battery drain

Hi all,
I have been a happy Scrivener user since the early 2020. However, due to the pandemic, I was using it mostly at home, with my MacBookPro constantly plugged-in. Now, when I take my laptop with me to work or elsewhere, leaving the charger behind, I notice a significantly shorter battery life when using Scrivener as compared to when it is closed completely (Command+Q, not just hidden on the Dock). To be sure, I have ran several tests, spending 3-4 hrs writing using iA Writer, Pages, MS Word, and Scrivener, with roughly the same set of other apps in the background (Safari with 2-3 tabs, DigitalEditions, Mail, etc.). Result:most programs - 40-50% of battery left, Scrivener - 5-15%. I do realize that the difference between capabilities between some of those programs is massive, but still it renders Scrivener much less viable choice when working unplugged.
Does anyone have similar observations? If so, do you think is there any power-consumption optimization possible to solve the issue? I love the program for its all-in-one format, and would by far prefer to be able to use it on the go as well as at my desk at home.

I’ve not noticed any power consumption issues with Scrivener on my own MacBook. You can monitor the energy usage in real time with the Energy tab of Activity Monitor, which you will find in your Utilities folder within the Applications folder. If your project is stored in Dropbox then that would cause small amounts of constant network traffic as documents are saved as you work, and then uploaded, but even that would probably not use much power.

Thanks for the hint. My projects are stored locally with no need for syncing. I will test the power consumption with the Activity monitor, and will post the results when I have them.

What is your MacBookPro … I mean does it have a hard disk or a solid state internal drive? If the former, that could be part of your answer as Scrivener will access the drive much more than any of the other apps you mention, and hard disks use up a fair amount of power, either to keep the spinning or to spin them up.

Just a thought.


What’s in the project? Using Scrivener to view a video in the Research folder is a different task from composing text in Pages.


2018 MBP 13", Intel i5, SSD.
The project does not contain anything but text, and two or three PDFs in the Research folder.
In the activity monitor I noticed that Scrivener does use more energy than other apps. During 1 hour of use the energy impact rose to 7,2, while similar usage of Word was 4,1, Pages - 3,7, and iA Writer 2,8.

I had same problem with MBA i5 2020. In my case the problem was linked to Dropbox activity needed for synchronizing Scrivener projects. Since Dropbox had occassionally high CPU and battery load I uninstalled it and stored Scrivener projects locally on my hard disk. Now I transfer and backup project files using zipped backup files.

Another solution is to pause Dropbox syncing while you’re out-and-about, and re-start it when you get home. If you have Dropbox installed on your Mac, your project will still be saved on your hard drive, it’s just that Dropbox updates will queue until you turn on syncing again.

I do not use dropbox, so in my case it must be something else. I’ve kept monitoring the energy consumption by all my apps and Scrivener is on top of the list by a large margin.

Thanks for your reply. I am aware of this but I didn’t want to pause Dropbox syncing since I was not sure if I would remember to re-start it again. Also, there was issues with Dropbox finder integration etc. Now I am just using iCloud and taking local backups of my projects with Time Machine and ChronoSync Express.

BTW I read your blog “A Study in Silver”. It contains a lot of interesting and valuable information. Thanks a lot!

Have you adjusted the auto-save interval? It defaults to 2 seconds of inactivity, but I usually increase it to 10 seconds. That reduces the number of times that it writes out to the hard drive, which might have an impact on the energy use. While SSDs are a lot more efficient than spinning-platter HDs, they still require more energy to record new information than it takes to maintain something in RAM.

The only other thing I can think of is to try resetting the Scrivener interface. Maybe there’s a bug in some aspect of it (showing colors in the binder, splitting the editor a particular way, customizations to the toolbar… ). Keep a screenshot of anything visible as you have it now, and export your other settings so you can re-load them if that doesn’t have any impact.