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Apple Patches Safari Bug Causing MacBook Pro Battery Issues

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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Cupertino places blame on the testing actions of Consumer Reports triggering the flaw

Apple has released a fix for its new MacBook Pro laptops after a bug resulted in highly variable battery life, garnering the ire of tech testing site Consumer Reports.

The Cupertino company laid blame for the battery issues at a bug lurking in the native macOS Safari browser which was triggered by the setting used by Consumer Reports when conducted its battery testing.

“We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing websites which turns off the browser cache… We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test,” Apple told Consumer Reports.

MacBook Pro battery woes

UPS uninterruptible power supply battery energy © nikkytok ShutterstockThe battery issues presented a stain on the launch of Apple flagship laptops towards the end of 2016.

Despite top-of-the-line models offering a solid specification and Apple’s fancy new TouchBar touchscreen controller display, the problems with battery life mean the new Pro models missed out on the ‘Recommended’ rating Consumer Reports awards; this was a blow for Apple as it normally scored well in such tests.

Consumer Reports appeared to have triggered the battery bug when it switched-off web caching as part of its run-of-the-mill laptop testing.

As caching stores regularly or recently accessed web data on the laptop’s storage, disabling it means browsers have to access completely fresh data from the Internet, which testers use to ascertain a true example of their performance as well as put the battery to the test.

MacBook Pro 2016

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Apple MacBook Pro 2016

Consumer Reports informed Apple of the bug and noted if the patch does squash the bug and show a boost in MacBook Pro battery life, then it will readdress whether the machines deserve the hallowed ‘Recommendation’ label.

Anyone who signs up to Apple’s Beta Software Update programme will be have the patch pushed to their Macs, with the fix also being bundled as part of a larger update for all MacBook Pro users.

Apple has been under the severe scrutiny of Consumer Reports in the past as well, such as warnings over how the iPad 3 ran at higher temperatures than its predecessor.

The review group also refused to endorse the iPhone 4 over its much-publicised antenna issues.

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