Tuesday, January 14, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Low Power Mode for Mac Laptops

Marco Arment (tweet):

In light of today’s rumor that a Pro Mode may be coming that seems to offer benefits in the opposite direction, I wanted to re-make the case for a Low Power Mode on macOS — and explain why now is the time.


Apple’s customers don’t usually have control over these balances, and they’re usually fixed at design time with little opportunity to adapt to changing circumstances or customer priorities.


Turbo Boost Switcher Pro relies on a kernel extension that’s grandfathered into Apple’s latest security requirements, but it can never be updated — and when macOS Catalina loads it for the first time, it warns that it’ll be “incompatible with a future version of macOS.” I suspect that this is the last year I’ll get to run the latest OS and be able to turn off Turbo Boost at will, making all of my future laptop usage significantly worse.


Update (2020-01-24): John Gruber:

Note too that iOS’s Low Power Mode is for iPhones only — iPads don’t have it. That bodes poorly for the odds of a Low Power Mode for MacBooks — it feels like a feature Apple believes is needed only for phones.

Jason Snell:

I’m all for the idea of a low-power mode for Macs, and it’s a bit perplexing to see Apple prioritize turning off all battery-saving features and cranking the fans over letting users maximize battery life.

I do have a wacky idea, though. (You knew I would.) What if Apple used the introduction of Pro Mode to adjust the default performance settings of macOS laptops?

Macro Arment:

My guess for why iPad doesn’t have Low Power mode:

An iPad’s CPU, where much of LPM’s savings comes from (downclocking, avoiding background tasks) is a much smaller percentage of its power usage than its (way larger) screen.

Same isn’t true for laptops.

See also: MacRumors.

Kyle Howells:

A real “Pro Mode” would disable the ridiculous sandboxing, permission dialogs and restrictions.

But developers wouldn’t really be able to use it, if they wanted to dogfood their own apps.

Jeff Johnson:

I’ve learned that Apple engineers have internal tools which allow them to delete macl xattr as well as to bypass other Catalina privacy and sandbox protections without rebooting and disabling SIP.

Inside Apple they don’t suffer the same problems as external users and developers.

That would help explain why they aren’t catching the security/privacy protection bugs before release.



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