How much do you trust apps "Using Significant Energy"?

The battery menubar icon reports apps that are “using significant energy” – and I never know how much to trust it.

Sometimes, it obviously makes sense – for example, Chrome with a couple dozen tabs open, or Slack, a heavy electron app.

Sometimes, it makes less sense – Safari with two simple tabs open.

Sometimes, it makes no sense – for example, a Safari extension like Dark Reader that isn’t even actively being used.

The last ones are the ones that are the most concerning to me because I’m worried they’re accurate and draining my battery while being completely inactive.

How do you think about apps and battery management? Do you trust MacOS’s reporting?

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I’ve seen “Using significant energy” for apps that aren’t even open. I still trust it a bit as it seems accurate most of the time, but most of the time I can go with my gut and just hibernate some Vivaldi tabs or close graphics-heavy apps.

Is anyone going to stop using an app that is “using significant energy”? macOS tells me Malwarebytes is one of those apps. So what? I ask myself. This is one of those pointless nattering features that some sub-branch office in a minor division of Apple somehow slipped into macOS.

Should be “using a significant level of energy”

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Yes, I would stop using Malwarebytes if it was using a lot of power and I was on battery a lot. :wink: An app like that I should forget it’s there.

The only apps I have noticed saying they are using significant power are apps I am actively using that tend to use a lot of resources. Photography stuff mostly.


No. I’ve found little correlation between these warnings and how long my battery lasts.

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At work I live in Incident IQ, a helpdesk ticketing website. I have at least one tab, sometimes 2-4, of it open pretty much my entire day. Every single day I see it say “this website is using significant energy.” And I believe it as my 2020intel MacBook Pro seems to need powered a couple times a day. Unfortunately I don’t have a choice to just stop using the website. Sometimes, if I’m at an okay time for it, I quit/restart safari, or go for the full reboot, it’s effects are always short lived.

I trust it, but I have not actually checked it, and I stop using apps that are using significant levels of energy if I don’t really need that app or have an alternative.

For me, I get the warning for Safari when I have specific websites open, and I put it down to websites that have a lot going on (which is not always obvious). As an example, I get it with the IKEA kitchen planner, Google Sheets etc. If I repeatedly get the warning on a site that doesn’t warrant it, I stop going to the site if I can.
(edit: the warning helps remind me to close tabs I’m not going back to if they are still using energy)

I stopped using BitBar, one or two HomeKit apps, and looked at moving away from Graphic due to the warning (which was absolutely warranted, battery plummets with that app open). I think there are others too.

For me, it’s not just about my battery life. Websites and apps that use more energy than they need are, in my opinion, poorly designed and are an unnecessary burden on Earth’s resources*. I use more energy than I should already, the least I can do is try not to waste it needlessly (plugged in or not).

  • All energy is significant

I don’t make hour by hour decisions using that data. But it helps in the big picture.

The best example I can give is Chrome. If my MacBook is running low on battery I know that switching from Chrome to Safari may extend the battery life to a meaningful degree.

For me it’s kind of pointless. I’d rather use the Activity Monitor and its energy tab. Way more information. I also do a bit of a constant monitoring as I have a CPU menu bar item from iStat. If I notice that something is using a lot of power when I’m not doing anything heavy I investigate it.

I suppose I use it rather than iStat Menus, which I never really liked. It gives me that quick bit of info to then look into with Activity Monitor.