MacBook Pro: Get the remaining battery life indicator back in the menu bar

Remaining battery life in MacBook Pro menu bar

I use my new MacBook Pro M1Max much more often without a power cable than my old MacBook Pro M1, which I have repeatedly noticed negatively over the past few days is the lack of a display for the battery life, which you still have with the current type of use. And this display has not only been missing recently, but since macOS 10.12 Sierra and it is not only missing from the MacBook Pro, but also from the small MacBook and the MacBook Air - i.e. from all mobile Macs.

I don't doubt that the readout was somewhat inaccurate as it depends heavily on what you're doing with the MacBook Pro, but I've always found it more helpful than the percentage display, which requires you to guess how long you've been working and how long you can probably still work on the MacBook Pro.

Workaround 1: take a look at the activity monitor

It's funny that Apple still calculates and displays the information on the remaining battery life in the system. If you go to the utility Activity indicator and there on the "Energy" tab, then you will find the value "remaining time" at the bottom of the display. That's exactly what I'd like to have in the Mac menu bar - but unfortunately that's not feasible with on-board tools.

With the detour via the activity monitor, you can also find out how long the battery of the MacBook Pro will probably last, but that is quite cumbersome.

With the detour via the activity monitor, you can also find out how long the battery of the MacBook Pro will probably last, but that is quite cumbersome.

Workaround 2: Coconut Battery

Fortunately, there is a small but fine app Coconut battery, which steps into the breach for Apple and brings the display of the remaining battery life back to the menu bar with a few clicks. I show you how this works in this step-by-step guide:

  1. Load Coconut Battery (the basic version is free)
  2. Start the app and, if necessary, grant the necessary rights
  3. Go to "Preferences" in the CoconutBattery menu
  4. In the "General" tab you activate the option "Run coconutBattery in background and show information in Menu Bar"
  5. in the line "Format" type "%r%" for "time remaining"

So that you don't have a battery indicator in the menu bar twice (1x from Coconut Battery and once from macOS), I would recommend deactivating the option "Show battery status in the menu bar" under System Preferences → Battery.

Coconut Battery not only provides you with the remaining battery life in hours and minutes, but also shows the battery status of Magic Mouse and AirPods.

Coconut Battery not only provides you with the remaining battery life in hours and minutes, but also shows the battery status of Magic Mouse and AirPods.

If the battery life does not appear...

There's a good chance that you're like me: I activated the Coconut Battery display, but the battery life just didn't want to appear in the menu bar at the top. I then rebooted (have you tried turning it off and on again?) and could see on startup that the battery life was briefly visible before being eclipsed by other menu items.

If this is the case, the highly recommended "Bartender" app, which can be used to display all menu bar entries, can help. To do this, install the app and then activate the options "Use Bartender Bar to show hidden items". If you now move the mouse pointer over the menu bar, a bar with all available items is displayed.

You have to activate this option in Bartender so that the menu bar on the MacBook Pro is not completely slammed shut, like mine.

You have to activate this option in Bartender so that the menu bar on the MacBook Pro is not completely slammed shut, like mine.

To keep an eye on the remaining battery life, go to the "Menu Bar Layout" area in Bartender and move the entries back and forth until you only see what you want to see at the top.

With the Bartender tool you can select the apps that should always appear in the menu bar. All others are shown when you hover over them or click on the three dots.

With the Bartender tool you can select the apps that should always appear in the menu bar. All others are shown when you hover over them or click on the three dots.

View bartenders quickly

By the way, Bartender is a tool that you can neither access via the app switcher (cmd + tab) nor via the menu bar. This is quite annoying, especially if you like to fiddle with the options more often at the beginning.

I always call it like this: Start Spotlight search (cmd + spacebar) and then type "bart". Usually only "Bartender" appears, which you start with a courageous hit on the return key.

 

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