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High battery consumption on M1 MacBook Pro using Lightroom Classic

Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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Hello!
I have a Mac Book Pro 14" (M1 Pro) and I have to say that Lightroom Classic is extremely draining on the battery. An export of 1000 images, costs 20 percent battery. Since Apple advertises incredible battery performance, I wonder if this is normal. I can watch movies on the computer (HD + full brightness) for about 10 hours without interruption. If I work with Lightroom and Photoshop, then it's over after about 3 hours. How does this work for you? Can you report something similar?

 

I have now exported a total of about 4000 photos as jpg and have seen battery life drop from 83% to 33%. How can this be? Apple says there is nothing wrong with the battery. The capacity is at 100%. I have also already completely reinstalled the operating system with no change.

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Community Expert , May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

@jsknick wrote:

Since Apple advertises incredible battery performance, I wonder if this is normal. I can watch movies on the computer (HD + full brightness) for about 10 hours without interruption. If I work with Lightroom and Photoshop, then it's over after about 3 hours.


 

Those numbers are understandable. If you look at how Apple talks about battery life on the Tech Specs web page for the M1 Pro, it says:

 


The wireless web test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing 25 popular website
...

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Community Expert , May 10, 2022 May 10, 2022

An energy saving mode is not common in professional applications in general, because for many professionals, speed is a very high priority because time is money, so they prefer maximum performance over all other factors. Because an energy saving mode is not common in this class of application, it is not a high priority to add to Lightroom Classic. However, you are free to request it in the Ideas section of this forum, where people who agree with you can upvote your idea and discuss it.

 

The nex

...

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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quoteSince Apple advertises incredible battery performance

By @jsknick

 

Maybe their advertising is not entirely realistic?

 

An export is very CPU-intensive (as in near 100% on all cores), with fans running full throttle. On a laptop I can imagine the fans turned up to 11. It's an obvious drain on power.

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Community Beginner ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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I know that there is a difference between advertising and reality. And the export of photos was also just an example. Apple explicitly advertises Lightroom Classic and long battery life (see picture) and I'm surprised that I'm with 100% battery, after importing about 1000 photos, selecting 40 - 50 images, edit and export this selection after 2-3 hours at 30 - 40% battery.

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Guide ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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How long does the Export take? You're using all the computers resources during an Export, so of course it's going to be draining the battery. And watching a movie requires almost no resources... why are you comparing the two?

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Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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I only mentioned the videos to show that the battery is basically okay.
I can't work with Lightroom Classic on battery power for more than 3 hours on average and I think that's pretty short. So you think this is normal?

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Guide ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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I can easily work in Classic for 8-12 hours on my 16" M1, as long as i'm not maxing out the processors by using preview rendering or exporting or other CPU demanding tasks.

This is how all computers work... heavy tasks require more power.

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Community Expert ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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@jsknick wrote:

Since Apple advertises incredible battery performance, I wonder if this is normal. I can watch movies on the computer (HD + full brightness) for about 10 hours without interruption. If I work with Lightroom and Photoshop, then it's over after about 3 hours.


 

Those numbers are understandable. If you look at how Apple talks about battery life on the Tech Specs web page for the M1 Pro, it says:

 


The wireless web test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing 25 popular websites with display brightness set to 8 clicks from bottom. The Apple TV app movie playback test measures battery life by playing back HD 1080p content with display brightness set to 8 clicks from bottom.

 

In other words, Apple does not claim 10 hours for intensive photo/video editing. Because it would be unrealistic to claim that. When you watch HD video, the reason battery life is so long is because today’s computers and mobile devices have hardware optimized for efficient, low power media playback, even HD video. Because of that, your computer does not need to use the CPU and GPU very much to play back video or audio. The CPU and GPU won’t be doing much.

 

Now contrast this with intensive photo or video editing. When you actively edit media, that engages CPU, GPU, and storage to a much higher level than web browsing or video playback. If you edit a photo, there will be frequent bursts of high hardware usage, then it rests for a bit while you decide what to do next. Those bursts use more battery than simply watching a video.

 

If you export many images in Lightroom Classic, you step up power drain even further. Lightroom Classic is good about using every available CPU core to export those images in bulk; we want it to do that so that finishes exporting all of the images as quickly as possible. CPU usage rises to almost 100% per core. This is maximum CPU power usage, more than almost anything else you do with software. And it is much more demanding on the computer than watching a video.

 

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the CPU History window in Activity Monitor, which comes with every Mac. The one on the left is while watching a video on my own M1 Pro. Notice how the Mac CPU is just not very busy. The one on the right is while exporting hundreds of images from Lightroom Classic. Notice how the CPU cores are operating at maximum capacity. That is how much busier it is when you ask it to do that much work.

 

MacBook-Pro-14-M1-Pro-CPU-cores-comparision.jpg

 

It’s like driving a car rated for 30 miles per gallon. Maybe that’s true for two people at a constant fuel-efficient speed on the highway. But if you load it up with people and cargo, and then drive it up steep hills on city streets, of course you aren’t going to get anywhere close to 30 miles per gallon while you are driving the machine that hard.

 

So, it is possible that there is nothing wrong with the computer or with Lightroom Classic. The drop in battery life may be proportional to the much higher energy required to keep the computer working at maximum capacity for an extended period of time.


The M1 really is efficient. If you tried to maintain same high level of performance with an Intel laptop, its battery would probably be drained in less than two hours. If you were able to export 1000 images and see a 20% drop in battery life, think about what that really means: A full battery could export at least 5000 images. I am not sure if that would be possible on any older Intel-based Mac laptop.

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Community Beginner ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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Thanks for the tips. I didn't know that exporting takes so much power. Maybe I was fooled by the attached photo. On vacation I come home in the evening with about 1500 pictures, import them, look at them all, edit 30-40 and then export them. My expectations for this process, which takes maybe so 2 hours, maybe 3, was a battery drop of maybe 20%. In fact, I lose 50-60% and more. And I didn't expect that.

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Community Expert ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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quote

Maybe I was fooled by the attached photo.


By @jsknick

 

Advertising is advertising, from Apple or anyone else. This isn't magic, even if it has an Apple logo on the lid. They can't suspend the laws of physics. You always need to take it with a pinch of salt and adjust it to real life conditions.

 

My (hybrid) car is rated at so many miles on battery power, but if I'm lucky I get maybe 2/3 of that.

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Community Expert ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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@jsknick wrote:

On vacation I come home in the evening with about 1500 pictures, import them, look at them all, edit 30-40 and then export them. My expectations for this process, which takes maybe so 2 hours, maybe 3, was a battery drop of maybe 20%. In fact, I lose 50-60% and more. And I didn't expect that.


 

If you’re losing 50-60% battery for that process, that does seem like a lot of energy for a 2-hour edit and exporting only 30-40 photos. The original post talked about exporting 1000 images costing 20% battery, and 4000 images costing 50% battery, which are both more understandable.

 

The 1500-photo job might require more energy if previews for all images were built on import, because bulk preview generation is similar to exporting. I use the Embedded and Sidecar option so that no previews are built except for images I actually open in Develop. (You can still preview images in Library, using the preview embedded by the camera.) If the only thing done to the images on battery was editing in the Develop module, I would roughly expect 4 to 8 hours of battery runtime.

 

In the English version of the M1 Pro MacBook Pro web page, the text below the picture says “A single charge lets you compile up to four times as much code in Xcode or edit images for up to twice as long in Lightroom Classic.” So if an Intel laptop battery lasts 2-3 hours under a heavy photo processing load, Apple is implying that the M1 would last 4-6 hours, which I think is a reasonable claim. The Lightroom text has a footnote at the bottom of the page describing which systems were used for the comparison, and what types of work was done in Lightroom Classic.

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Community Expert ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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I feel this is the resonable answer. i hope everyone agrees?

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Community Beginner ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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Yes, thanks!

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Community Beginner ,
May 09, 2022 May 09, 2022

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Thanks to all. So I understand that a lot of work in Lightroom Classic requires a lot of Energy. Wouldn't it make sense then to have an energy saving mode in Lightroom? I am not referring to the operating system options. As one user made the comparison with the race car, I don't have to go full throttle all the time. 

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Community Expert ,
May 10, 2022 May 10, 2022

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An energy saving mode is not common in professional applications in general, because for many professionals, speed is a very high priority because time is money, so they prefer maximum performance over all other factors. Because an energy saving mode is not common in this class of application, it is not a high priority to add to Lightroom Classic. However, you are free to request it in the Ideas section of this forum, where people who agree with you can upvote your idea and discuss it.

 

The next question is, how would an application like Lightroom Classic save energy? This is where it gets tricky. The nature of the editing in Lightroom Classic requires more processing, and therefore more energy, especially if camera raw files are edited. To throttle down the power level, a possible consequence is slower operation. There would be possible delays and lag, exports would take longer, and so on. You get more battery life, but you might not actually get that more work done because it takes longer to complete the same amount of work.

 


@jsknick wrote:

I am not referring to the operating system options.


 

Because Lightroom Classic has no energy saving mode (and you won’t find one in its competitors either), you must use the operating system options. If you’re concerned about extending battery life by limiting maximum performance, that is the specific purpose of the Low Power Mode in the latest Macs and iOS devices. You should enable it.

 

macOS-12-Low-Power-Mode.jpg

 

One more thing. I remembered that the ArtIsRight channel on YouTube posted an extensive battery test video (below) for the 14-inch and 16-inch M1 MacBook Pros across a range of professional applications. He included Lightroom Classic testing, so you might want to watch those parts. At 5:30, he talks about the total battery time he got after running high performance tests with professional applications. He got 2 to 3.5 hours. At  14:29, he shows the time differences between regular and Low Power modes when exporting 1000 Nikon raw files from Lightroom Classic. Another part of the video covers Lightroom Classic preview generation speed under different power settings. These tests may provide some additional context for what you see in your own work, and what steps you want to take.

 

 

One thing you may learn from the video (and from numerous reviews) is that if you must have the longest battery runtime when doing intensive work on a Mac laptop, you might consider trading in the 14-inch for the 16-inch, because Apple used the extra space inside the 16-inch to stuff it with more battery cells, so the 16-inch has a longer battery runtime for the same level of performance.

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Community Beginner ,
May 19, 2022 May 19, 2022

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Thanks! That helps!

 

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