Will the 16-inch M2 Pro MacBook’s battery life reign supreme?
While the performance of the M2 Pro in the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros will garner the most attention, the battery life of the 16-inch model may be the real highlight, as Apple claims it will have the “longest battery life ever on a Mac.”
Apple is highlighting the efficiency improvements of the new M2 Pro and M2 Max processors, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that Apple laptops already have the longest battery life. Apple claims the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro will last 22 hours, but we wanted to examine Apple’s previous claims versus reality to determine how long we can expect it to last.
MacBooks with the longest battery life currently available
As with every other laptop we evaluate, we subject MacBooks to our rigorous battery life test, which consists of continuously browsing the web over Wi-Fi with the display set to 150 nits of brightness. Even though your mileage will vary depending on how you use your laptop, this gives us an accurate picture of which laptops have the longest battery life.
Here is a summary of the results of our battery life tests for the current MacBook lineup.
|Battery life (hh: mm)|
|Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch M2||18:20|
|Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch M1||16:32|
|Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch M1 Max||15:32|
|Apple MacBook Air M1||14:41|
|Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch M1 Pro||14:09|
|Apple MacBook Air M2||14:07|
How will the M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pros compare?
Apple claims that the new MacBook Pro models will have an additional hour of battery life compared to their predecessors. It is important to note that Apple’s test consists of Apple TV app movie playback, which is less taxing than our test and therefore results in longer runtimes.
Apple estimates that the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro will last 18 hours (an increase from 17 hours) and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro will last 22 hours (up from 21 hours).
When we receive these laptops in our lab, we’ll have the definitive answer, but until then, we wanted to compare Apple’s claims to the actual results to see how close we can get.
The M2 and M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro currently hold the top two positions. Apple claimed 20 hours of video playback for both models, but the M2 model scored a decisive victory with nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes of additional battery life.
However, the MacBook Air, the only other laptop for which we currently have M1 and M2 results, presents a somewhat different picture. Apple reported a battery life of 18 hours for the Air M1 and a staggering 20 hours for the Air M2. Both fell far short of these goals, with the Air M1 giving up after 14 hours and 41 minutes and the Air M2 giving up after 14 hours and 7 minutes. This is approximately 6 hours or one-third less than Apple’s claimed battery life.
Disappointingly, the design of the Air M2 resembles that of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. There is nothing about the design that suggests it will be less thermally efficient than the previous MacBook Pro design, but if the new models follow this path, we may observe a slight regression. To clarify, they have room to spare and still provide some of the best battery life in their class; however, they may not live up to the claim of the “longest-lasting battery ever in a Mac.”
The optimistic view would be to examine the MacBook Pro M2, which suggests an even greater increase in battery life than Apple is predicting. If this occurs, there is no doubt that the 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 Pro would have the longest battery life ever for a Mac, and possibly the longest battery life of any mainstream laptop we’ve tested.
You won’t have to wait too long to discover the answer.