Solving My Macbook Battery Problem

In the past few months I’ve been frustrated by my Macbook Air, which is less than a year old, constantly draining the battery when I leave it unplugged and on sleep.  I often have work to do in the middle of the night or early morning so I’ll bring the fully charged laptop to bed, put it on sleep and set the alarm for 4am – then when I wake up and go to do work I discover the battery is almost completely drained.

I found a thread on the apple support forums from late last year where people were complaining of something similar but that seemed to be entirely related to the Avast software which I don’t have.  I also saw a few comments about using a keyboard cover preventing the screen closing properly which worried me as I didn’t want to give up on my mophie cover but on testing (putting it to sleep manually rather than just closing the cover) I discovered the drain still happened.

My solution was finding the command

pmset -g assertions

running that in a terminal window gave me this

Assertion status system-wide:
BackgroundTask 0
PreventDiskIdle 0
ApplePushServiceTask 0
UserIsActive 1
PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep 0
InteractivePushServiceTask 0
PreventSystemSleep 1
ExternalMedia 0
PreventUserIdleSystemSleep 0
NetworkClientActive 0
Listed by owning process:
pid 69(hidd): [0x0000000a00002102] 02:04:08 UserIsActive named: “com.apple.iohideventsystem.queue.tickle”
Timeout will fire in 596 secs Action=TimeoutActionRelease
pid 67(InternetSharing): [0x000000080000215f] 02:02:51 DenySystemSleep named: “com.apple.InternetSharing”
No kernel assertions.

See that last one?  I have internet sharing on because once when at a conference where only I could connect, Tim and I shared my wifi connection. That option was stopping my laptop from ever properly going into sleep.  I disabled it in system preferences , shut my laptop lid and found it still 100% charged 5 hrs later.

Oh and the first time I ran the pmset command it didn’t show me that, instead it showed me this

PreventUserIdleSystemSleep named: “com.apple.iTunes.syncing”

Yes iTunes was preventing idle sleep, but more importantly until I shut down iTunes it didn’t show me the bigger problem of Internet Sharing preventing it.

Problem solved.

The Worst Product Apple Have Ever Released

It hurts me to say this and goodness knows I’m not a fan of the “if Steve Jobs” were alive mantra but Apple have finally managed to release a product so bad, so beta, so limited and so shonky that I had to spend time working out how to remove it and that takes me back to my windows days.

So what is it? Well most of you won’t even notice but in Mavericks Apple kindly introduced iBooks for OSX.  I read a lot on my iPad on my iPhone and  – you know – actual books.  I have over 2000 books in iTunes syncing across devices.  I never had any real urge to read books on my computer but Apple obviously thought I did (or they were up to something nefarious) so they brought out iBooks.  Why is iBooks so terrible?   Well let’s start with the fact that it removes your books from iTunes completely and imports them into “iBooks” where they can no longer be found via spotlight.  If you’re looking , and looking , and looking you’ll find them hidden away in

~/Library>Containers>com.apple.BKAgentService>Data>Documents>iBooks>Books  – intuitive eh?

Of course not ALL books are there, no, no, .  I went from 2058 books in iTunes to just over 1600 books in iBooks with 400 odd left behind in my old iTunes folder (I spotted that, iBooks certainly didn’t tell me).  I believe those are ones I dropped in from other sources and not from the iBookstore.  So that’s annoying but I’ll just carry on using iTunes and ignore iBooks…..

Unfortunately no.  As soon as you launch iBooks it starts the ibookstoreagent and that takes over from iTunes, you no longer have a books folder in iTunes and none of your books are visible there.  Your iPad or phone syncs with the new iBooks app (the one with 400 books missing).  The iBooks app itself is horrific, you can’t edit any metadata on books (like correcting author names or titles or book covers) or sort the books the way you want – basic stuff that we could do in iTunes.  So now I have 400 books missing, a useless app oh and all my books moved to that container folder have been given a numeric code instead of the useful filename so I can’t search for them by title or author in spotlight.

I check my iPad and iPhone and neither have all books on them, even all books bought from Apple.  If I look at “purchased” I have tons to download manually because they won’t sync.  At this point I’m ready to roll back to Mountain Lion .. but some kind person on the Apple support community (well several kind people) offered a way to remove iBooks and go back to my happy place with iTunes and books management in there.  Here’s what I did

1. Used Activity Monitor to stop the iBookstoreagent

2. Found the ibookstoreagent and moved it to trash (otherwise it will keep restarting

3. Used AppCleaner (free to install but not from AppStore) to remove iBooks and all its related files completely

4. Launched iTunes and my books folder was back with the 400 missing books in it

5. Dragged / dropped all the books in that container folder into iTunes

6. Choose File – Library  – Organize Library to get all those books back into the iTunes folder structure

7. Deleted the container and everything in it including the copies of books I now had back in iTunes

That’s it.  It took about 5 mins (10 if you need to download AppCleaner)  and now I am back to the way I worked before, all collections etc intact and 2058 books in place.

I’m now very nervous about any iTunes or OSX updates going forwards, for the first time since I moved to Mac 6 years ago, i’ll be holding off to let others go through that pain barrier first.  If you haven’t launched iBooks yet, I’d recommend you don’t.

Bad Apple.  Bad.

Rethinking the iPad Air

Yesterday I switched my iPad for an iPad Air. I had an iPad and I have an iPad mini which I thought would replace my regular iPad but it’s now barely used. The iPad has two SIM cards, one for O2 in the UK (which also works in Europe at no charge which I suspect O2 don’t know) and one for AT&T in the US. Despite its size and weight (and how difficult it is to fit in a handbag) I find it more enjoyable to read books on and it’s really reliable for data connections. The iPad mini is now used only on planes really where it’s small enough to fit on the seat tray so I can watch videos

So why bother upgrading at all ? Well I had skipped 2 versions already (I also don’t update my iPhone) and my books were taking a noticeable time to load (10 seconds or so which is FAR too long) plus “lighter” sounded good and I could pass down my old one to my mother replacing her even older one. I can’t say I was excited about it though….

Well a day later and using it today I love it. It’s smaller, thinner and lighter to fit in my bag, I can hold it easily with one hand and the reduction in bezel size means my thumbs reach the middle when typing which makes it more accurate to use. On and the books load much faster. I debated upgrading to the Air but knowing what I do now I’d definitely recommend it. The mini may find a new home though.