Consumer Reports made waves last month when it refused to grant the 2016 MacBook Pro a recommendation after finding wildly inconsistent battery results across the 3 new models. Apple has now worked with the organization to get to the bottom of the matter.
As it turns out, the fault lay partly on both sides. Firstly, Apple says that Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting that switches off browser cache. Most users don’t do this, which is why the company says the battery life reported does not reflect real-world usage.
Consumer Reports says that it turns off browser cache so that it can find comparable results across all the laptops it tests. The technique lets devices store web pages locally so that the browser can load it faster. Without it, the batteries are put under greater strain.
Secondly, Apple found that putting browser cache out of commission triggered an obscure and intermittent bug which reloads icons. This is apparently what gave birth to the inconsistent results. Post these findings, Consumer Reports conducted the test again and found that the 3 MacBooks from its original tests delivered consistently high battery life when caching was active.
Meanwhile, Apple has fixed the bug uncovered. It’s currently only accessible by participants of the brand’s Beta Software Program and will be spread out to the public in the weeks to come as part of a broader software update.
Consumer Reports plans to re-test the laptops with the software fix. If the results are high enough, the series will get the coveted Recommended rating. We’ll have to wait and see whether the bug is also the reason why several other 2016 MacBook Pro owners have been complaining about poor battery life as well.