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How good is the MacBook Air M2 Battery Life?

There was a time when opening any high-power program on a laptop running on battery power would mean you had a flat battery in 20 to 30 minutes. Even when using non demanding apps, I remember when the realistic battery life of any laptop was at best 2 and half hours. Those days are long gone with the 2022 M2 MacBook Air where it is possible to run for multiple days at a time without having to recharge the computer, but also work on some very high power tasks using energy draining apps.

I remember using Intel MacBook Pros from 2007 until very recently with my 16 inch MacBook Pro Intel i9, when simply opening a video editing program such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere would make the fans spin up and my fully charged battery drop to 0% in less than an hour. The reality was, that video editing on a laptop on battery power has until very recently been impossible. This has now changed with the MacBook Air with the M2 Processor.

Enter the M2 MacBook Air

In July 2022 I took home a MacBook Air M2 as my primary computer, and although I was apprehensive at first thinking that I would always need a MacBook Pro it has proven itself a capable content creator’s laptop with a battery that can last for days.

I’ve already proven that the MacBook Air M2 outperforms the Intel i9 MacBook Pro in terms of speed which for me, is fine. The speed of the M2 Air is perfectly fine for editing 4K H264 video for content creation which I use it for at work. But the MacBook Air M2 is capable of extreme performance, better performance than Intel i9 MacBook Pros on battery power, and it runs so much longer.

MacBook Air Battery Life Real World Case Study

This week I needed to film an event in 4K, edit 30 to 90 second clips and upload them to social channels. A usual need for a content creator these days. I used the Sony AX700, a professional level video camera outputting 100Mbps 4K files that look excellent. I shot around 64Gb of footage to edit.

Leaving the laptop on battery perched on a bar table I went and filmed, downloaded footage via a USB-C to SD card reader, brought into Adobe Premiere, edited, colour graded, used Photoshop to create some layered files to animate, remixed sound in Adobe Audition and then compressed to 4K social ready files in Adobe Media Encoder. 2 Pass VBR, because I always use 2 Pass. The process was fast. Seamless. And didn’t drain the battery.

Here is the Proof

On the evening of October 13 2022 I was in an Uber for about an hour. I needed to use Microsoft Excel, so I hotspotted my MacBook Air M2 to the iPhone and worked on some sheets for about 40 minutes. Almost no effect on the battery.

On Friday 14 October I opened the MacBook Air M2 on battery power to start editing. I was editing and using it in this way for 4 hours. It was on for 4 hours, screen at full brightness and I was editing video in Adobe Premiere Pro. The battery only dropped to 31%. Even with all that high power, demanding use, the MacBook Air’s battery only took about a 60% hit over 4 hours. That’s impressive.

Here is the proof. The bottom graph shows 4 hours of screen on use on Friday 14 October. The Top graph shows about 60% battery drain for those 4 hours.

On Saturday 15 October 2022 I started using the MacBook Air again for general web surfing and….to type this article. I used it for about an hour in the morning, and now in the evening, as I click publish on this article, another 2 hours editing photos and surfing the web. And The battery %? It is currently 20%.

So, how good is the battery in the 2022 MacBook Air with M2 Processor? Well, 1 hour of office use hotspotted to a phone. Followed by 4 hours of intense video editing, Photoshop work, compressing and uploading video content. Followed by around 3 hours of general office use and Adobe Lightroom. And I still have 20% of battery life ready to go. How good is that? And this little MacBook Air M2 still outperforms my MacBook Pro Intel i9 in terms of speed.

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