MacBook battery drain when closed

I have noticed that when I close my MacBook it seems to drain the battery as if it was on. Do I have to choose sleep to get it to keep from having a large power drain while closed? I’ve not noticed this before and it’s causing more wasted power cycles than I want to sort of give away.

I searched and couldn’t find this topic.


Best wishes,


Stephen Perle

If it is just in standby, it will still drain power. If it is on however, then it will continue to draw power as normal.

My MacBook is rather old, so I’m not sure if more recent ones still have this feature, but mine has a little white light on the front edge. It is off when the laptop is powered down, on when powered up and pulses “softly” when in standby.

A good starting point for ‘sleep’ related problems with Macs is Apple’s support page on the topic:

1 Like

I am pretty sure that the 2016 MacBook Pro does not have the light

My guess is Power Nap. Here’s Apple’s description.

1 Like

How Power Nap works on your Mac

Looking under the second set of bullet points, if Power Nap is off, your MacBook will still do the following while asleep:

  • Software updates download.
  • Mac App Store items (including software updates), download in the background.
  • Time Machine performs backups.
  • Spotlight performs indexing.
  • Help Center content updates.
  • Wireless base stations can wake your Mac using Wake on Wireless.

→ It might be Time Machine since the default is to backup every hour.

There’s a little subtlety about that list. Those activities only happen while asleep and plugged in, so they shouldn’t be an issue for the OP since he’s concerned about battery drain.

Are you talking about THE MacBook - the 12" Adorable? After many years using a MacBook Air (now sadly defunct, and replaced by the 12") I found the power drain on a closed MacBook 12" to be quite startling. After a typical night closed (but not shutdown), the 12" tends to drain the battery by about 35 percentage points (ie, if the battery is at 65% when I close the lid in the evening, it will typically be at about 30% in the morning. By comparison, using the Air in the same way, the battery drain would be no more than about 5-10 percentage points.

Nowadays, if I want to complete my Time Machine and BackBlaze backups overnight, I leave the laptop connected to power. Otherwise I simply shut it down overnight - which I’ll agree is not particularly satisfactory.