OS X Mavericks How Will It Make Your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air More Power Efficient?

Mac OS X Mavericks Logo

The release of OS X Mavericks is right around the corner.  This operating system will use new methods to improve even more, your Mac’s performance and battery life, which are two characteristics of Macs that people already know and love.

 

Increased Power Efficiency

 

mac os x mavericks

 

Reducing energy consumption is an important issue for all laptops. OS X Mavericks will allow Mac computers to utilize new power technologies substantially improving power savings. At the same time, OS X Mavericks will be able to maintain or even improve the responsiveness and performance of your Mac.

 

One of the ways that OS X Mavericks will make this happen is by grouping operations.  What this does is it allows your CPU to spend more time in a low-power idling state. This process uses energy in your computer more efficiently and does not affect the performance of the Mac.

 

app multitasking

 

In addition to keeping the processor cores idle respective to the Mac’s demand for CPU usage, OS X Maverick runs more efficiently when your Mac is on battery power. The new OS X only does work that you are actively requesting or that is absolutely necessary to keep your Mac up and running when it is unplugged.

 

App Nap

 

mavericks apps

 

App Nap also helps to increase power efficiency and does exactly what it sounds like it makes apps take naps.  App Nap is a feature that helps you save power when working with multiple apps at the same time on your Mac. This function puts applications that you are not using into a low-power state helping to regulate the CPU usage in addition to network and disk I/O.  Among the various hardware components of a computer, storage is a major consumer of energy.

puppy with speech bubble

 

OS X Maverick can detect when an app is not being used, or completely hidden behind other windows. If an app is not actively doing something for you like playing music or downloading a file, this feature will conserve battery life by slowing down these particular apps’ activities. However OS X Maverick will switch the app activity seamlessly to full speed as soon as you use it again. App Nap will also help to conserve your Mac’s battery life in Safari by only allowing the visible tab that you are currently working on to work at full speed, while the other tabs’ activities are slowed for efficient CPU usage.

 

Puppy running

 

How does App Nap work?

 

  • Timer throttling —> improves CPU idle time by reducing the frequency with which an app’s timers are fired.

 

  • I/O throttling —>App Nap assigns the lowest priority of disk or network activity associated with a napping app.

 

  • Priority reduction —> is a UNIX process that reduces the priority of a napping app so it receives a smaller share of the available processor time and power.

Timer Coalescing and Split-Second Efficiency

 

cpu idling

 

In OS X Mavericks, the Timer Coalescing function groups low-level operations together, creating little bits of idle time, allowing your CPU to enter a low-power state more often.

 

Timer Coalescing

 

The Timer Coalescing feature reduces the amount of system maintenance and background activity when your Mac is running on battery power. Some tasks such as Software Update checks are set to run on battery power only after a specified amount of time, and it can delay the process by up to one day if you are on battery power on your Mac laptop.  Other tasks that are not considered essential to the functionality of your Mac such as background downloads of software updates can be configured to never run on battery power.

timer coalescing

 

So if allowing the CPU to spend as much time as possible idling is good for conserving power, it makes sense that frequently waking up a processor can be detrimental to the battery life.

 

Then how can the system do all of the required work while maximizing the amount of time the processor spends being idle? The Timer Coalescing feature will shift the execution of app timers so that multiple applications’ timers are executed at the same time. This can dramatically increase the amount of time that the processor spends idling.

 

Safari Power Saver

 

safari power saver

Apple states that a Mac running Safari Power Saver can use up to 35 percent less power. Flash content running on your Mac from a website in Safari has always been a power hungry function, but the Safari Power Saver feature helps to prevent this from draining your battery life.

The new Safari Power Saver feature recognizes the content that you came to see and the stuff that is peripheral, which you did not. If the content on the web page is front and center it will play as usual, however the content in the margins will be paused via Safari Power Saver. It will display a static preview of the content but it will not run until your click on it.

 

safari-power-saver

 

This is how Safari Power Saver works: Safari will not automatically load every Flash content on a web page unless you give it permission. Instead, Safari will display a static preview with a message saying, “Click to Start Flash plug-in.” Once you prompt your Mac to use Flash, Safari will load the content. [1]

 


[1] Apple Inc. (June 2013). OS X Mavericks. Core Technologies Overview.

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