MacBooks Are Experiencing Battery Drain in Sleep Mode

MacBooks Are Experiencing Battery Drain in Sleep Mode
Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

If you just downloaded the latest version of macOS, 12.2, keep an eye on your MacBook’s battery life. Furious Apple laptop owners are reporting across various forums and social media platforms (Reddit, Twitter) that their MacBooks are experiencing excessive battery drain while in sleep mode (via MacRumors).

A software bug related to Bluetooth accessories appears to be waking these devices from their energy-saving slumber. Users have reported the macOS 12.2 update released earlier this week makes a Mac’s battery life drop from 100% to 0% while in sleep mode.

One affected user posted charts showing how the battery started to drain even after the screen was no longer in use (note: this actually does not happen in Windows, as this tweet claims). Several others chimed in, noting similar behaviour on their devices since installing macOS 12.2, and some say they’ve experienced drain while running the macOS 12.3 beta.

“Happened to me on my late 2019 16-inch MBP, installed the update while plugged into power, rebooted the MBP no apps were left running and I closed the lid. I unplugged the MBP the battery was 100% and went to bed,” one MacRumors forum member wrote.

“When I woke up and opened the MBP lid it would not wake from sleep. I didn’t know what was wrong at the moment so I plugged the MBP back into power and tried to get it to wake up. The chime sounded it woke up and showed 1% battery. It went from 100% to 1% overnight with the lid closed and nothing running.”

It’s not clear when the apparent bug wiggled its way into Apple’s desktop OS, but some users say issues arose in earlier versions of macOS. And while most folks reporting this problem own newer M1 MacBooks, Intel-powered models are also affected. We’ve reached out to Apple to see if the company is aware of these problems and will update this article if we hear back. So far, the company’s support team has responded to disgruntled Mac owners by providing support documents with instructions on how to optimise battery life or check battery health, but nothing that fixes this issue.

The leading theory for what’s causing the problem is that Bluetooth devices are waking these Macs from sleep, though it’s not clear why that might be happening. Users tried finding the cause and discovered in Terminal that Bluetooth accessories are causing “DarkWake from Deep Idle,” resulting in Macs that repeatedly wake from sleep.

While Apple hasn’t confirmed as much, those who are suffering from the battery drain problem say that disabling Bluetooth or disconnecting wireless accessories are effective, albeit annoying, workarounds. Others have avoided waking up to a dead MacBook by keeping it plugged in overnight (we should warn that this could harm the health of the battery).

If there is a silver lining it’s that this battery problem is likely caused by a software bug rather than a hardware issue that might require returning or replacing your laptop.

If it isn’t already, Apple should soon become aware of this issue and will hopefully work to quickly release a patch. Until then, you might think twice about updating your MacBook, and if you’re already experiencing problems, try disabling Bluetooth before you turn in for the night.