Hot Apple MacBook Pro Battery Drain Issue and Solution

For the longest time, it has been bugging me that my MacBook Pro was running above 80 degrees C and that the battery seemed to be draining awfully fast.

I figured out what was going on (run-a-way programs eating up the processor time), and will show you how to quickly identify and shut these problem programs down. Just so you can compare your system to mine, here are some of the specifications of my computer below. Keep in mind, I changed the name of my computer below to “my” computer.

My Apple MacBook Pro has been upgraded to 8GB of RAM and a 500 GB 5400 RPM Hitachi HD. The original had a 250 GB hard drive and 4GB of memory. Note, I intentionally stayed away from a 7200 RPM drive to extend battery life as much as possible, and I felt that running the hard drive at the lower 5400 RPM would be cooler for the system overall.

The MacBook Pro computer was running hot prior to the upgrades having been installed.

I had also installed the free smcFanControl addon program in an effort to reduce the temperature of the computer by increasing the speed at which the cooling fans turn. This did help a bit to cool it down, but I still felt that the computer was running way too hot and the battery was being drained extremely fast as well.

Battery health is currently 88% with 239 cycles. Monitoring provided by the free iStat Pro app desktop widget.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009) – Technical Specifications

Hardware Overview:

Model Name:    MacBook Pro
Model Identifier:    MacBookPro5,5
Processor Name:    Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed:    2.53 GHz
Number Of Processors:    1
Total Number Of Cores:    2
L2 Cache:    3 MB
Memory:    8 GB
Bus Speed:    1.07 GHz
Boot ROM Version:    MBP55.00AC.B03
SMC Version (system):    1.47f2
Serial Number (system):    73942PSH66E
Hardware UUID:    91956E46-2E0F-5A29-9555-6C92323AC385
Sudden Motion Sensor:
State:    Enabled

System Software Overview:

System Version:    Mac OS X 10.6.8 (10K549)
Kernel Version:    Darwin 10.8.0
Boot Volume:    500GB
Boot Mode:    Normal
Computer Name:    My MacBook Pro
User Name:    MY (my)
Secure Virtual Memory:    Enabled
64-bit Kernel and Extensions:    No
Time since boot:    2 days 15:57
SMC Version (system):    1.47f2

I keep the AirPort connection on and use it wirelessly on the various LANs in my daily travels. Bluetooth I keep turned off.

After much research online, where I read about other MacBook Pros running hot and then it started me thinking that maybe a program was running in the background that was essentially using lots of CPU processing power. I use Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and others for my various Internet Browsers. The reason I use so many different browsers, is that I need to do cross platform evaluations of websites, and verify that everything works and displays okay on each browser. That is when I found out that Mac OS X 10.6.8 has a utility application called Activity Monitor. You will find the Activity Monitor program by going to ApplicationsUtilities — Activity

MacBook Pro Activity Monitor

What I found was Google Chrome, (see second screen capture below of Activity Monitor which shows this happening) while not actually launched at the time, was still running Google Chrome Helper application in the background that was eating up 100% or more of my CPU time. I had to force quit Google Chrome Helper from the Activity Monitor application for it to actually quit. Then, as I watched my CPU temperature, I was able to note that it dropped almost 30 degrees C in five minutes.

Other things that really suck up a lot of processing power is Flash. Flash is no doubt one of those programs that requires a lot of processing to render the video images. I have noticed that using Flash in all the web browsers really makes a huge impact on the CPU and the battery life, not to mention that Flash will also cause the batteries to heat up due to significant current usage. Speaking of current usage, it would be nice to be able to quickly monitor the current draw in milliamps and voltage. I guess there is an app for that too. I’ll have to do more research in that area.

I have since placed the Activity Monitor program on the Dock (simply by dragging the program application onto the Dock), so I would have quick access to it. I still like and use Google Chrome, but I pay a bit more attention to what programs are now running in the background, and what might be sucking up CPU time and battery power. Here is an additional link with info of why your MacBook Pro might be running hot (opens in new window).

What I believe is happening, is that sometimes one of the applications (in this case Google Chrome Helper) gets caught in a loop, and simply runs away using lots of computer CPU processing time and causing the battery to quickly become depleted. This is not only related to Google Chrome, but I have also seen Firefox do the same thing, thinking that the program has been quitted, when in reality it is running in overdrive in the the background. Below is a screen capture with Google Chrome Helper running in overdrive when the actual Google Chrome program is not running.

Activity Monitor Showing Chrome Helper Application Running in Overdrive

So, if your MacBook Pro seems to be running too hot, take a look what background software applications might be running. Try quitting those programs, and then if that doesn’t work, try “force quitting” those selected applications with the Activity Monitor program, and see if your CPU temperature cools down. Then you will know for sure what is causing your computer to run hot.


Thank you very much for this! I found that the Safari Flash Utility was running in the background and once I turned it off the processor relaxed, the temp dropped, and I got an hour back on my battery right off the bat! Thank you!!

Jim Warholic

It seems that there are program addons that don’t always shut down when the main program shuts down. I do keep my Activity Monitor program handy in my Dock area, so I can quickly launch it if I am suspecting something is not quite right.


The exact same thing happened to me! Thank you so much for posting this. Is there anyway to contact Google to let them know this occurs? Is there any way to contact Google to have them correct this program error? And it seems regardless of the browser I choose this incident will occur?


That was amazing! For me it was “Java” that was using 100% CPU. I quit Java and within 20 seconds the fans dropped well over 1000 rpm and the CPU temp dropped from 86 to 55. Thank you so much for posting this!


Man…. I don’t know how to thank you… this is the best answer to this problem and it is so simple… Thank you again.

Erin S.

Thank you! This fixed my issue. I thought I was going to have to make a trip to the Apple Store, which is never easy on my wallet.

Manuel Perez Akly

Hi, I have the same problem since yesterday, until the day before my macbook pro was working fine, battery lasted for at least 5 hours and it didn’t heat. Now, with no difference in software or use my battery runs out in about 2 hours and it heats up even in standby. I checked the activity monitor but didn’t find any software running out the CPU, does anybody know another option for this problem?, thank you

Jim Warholic

A note about batteries. It is possible that on older MacBooks and MacBook Pros that the battery pack is on its last legs. I use coconutBattery to occasionally monitor the status of my battery pack. coconutBattery is a free program that tells what the current charge, maximum charge, current capacity, design capacity, battery loadcycles, battery temperature, age of you Mac, and battery power usage.

When I am writing this, my current battery specs are as follows:

Current charge: 4303 mAh
Maximum charge: 4464 mMh

Battery capacity: 4464 mAh
Design capacity: 5450 mAH

Mac model: MacBookPro5,5
Age of your Mac: 36 Months
Battery loadcycles: 344
Battery temperature: 30.8 C
Battery power usage: 13.2 Watt

Take a look at this posting for MacBook Pro Battery Packs with more details.


Jim, thank you for the the Tips on this subject. I downloaded all three programs (SMCFAN, Coconut and iStat). Still had a huge problem. Temp @ 80 Deg C. Battery lasting 2 Hrs max. Used SMC to increase fans to 3900rpm. just to keep Temp at around 75 to 80.

Please make sure that everyone knows to select ALL PROCESSES in the Activity Monitor Drop Down Box. I was sitting looking at “My Procesess and not “All Processes”. I found that a process called SCSERVICE was using 99 to 100% of the CPU!

Guess what? This is a SAVVYCONNECT program. I had downloaded SAVVYCONNECT two months ago and really battled to get rid of it.It simply “took control” of my machine. Used AppCleaner to clean up, but even that did not find SCSERVICE.

Deleted it via the Activity Monitor.

Ten minutes later, my machine is running at 38 Deg c to Max 42 Deg and fan back at default around 2800 RPM and as cool as a Cucumber. Battery has only lost 2% over last 30 minutes so looking good.

I will definitely keep SMCFAN and iStat running.

I strongly believe that whoever is in charge of SAVVYCONNECT should be called to account. If you Google the problems people have had, you will agree with me.

Anyway, Greetings from Sunny South Africa and thanks for the help, it certainly got me on the right track.

Linda Amato

Help! My MacAir is just over a year old. My battery has lasted anywhere between 6 and 8 hours (normal use). For the past month, it has been dying after 2 hours. After some research I found that alot a people downloaded SavvyConnect and it is running SCService in the background. I had a heck of a time removing Savvy Connect….cause I wasn’t using it. finally got it off my computer (I think), but i can’t get rid of SCService – I don’t know where it is installed on my hard drive. I tried quitting and force quitting (via Activity Monitor) but it keeps coming back…just like the program kept doing until I somehow deleted it. I am convinced this is the culprit of making my Mac run hot and killing my battery. Any advice would be much appreciated.


Wow, that instantly fixed my problem too, for me it was a dumb “router monitor” that I saw using all the power, I shut it down and my computer responded instantly, thank you thank you thank you….


Aah ….. peace and quiet at last as that fan noise subsides. I thought I’d bought dodgy RAM during an upgrade from 2 to 8MB on my 2009 MacBook Pro, bought an SSD and things were no better ….. wasted nights trying to find out what was a normal temp to run at with the SMC utility and given up for about 6mths, then came across this wonderful article.

I had an errant “Belkin USB Monitor” process eating 100.2% at times (How’s that work – floating point maths not up to scratch?).

Anyhow, I can’t thank you enough – my love for my MacBook Pro is now restored.


This is very helpful. This Savvyconnect thing has given me given me enough trouble over the past couple of weeks. My MAC 2.66 GHz, i7 with a 4 GB RAM was always at 90-100 and the fan speed to maximum. After removing Savvyconnect temperature dropped to 56 and fan to 2000. Thank you for sharing this


I too had a similar issue. Once I clicked on the system process, I say a lexmark printer driver was over 100%. This has been driving me nuts for the past few days. Shut down this driver and now I am at over 5 hours of battery life.


Thanks, Found that adobe “coresync” was using 100% of the CPU. Once it was disabled the fans turned down and battery life was back to normal. Great.


Fabulous article. Google Drive taking up 101% of the computers usage. Never had this issue before and thought something was amiss in the mechanics (needed a new battery or fans) but this sorted it!

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