What's up (or down) with the my 2019 MacBook Air?

I’ve bought a macbook air December 2019 for traveling, then COVID hit and I stayed put and rarely used it.

I’ve been trying to understand why it never shuts down. Apple > Shut Down… is available, but if I open the lid afterward, it acts as if it only went to sleep. I leave it unplugged and unused for a couple of weeks, the battery drains to zero. I’ve had a million Macs already in my life, they all get dead when they are shut down. Is there a reason they changed the configuration or am I missing some setting or something?

This machine also reboots and wakes up extremely slowly compared with much older machines (2013 and 2016) we have around the house. Except for the retina display, it feels like a downgrade from any previous mac I’ve owned.

I’d appreciate any insight anyone could offer, even if it’s all bad news. :slight_smile:
Thanks, Brenda

When you shut it down, do you wait with closing the lid until you’re certain it has actually shut down?

When you open the lid, do you think it’s as if it came out of sleep because it shows a password dialog right away? Do you use FileVault? If so, that’s why you’re getting a password prompt right away. The SSD first needs to be “unlocked” before any actual booting can happen.

You can check the hardware to make sure there’s nothing fishy there. Boot holding d (as in diagnostics).

If it’s none of that, try creating a fresh admin account and see if logged into that you see the exact same behavior. If so, try booting into safe mode (hold shift at boot) and see if the behavior persists in that mode.

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Thanks for this. – Yes, I usually wait till it goes to black before closing the lid.

When I open the lid, I get a black screen but I don’t need to hit the “on button” to boot – if I only touch the space bar, the apple icon comes up, then the password dialogue. I might not have wondered about it if it weren’t for the fact that it keeps draining the battery when I think I shut it down.

Also, yes, I have FileVault on, which I’ve never used before and don’t really know the first thing about it. I just thought I should do it if I plan to take it on the road. Are you saying that the computer never shuts down w/ FileVault on?

Thanks a lot.

No, the computer does shut down. The primary difference is just that before you would observe the entire boot sequence and then at then end be asked for your credentials to log into you account. With FileVault you are asked for the FV password right after the boot chime so the boot process can actually proceed.

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They no longer have a boot chime on this model computer. (late 2019 I think), so I had no idea. BUT if it truly shuts down, why is the battery draining anyway? It’s gone down to 0% every time I left it unplugged a couple of weeks or so.

BTW, I ran the diagnosis test and it came back with “no issues.”

Thanks again.

You can re-enable the startup chime by typing:

sudo nvram StartupMute=%00

If you want to disable it again later:

sudo nvram StartupMute=%01

See also How to enable the startup chime on recent Macs – The Eclectic Light Company

I successfully did this on my 2018 Mac mini.

Thanks, I just talked to Apple for an hour. They kept focusing on the battery, but I don’t believe that’s the problem. I was asked to shut down and restart so many times, I have to conclude that this computer never actually shuts down – touching any key on the keyboard after shut down brings up the white apple icon and the login screen. If I want to log into R or D, I have to reboot while holding the relevant keys down. I can’t do so from a shut down computer, it doesn’t happen.

They made me an appointment at the genius bar. They gave me the option to talk to a supervisor, but it seems like such a far-fetched proposition, I think people need to witness it. I didn’t believe it myself until today which is why I didn’t bother trying to figure it out. The appointment is a week from now, my one year warranty a week after that (I think). Kinda depressing, really.

MacBook Pros from 2016 and later and MacBook Airs from 2018 and later have an “AutoBoot” feature, where opening the lid will turn it on, even if it was fully shutdown. I think you’re seeing this, hence the white Apple logo you’re seeing before the login screen - that’s the boot sequence.

According to this article: Cult of Mac: How to stop your MacBook from powering up when you open it, you can disable the “AutoBoot” feature with the following command:

sudo nvram AutoBoot=%00

You can re-enable AutoBoot by typing:

sudo nvram AutoBoot=%03

When AutoBoot is disabled, you will need to press the power button to turn it on, like you did with older model laptops.

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I sometimes have to force a shutdown of a Mac as it just hangs during the shutdown process. To do this I press the power button for several seconds. Not sure if your MBP has a power button but, if it does, try this to see if it makes a difference to start-up or battery drain.

Any time you see the white apple icon it means that it was either shutdown or rebooted. There is no way it will appear when waked from sleep.

Forgive me if this is too elementary, but for years now whenever my Macs begin to behave badly or unusually for any reason I can’t pin down (and since I’m no expert there’s a lot I can’t pin down), my fixit routine is OnyX, CleanMyMac, then TechTool Pro from the e-drive. That almost always brings things back to normal. Sometimes resetting PRAM and SMC did the job.

Thanks, the apple tech person had me shut down this way-- we left it for a few minutes and it drained the battery a tad.

Thanks for this, I sort of accepted some of the newness about this unit, since I haven’t kept up with technology the last few years (I still live in the big cats era). I just started wondering about it draining the battery even when I shut it down. Our old laptops hardly even drained the battery in sleep mode, and nothing when powered off.

Thanks, I mostly wondered about it draining the battery when it’s supposedly shut down. Also if I try to put it into some alternative mode with modifiers keys, as soon as I press the keys, the white icon comes up, and hence I can only boot into a mode requiring modifiers keys if I restart – not from a cold shut down. So at least for myself, I haven’t seen this kind of behavior on previous Macs.

If your Mac is shut down entirely and it’s still draining your battery excessively, I’d say the battery is toast. What does it say when you option-click the battery icon in the menu bar?

I have my old 2013 MBP (had its battery replaced in 2018) shut off lying in a corner right now and I’d say it has lost max 10% after a couple weeks.

Hi, yeah the option-click says “condition normal”, I also ran apple diagnostics and it found no issues. So that’s basically the problem. It’s “gaslighting” me, what I see is not what is, which is why I started wondering about the shut down mechanism, but it seems I don’t understand how that works in the newer machines.

We’ve had a variety of macbooks over the years that didn’t lose much charge on sleep let alone shutdown. This one’s been losing charge on shut down probably from the get-go, but we weren’t using it and I didn’t pay attention until recently when it drained to zero for the second time after being shut down for a couple of weeks.

Speaking of batteries, our 2013 macbook air had its battery replaced in 2019 and this “new” battery went bust after a few months, not sure I’m gonna throw another $150 at apple so right now it’s being used on the charger.

Thanks again.

Very strange. I agree with @Simon. If there is a noticeable drain after being powered off for a few minutes, then you’ve got a hardware problem. Maybe the battery, maybe the system management controller (SMC) chip (which is responsible for all things power related).

If you haven’t already done so, you might want to try resetting the SMC to see if that helps: How to reset the SMC of your Mac – Apple Support

A long shot is that it might be related to the Mac’s “Power Nap” feature. This is a feature where a sleeping (but not powered off) Mac will periodically wake from sleep to perform some routine background tasks (like update calendars and check for mail). It may do some more extensive checks as well (like download software updates), but it is only supposed to do these when connected to line power (not when on battery).

Just for kicks, try turning off Power Nap and see if that changes anything.

Power nap was turned off already on the battery panel, I turned it off on the charger too. Feels to me like the power loss is somewhat slower since my session with Apple, or maybe it’s just because I never paid attention to it before on a daily basis.

I have a 2020 Intel MacBook Pro, and I can confirm that when it’s completely shut down and you open the lid, it autoboots without pressing the power key. I just used:

sudo nvram AutoBoot=%00

and now when I open the lid, I momentarily see an icon showing the battery level, and then nothing else happens until I actually press the power key on the keyboard.

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Well, I took the laptop to the genius bar and they kept it for repair which apparently would involve erasing the disk/reinstalling the system. I didn’t get an explanation of what was wrong with it, it seems they didn’t know if it was a hardware or software problem and they asked me a couple of times if it had water damage or some other accident. It did not. It’s been this way from the beginning but I wasn’t using it so it didn’t seem important. Just another aspect of life put on hold waiting for COVID to hopefully get resolved.

They waived a repair cost of $400+ b/c there’s still a week on the warranty. I hope it’s not gonna turn out to be a lemon issue that should have been dealt with from the get-go. (sigh)

I thought I’d “report back” on what happened. I got the machine back from repair within a couple of (business) days. They replaced the battery after all (both their phone support and genius bar techies didn’t think it was the battery), and their written repair summary lists the Symptom as “Battery Runtime Too Short, Passes Diag.”

I took it home, charged it to 100% and shut it down again. After about ten days it had lost 8% of its charge. Far slower than what it used to be, but I was under the impression it shouldn’t lose power when it’s shut down so I called the support phone number again. I was told it was to be expected for the battery to drain a little even while the machine is shut down.

Do people agree? I’ve never paid attention to this before b/c none of the other laptops we owned in the past sat around unused like this one.

Thanks to everyone here for their invaluable tips and advice, and for setting me straight about how the boot process has changed in the last few years.

Self-discharge of lithium ion batteries is a bit complicated. From 100% charge, 8% self-discharge in 10 days sounds reasonable particularly if you charged a brand-new cell rapidly to 100% from <80% then immediately shut it down for the test. Self-discharge decreases with the state of charge of the battery, and increases with temperature and temperature fluctuations. My guess is that if you charged it to 80% and powered it off in a cool room, you’d probably see less than 2% loss over those ten days.

If you’re going to be leaving it turned off for long periods of time, it’s probably slightly better for the battery to not charge to 100% before you shut down – but, honestly, it’s not worth obsessing over.

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