I finally taxed my M1 MacBook Air's battery life

I finally ran into a way to have my M1 Macbook Air’s battery tap out in less than an average workday. It just took a 43MB excel file with over 50,000 matrix functions trying to match up data in some very large spreadsheets. Of course, the machine was still far faster at doing this than my Office Dell with the same amount of RAM as my Macbook Air, which would crash half the time when I tried to load the same excel sheet.

The power of this laptop is staggering. It is scary to think what might be coming when they do the Pro machines.


Congratulations, you’re ready for databases now :partying_face:


Do you have a lot of RAM on your M1 MacBook Air, David?

I just bought one and I LOVE it. I went with the 500 GB hard drive space but now I’m sort of wishing I had purchased more RAM than 8GB. I don’t really have to do anything “heavy” on it or at least not that I can foresee.

I evidently needed the 500 GB because I’m almost halfway there already.

Data analysis and video editing are the only tasks I’ve found reduce the battery significantly.

The way to avoid this is to use AWS for data analysis, and to have a separate rendering machine.

I do most of my data analysis on Jupiter Notebooks or for big data I use Spark/Hadoop clusters, and offload the heavy lifting to the cloud. Then, you still get the full workday of battery.

For video rendering, I use an Intel Mac with a desktop class eGPU, that not only frees up my MacBook but also renders video 4x faster than the M1 :sunglasses:

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Using something like Camo to use your iPhone as your webcam also seems to do it for me.

While doing so, the iPhone is also plugged into, and getting power from, the MacBook Air, while the phone is doing constant video, so that seems almost unfair. Of course that would tax the battery.


I only got 8 GB of RAM with mine also. This massive Excel project is the first time I have ever had the machine sit and spin for a sustained period where I thought it was an issue with the Mac as opposed to bad wifi or internet.

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It’s amazing but my MacBook Air flies with the 8 GB!

A few times when I feel a rather slight lag starting, I just reboot and that seems to clear up the problem.

I just use OneDrive for that :confused:

The Excel file was in OneDrive! For better or worse, it is the preferred cloud service at my office. I had been using Citrix Sharefile. That pre-M1 Mac seemed more stable and less of a system hog, but they took a long time to release a M1 compatible app, so I had flipped over to OneDrive. A part of me is tempted to flip back, but OneDrive is supported by a lot more iOS apps and is more seamless with Microsoft Office.