The fastest way to discharge the battery of an Apple Silicon MacBook Pro

This is how you quickly empty the battery of an Apple Silicon MacBook Pro

I didn't think I would write an article about it, but now it has come to that. Apple seems to have solved the battery problem with laptops so well that I have to compulsively torment the battery with apps to get it empty.

Empty battery for power bank test

The background to my desire for an empty battery is that I have to test batteries every now and then, which can also be used for the portable Macs. To test this, I usually empty my MacBook Pro to 50 or 60 percent and then plug in the power bank once when the Mac is asleep and once when I'm using the Mac.

Most batteries just managed to keep my Intel MacBook Pro at the same battery level. Charging it during operation, on the other hand, hardly ever works, because the power banks would have to be able to deliver at least 40 to 50 watts of output power.

The 13 inch MacBook Pro is a small adding machine with an incredibly long battery life, which is achieved through the efficiency of the Apple Silicon processor.

The 13 inch MacBook Pro is a small adding machine with an incredibly long battery life, which is achieved through the efficiency of the Apple Silicon processor.

Apple Silicon MacBook Pro - incredibly efficient

The new Mac models with the Apple Silicon processor turn the world a bit upside down, because they work extremely efficiently and deliver groundbreaking performance.

As a result, I run into the problem that my MacBook Pro is not that easy to discharge. While I just used my old MacBook Pro with the Intel processor with Parallels Desktop and Windows to bring it to half the battery in no time at all, the new MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon processor has to work really hard.

In normal operation, in which I only use the text editor, for example, the laptop only consumes two to three watts, which is really extremely economical. With this consumption it is of course difficult to reach 50 percent battery level.

Kai Krause's Frax HD app has some really unusual and pretty fractals in store.

Kai Krause's Frax HD app has some really unusual and pretty fractals in store.

Render videos or calculate fractals

Now I was looking for a way to get the battery quickly from 100 to 50 percent - on the autopilot. A well-established technique is that you open a video program like iMovie and then export video snippets that lasted for hours.

This works, but I don't have a lot of video on my Mac or a lot of disk space to give away to render new videos. So new ideas had to be found.

At some point I got the idea that you can run iOS apps on the new Macs. And I still vaguely remembered that the app "Frax HD“Has pulled the iPad battery properly.

The app makes great fractals and generates - although it works extremely quickly and efficiently - a high processor load.

In Frax HD you select the option "Frax Flow" in order to get a constantly changing representation of fractals.

In Frax HD you select the option "Frax Flow" in order to get a constantly changing representation of fractals.

The best settings for Frax HD

To keep the M1 processor of the MacBook Pro running, it is best to click on the Frax logo above and then select "Frax Flow" in the menu. As a result, the app constantly changes the presets and plays short sequences of Mandelbrot and Julia quantities, whereby the section moves and you zoom in or out at the same time.

An amazing achievement when you consider that my old C64 used to take half an hour to compute an image - and that with a resolution that easily surpasses the Apple Watch. And today you can fly through the fractals in real time and the processor is still only lukewarm.

With the promotion, I have already risen in consumption from 3 watts to around 15 watts. In addition, this method has the advantage that it can run for an unlimited period of time.

If you get closer to the object using the "Zoom" option, the M1 processor has to work even more.

If you get closer to the object using the "Zoom" option, the M1 processor has to work even more.

 

 

More fractals, more power consumption

15 watts is pretty good to get the battery down, but more is better. For this reason I have installed another app that also shows fractals in motion and performs these calculations "live".

In the App Store, the corresponding app is called "Magic Fractals & Shapes 3D", But when installed it shows up as" Fractals 3D "in the app list.

If you are wondering how I run iOS apps on the MacBook Pro: This is an advantage of the Apple Silicon computers, because this processor is based on the A14 iPad and iPhone processors and can therefore also run apps that are designed for them Devices have been programmed.

The options "Quality" and "Texture" should also be switched to Fractals 3D so that the processor load is as high as possible.

The options "Quality" and "Texture" should also be switched to Fractals 3D so that the processor load is as high as possible.

 

 

The best settings for Fractals 3D

In "Fractals 3D" you now set the textures to "Texture + Reflection" and the quality to "Ultra" in the options. With the last point in the left row of points in the window, you can now increase the zoom level so that the screen is filled with the fractal.

Now check the power consumption with the recommended app Coconut Battery, then you end up with the very good value of 20 watts.

Add-on: 4K video from YouTube optimizes consumption

Since I still had a small free corner on the screen, I thought that a YouTube video would certainly not have a positive effect on power consumption (in my case, it would have a positive effect on the worse). So that I don't have to constantly click on something new, I have chosen a long video: "4K UHD 10 hours - Earth from Space & Space Wind Audio - relaxing, meditation, nature".

Through the action I was able to increase the energy consumption again and ended up with about 25 watts. My Intel MacBook Pro consumes that when I just read a website, but the Apple Silicon MacBook Pro was really a tough nut to crack.

Using the "Activity Monitor" utility and the "Energy" tab, you can check what is currently particularly stressing the battery. The display changed constantly for me, but I was always over 100% with the energy requirement.

Using the "Activity Monitor" utility and the "Energy" tab, you can check what is currently particularly stressing the battery. The display changed constantly for me, but I was always over 100% with the energy requirement.

Pro tip: set the screen brightness to 100%

What you shouldn't forget of course (which I missed at first): The screen of the MacBook Pro also consumes a bit of power. For this reason, it is advisable to set this to maximum brightness if you want to use a lot of energy.

With Fractals 3D, Frax HD and Youtube, at some point I managed to reduce the energy consumption to around 25 watts. Yippie!

With Fractals 3D, Frax HD and Youtube, at some point I managed to reduce the energy consumption to around 25 watts. Yippie!

M1 MacBook Pro at 60% - mission accomplished

After what felt like an eternity, I even managed to get my MacBook Pro 13 inch down to about 60 percent battery charge and was able to test the power bank. In this case it was that Satechi Quatro Wirelesswhich is a very exciting thing for Apple users with Apple Watch, iPhone and Apple Silicon MacBook.

Do you also have good battery killers in stock? If so, I would be interested to know what would you recommend to drain the battery of my MacBook Pro. I'm curious!

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4 comments

  1. Beatrix Willius says:

    It is really amazing that my Air with an Intel processor is so much louder under OS than under Catalina. Apple probably made the whole optimization only for silicon processors.

    I'm good at sucking juice with fractals and with compiling my program.

    Under BS there is also the fact that the percentage figure for the battery status is missing. At some point (after 3-4 hours at most) I notice that the juice will soon run out.

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Beatrix! Wasn't there even a fan control software with which you could set when the fan should rotate and how fast? And that's right: the battery indicator has no number. I have iStatmenus running on me. I think this still shows the percentages, but it's currently on, so I only see the power plug. : D

      • Dirk says:

        Hello Beatrix,

        I have had quite the opposite experience with Big Sur.
        With my MacBook Pro 16 ′ (2019), the system runs much smoother and the battery consumption has also decreased (approx. 10-12 watts when surfing and 75% brightness).

        The percentage display can also be activated in the settings under Dock & menu bar -> Battery / menu bar.

        Regards
        Dirk

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