffered thru in iOS all these years?

      • Caleb Hightower


        • how do you mean? i’ve been commenting on this site for years, as the regulars can attest to.

          i called you out on your hysteria and you’ve yet to answer. so again — how have you managed to survive using iOS without a battery-time estimator all these years?

          • Caleb Hightower

            Wait, Phil Schiller, is that you?

          • ah i see, you can’t answer, because it would prove that your latest concern troll complaints are unfounded.

            the answer is: you’ve survived just fine in iOS without an estimated-time meter, and it never occurred to you that this was something to complain about until now.

            as somebody who has actually had MBPs for years i know that estimator was so inaccurate that i never used it. which is also why it was not by default.

  • CSears

    On the Nissan Leaf, the remaining mileage estimate, a similar problem, is affectionately known as the Guess-o-meter.

  • johnpb

    Looking forward to a third-party utility to restore this feature.

  • gerrycurry

    In other words, for the average user there’s nothing!

  • rbanffy

    The time should be at most optional and, if the energy consumption has been varying for the past couple minutes, change it to a range like “Between 3:00 and 4:00”.

  • Mo

    Seems to me that “time-remaining” battery indicators only work accurately for devices that only do one thing at one rate of consumption.

    • jezmondo

      No, it should work for any constant loading. Now why the heck can’t the machine work that out?

      I get if you fire up some resource hog application the indicator might need to change, but given the machine is the thing running these things that shouldn’t be beyond it.

      Also, the machine has a lot of historical data to work from, you’d think it could work out a reasonable estimate.

    • please, don’t be reasonable. we must all handwring and proclaim apple has lost its way.

  • oliversl

    Wow, removing even more useful features from the Mac. What a bad time to be a Mac user.

    • what nonsense. it’s the best time to be a mac user. my macs today are the best macs i’ve ever used, and i’d never go backward to an older one. are you serious?!

      man this site. not far off from MacRumors in terms of concern trolls…

      • oliversl

        Well, its a dongle world, I agree. But I use the feature every day, I mean, every day I see how much time I get until I need to find a wall plug.

  • Eric

    Why are you writing this as if you are an Apple PR representative? You state odd things as If they are substantiated fact but they aren’t.

    This is a very disappointing post from you. You’re better than this.

  • DanielSw

    The internal HDD on my late 2013 27″ iMac i7 suddenly disappeared and wouldn’t be found, even with Disk Utility. I formatted and installed Mac OS Sierra on an external and laboriously reinstalled all my software and apps.

    Then, tonight, I updated the OS to 10.12.2 and the HDD mysteriously reappeared with all of its system and software intact!

  • naxam

    Most innovative solution in the history…wow wow wow

  • BS – I have yet to get even 4 hours on a full charge with a brand new machine. Apple continues to dissapoint