The latest macOS update, 10.10.2, has an interesting “feature.” Click the battery icon and you’ll notice that the “Time Remaining” estimate is completely gone. Even worse, there’s no option anywhere to bring it back.
Apple, for their part, claims the estimates were never accurate, and were prompting inaccurate complaints about poor battery life. Critics say Apple is just trying to obscure actually poor battery life.
Whatever the reason for this change, it’s annoying, because battery life estimates are useful. Sure, fluctuations in power usage means they were never much better than a guess, but there are all sorts of reasons even an estimate of battery life can come in handy. Here’s how to bring this information back to your Mac’s menu bar, or how to find it if you’d
Use Battery Monitor to See Time Remaining
There is no way, within macOS itself, to bring back this information to the native battery icon. Happily, a free third party app called Battery Monitor gives the information both in the menu bar and alongside your Notification Center widgets.
After installing, you’ll notice the menu bar icon isn’t pretty, but when you click it, you’ll at least see the remaining time estimate in the bottom right:
We can make this even better with a little bit of configuration. Click the icon at top-left of this popup, and you’ll bring up a menu. Click “Preferences.”
This will open the Preferences screen, where we can really configure this thing.
I recommend first clicking “Show Charge Indicator,” which will make this application look just like the native Mac battery widget:
You can’t even tell which is which, can you? If you like that, you can remove the native battery indicator by holding Command and dragging it off the menu bar.
Back to the Preferences window, because we can do even better. Click “Show Battery Time” and you’ll see the time estimate without even having to click the menu bar icon.
That’s right: we’re taking the information Apple wanted to hide and making it even more prominent. Deal with it, Tim Cook.
One last thing: Battery Monitor also offers a Notification Center widget, and you can use this even if Battery Monitor isn’t open.
If you’d like to keep the default battery icon, you can still find the time remaining information this way. If you want more than battery life, Monit offers this battery information alongside CPU, memory, and disk data.
View a Battery Life Estimate In Activity Monitor
If you only occasionally need to access the time remaining estimate, just open the Activity Monitor, which you’ll find in Applications > Utilities.
Click the “Energy” tab, and you’ll find the estimate at the bottom of the window. It’s not as convenient as the menu bar, but it doesn’t require any third party applications.
View Remaining Battery Life With the Terminal
There’s one more way to see your battery life remaining timer: from the Terminal, which you can find in Applications > Utilities. Just type
pmset -g batt, then hit enter, and you’ll see your battery life information, including a time remaining estimate:
You probably won’t manually run this command often, but there are other uses for this command. You could use it with Geektool, which puts custom widgets on your desktop, for example. Or if you’re really ambitious, you could probably make a widget for Bitbar, which lets you add anything to the menu bar.