Perhaps it was because I was using the Sony Vaio S-series laptop with its 15-hour battery, but I never really looked critically at the battery life on my 2011 15″ Macbook Pro. But recently I have been using it almost exclusively and have felt that I should be getting more hours between charges.
My assumption – particularly how the fans would spin up even when I was doing nothing particularly challenging – was that there was something related to the graphics card. So I looked around and found that the dynamic switching on the graphics cards will often leave the system stuck using the discrete card when the integrated is more than enough (for things like web browsing).
The suggestion was to check out an app called gfxCardStatus. Apparently the app allows you to force control over the graphics switching. Here is the description:
gfxCardStatus is a menu bar application for OS X that allows users of dual-GPU 15” and 17” MacBook Pros to view which GPU is in use at a glance, and switch between them on-demand.
And it works perfectly – I have immediately seen a bump in the battery life on my Macbook Pro, and can easily jump to discrete graphics to play games as needed. It is one of those simple, effective utilities that quickly you simply cannot live without.
Head to the gfxCardStatus homepage and download this great utility!