How to Fix Big Sur Battery Drain Issue

macOS 11 is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, updates for macOS. It was announced in June earlier this year and released in early November 2020. This macOS update includes the biggest design change in more than two decades, which makes Mac fans excited to see it. The public version of macOS 11 was released starting November 12, and Mac users were quick to upgrade.

Unfortunately, just like other major software updates, this one comes with a lot of buts and bugs. Since it is not yet 100% stable, macOS Big Sur might experience issues on your Mac. One of the significant issues reported by Mac users is the rapid battery drain after updating to Big Sur. Whether it’s the beta or the public version, several Mac users have encountered this battery issue in Big Sur.

Some users complained that their significant draining of their Mac’s batteries after upgrading to macOS Big Sur. In some cases, the battery gets emptied from 100% to 0% in as short as one hour. Others have also noted that the computer gets too hot and the fans run loudly when experiencing the battery drain.

Incidents of new macOS installations draining batteries are not new. We’ve seen similar cases when Mojave and Catalina were released. Unfortunately, battery issues can be caused by different factors. In this guide, we will walk you through some solutions to identify and fix the issue.

Why Is Big Sur Causing Battery Drain on MacBook?

First of all, upgrading to a new macOS version does not stop after the update has been installed. It can take several days for all your processes to be updated as well. You might not know it, but there are many things that are actually running in the background, even after it appears that the installation has been completed.

One of the processes that occur after the upgrade is Spotlight indexing. Spotlight is responsible for detecting apps, finding documents, and organizing files on your computer. After upgrading, Spotlight needs to re-index all the items on your Mac, which can take one to two days, depending on how many files you have. To find out if Spotlight is still re-indexing your items, go to Activity Monitor and look for the mds and mdsworker processes. When you see these Spotlight indexing processes running in the background, you don’t have to worry about your battery drain because your Mac is actually busy.

So if you have installed macOS Big Sur in the past couple of days, you may need to wait for another one to two days until the Spotlight indexing is done to see if your battery life returns to normal. Fiddle with your settings and trying to resolve the issue might cause the process to take longer.

But if it’s been a week and your Mac’s battery still drains quickly after updating to Big Sur, then you need to investigate further. One of the possible reasons behind this problem is a rogue app that might be misbehaving due to the update. Check out the energy impact of each apps using Activity Monitor. Major upgrades, such as macOS Big Sur, feature improvements and new apps that might put extra pressure on your Mac. By using Mac’s built-in Activity Monitor, you’ll be able to determine the energy impact of every active app under the Energy tab.

Aside from Activity Monitor, you can also review the new Battery section that replaced the Energy Saver section of your Mac’s System Preferences. This tool has better reporting capabilities because of the Usage History feature. This feature gives you information about your Mac’s battery life over the last 24 hours or the last 10 days. so you know how your battery is performing.

It is also possible that the update made some changes to your energy settings or other configurations that affect battery use. You should also not ignore the possibility of a hardware issue.

What to Do About Big Sur Battery Drain Issue

If your Battery drains after updating to Big Sur, here are the things that you can do to resolve it:

Solution #1: Reboot Your Mac.

The first thing you need to do to try and resolve any battery issues is to restart your Mac. This should refresh macOS and get rid of any glitches or bugs you might be encountering. To reboot your Mac, go to Apple menu > Restart.

Solution #2: Fix Spotlight Issues.

If Spotlight Search Indexing is still going on and it is eating up a large percentage of your Mac’s resources, you have three options:

  • Wait for it to finish. It may take some time, especially if you’ve upgraded just recently, but this is the most ideal solution in this case.
  • Remove some of the Spotlight search categories to make the process proceed a lot faster. To do this, go to System Preferences > Spotlight then uncheck some or all of the categories.
  • Stop indexing. If you want to postpone the indexing, highlight the spotlight.app process in Activity Monitor then hit the Stop button.

Solution #3: Close Rogue Apps.

If your Mac is done with Spotlight indexing and your battery is still draining quickly, you need to check Activity Monitor to look for processes that might be consuming a lot of resources. To do this:

  1. Open a Finder window then click Go from the menu bar at the top of your screen.
  2. Scroll down and click Utilities.
  3. Double-click on Activity Monitor then click on the CPU tab.
  4. Check for any processes that are using a large percent of your CPU.
  5. Double-click on the greedy app and click the Quit button.

Solution #4: Reset NVRAM/PRAM and SMC.

Sometimes you need to reset some settings to make sure that everything works fine on your newly upgraded Mac.

To reset the NVRAM/PRAM, follow the steps below:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Turn it on and immediately press the Option + Command + P + R buttons.
  3. Hold these keys for 20 seconds, then release them.
  4. Allow your Mac to boot normally.

To reset the SMC, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Press and hold Shift + Control + Option.
  3. Next, press and hold the power button while holding the other keys.
  4. Hold the keys for 10 seconds, then release.
  5. Press the power button to turn it back on.

Solution #5: Boot into Safe Mode.

Booting into safe mode only loads the basic processes required for your Mac to run. It also automatically runs a disk check on your Mac so it is the ideal environment to troubleshoot any battery issues.

To boot into Safe Mode, follow the instructions below:

  1. Click the Apple menu > Shutdown.
  2. Wait for 10 seconds after the shutdown, then press the power button to turn it back on.
  3. Once your Mac starts up, immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  4. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple logo and progress bar.

When in Safe Mode, observe your battery if it is still draining quickly. If it is, then you might have a hardware problem.

Solution #6: Check Your Battery’s Health.

If the above steps don’t work and your battery issue still persists, then you need to check whether there is a need to replace your battery. To check your battery’s health, follow the steps here:

  1. Click Apple Menu.
  2. Choose System Preferences > Battery.
  3. Choose Battery in the sidebar.
  4. Click on Battery Health.
  5. If you see Service Recommended, then your battery needs further evaluation or should be replaced.

Conclusion

macOS Big Sur brings a lot of new and exciting things for Mac users. However, it also comes with a lot of bugs and issues. If you’re experiencing a rapid battery drain after updating to Big Sur, you can follow the steps above to resolve it. Practicing good computer hygiene, such as cleaning up your Mac regularly, can also help optimize your Mac and prevent battery issues.

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