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New emoji, better Auto Unlock, buh-by battery life countdown — What's new in macOS 10.12.2!

Touch ID on the MacBook Pro
Touch ID on the MacBook Pro (Image credit: iMore)

Apple has just released macOS 10.12.2, the latest update to Sierra and one that boasts not only everyone's favorite feature enhancement — new emoji! — but bug fixes, security patches, and performance improvements aplenty.

Auto Unlock

Auto Unlock

Auto Unlock (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

For some of us, Auto Unlock has been near-magic since launch, quickly logging us into our Macs whenever we bring our Apple Watch close. For others, things haven't been so fast or so smooth. With macOS 10.12.2, Apple has gone over the process from setup to time-of-flight to make sure it starts working and keeps working well for everyone.

How to set up and use Auto Unlock on your Mac

Battery Life

Some people have reported that their new MacBooks Pro 2016 haven't been getting the 10 hours of battery life Apple rated them at. While it sounds like Apple is sticking with that 10-hour rating — which is under "normal" usage with the screen mid-bright, no Chrome or similarly resource-hogging apps running, and the embedded Intel graphics being targeted rather than the discreet AMD card on the 15-inch.

What Apple's tweaked is how battery life is displayed. The percentage readout remains, but the time remaining indicator has been removed. It's irksome, but, for now at least, for the best. It's not only almost impossible to accurately predict the time remaining on a system whose load can vary greatly from one minute to the next, the API seemed especially… drunk? lately. Mine would go to 14 hours, back to 7 hours, then to 12 hours, and otherwise being useless for a while now.

Third party app makers I've spoken with have reported similar issues trying to pull the information. So, unless and until it's stone cold accurate, my stress level will do better with it being gone. I just need to learn to judge the percentage on Mac the way I've been doing on iPhone and iPad for years now.

How to fix battery life problems on your Mac

Updated Grab app

Apple's screenshot app, Grab, is being updated to support capturing the Touch Bar, should you have one on your new MacBook Pro. There's a time delay so you can start it, set up the Touch Bar just the way you like it, then have the screenshot saved.

New emoji

The clown face is terrifying. No joke. The rest of the new and newly re-rendered emoji included in macOS 10.12.2 are delightful. They match the new emoji in iOS 10.2 and there's a range of new foods, including bacon (though, sadly, still no poutine!), and a bunch of new professional emoji in both genders. Blogger is a personal fav!

How to use emoji on your Mac

Performance enhancements and bug fixes

Along with the above, Apple is using macOS 10.12.2 to fix other bugs, like the graphics issue some 15-inch MacBook Pro customers have been experiencing. There's the usual performance enhancements and security patches as well.

Here's the full list:

  • Improves setup and reliability of Auto Unlock
  • Allows addition of a Chinese Trackpad Handwriting button to the Touch Bar Control Strip
  • Adds support for taking screenshots of the Touch Bar using the Grab app or Cmd-Shift-6 shortcut
  • Fixes an issue that caused the Touch Bar emoji picker to appear on the display
  • Resolves graphics issues on MacBook Pro (Late 2016) computers
  • Fixes an issue where System Integrity Protection was disabled on some MacBook Pro (Late 2016) computers
  • Improves setup and opt-out experience for iCloud Desktop and Documents
  • Fixes an issue with the delivery of Optimized Storage alerts
  • Improves audio quality when using Siri and FaceTime with Bluetooth headphones
  • Improves the stability of Photos when creating and ordering books
  • Fixes an issue where incoming Mail messages did not appear when using a Microsoft Exchange account
  • Fixes an issue that prevented installation of Safari Extensions downloaded outside the Safari Extensions Gallery
  • Adds support for new installations of Windows 8 and Windows 7 using Boot Camp on supported Macs
Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

49 Comments
  • Wait. So it's okay that Apple removed information people want because it's Apple and because it stresses you out? That's logical. I don't know anyone who would rather NOT have a percentage displayed. If anything, it should always at least be an option. Apple did this to curb the battery life complaints until they come up with a better fix. It's not a solution. And only the hardest core fanboys would defend that decision. Are the battery percentage estimates accurate on any laptop? No, but they at least give us some idea, a baseline to work off of. A battery symbol tells us nothing.
  • "The percentage readout remains, but the time remaining indicator has been removed." The percentage is still there, same as before. The only thing that's removed is the time till fully discharged, which quite frankly is incredibly inaccurate unless you're doing the exact same task on your Mac for the whole duration of the battery life. It makes sense to hide it, but if you still want to see it, there will still be ways to get the reading through other apps
  • Yeah, I get that. But it's still Apple trying to hide the issue and it's still Rene making excuses for them. That's my primary beef here.
  • I think Apple were just removing something that people never really complained about before but are now, and it was placed in the OS a long time ago. It was never placed in iOS due to the fact that Apple knew non-tech savvy people were going to be using iOS devices, and now those users are starting to buy Macs due to brand-loyalty or wanting to try using Apple computers to go along with their iOS devices. Since it was never in iOS, Apple probably sees that it doesn't really need to be in macOS anymore either. Also Rene didn't just make an excuse blindly, he stated his own personal experience: "It's not only almost impossible to accurately predict the time remaining on a system whose load can vary greatly from one minute to the next, the API seemed especially… drunk? lately. Mine would go to 14 hours, back to 7 hours, then to 12 hours, and otherwise being useless for a while now." Obviously the time remaining given is depending on the task you're doing, but many Mac users are doing such a different variety of tasks these days that it's going to fluctuate a lot, and essentially be pretty useless, as Rene stated.
  • I agree. without the % why even show a battery status symbol at all?
    I also noticed they removed the Emergency SOS from iOS 10.2 yet it was available with the Beta versions.
  • > The percentage readout remains, but the time remaining indicator has been removed. It's irksome, but, for now at least, for the best. Oh, Rene, ever the apologist. This has been ok for how many years and now people are complaining they aren't getting the 10ish hours they were promised and so Apple's remedy is to remove this information. Rene, you're so far into the Apple worm hole, you stink. You truly stink.
  • The "time until fully discharged" indicator has kinda been one of those things that not everyone knew it existed, since it doesn't display unless you click on the battery icon itself. Only recently have Apple been getting an increased number of complaints about the time indicated not being accurate, despite the fact that is has _always_ been inaccurate. Due to the recent increase of complaints, it's been removed, which I think is fair considering that it's never been accurate. You can argue all you want but it was pretty pointless for the most part, you can still get access to it through other apps though
  • It has not _always_ been inaccurate. It does a really good job of estimating how long the battery will last. I've timed it and it worked (pretty well). It is supposed to fluctuate based on how you're currently using the machine. Fact is, Apple made these machines too thin and reduced the battery too much and now they're trying to BS their way out of it.
  • It does a really good job of estimating how long the battery will last if you kept doing the task you're doing for the entirety of the battery life, but less-tech savvy people are starting to use Macs and they see the time indication as a general "this is how long it's going to last regardless of what you do". Again, there's a reason why this has never existed on iOS. Apple ensures that their machines get a certain level of battery life as specified on their specifications page, of course this can sometimes change due to OS updates and whatnot, but Apple wouldn't make the computer thinner if they knew that the battery life wasn't going to meet their spec.
  • > Apple ensures that their machines get a certain level of battery life as specified on their specifications page, of course this can sometimes change due to OS updates and whatnot, but Apple wouldn't make the computer thinner if they knew that the battery life wasn't going to meet their spec. This is exactly what Apple have done, so, yes, they would! There are SOPHISTICATED users complaining/claiming that their new laptops are not getting anywhere NEAR the battery life that Apple's own spec page is claiming.
  • What proof do you have that by making the machine thinner they've reduced the battery life?
  • https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Retina+Display+Early... https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Function+Keys+Late+2... Both are 13 inch MBPs, the latter one has a smaller battery which might mean that the battery won't last as long as it was on the earlier model. The same situation happened in the case of the 15 inch versions.
  • Battery Life TL;DR = So basically the way we fix your battery life issue is to not tell you your battery life so you won't think you have an issue. Couldn't make this sh*t up if I tried. Takes genuine courage to be such asshats, I'll give them that.
  • The percentage indicator is still there, only the time remaining (which was _always_ inaccurate) has been removed. The time remaining has never existed on iOS either
  • Rene never disappoints. I can't wait till Samsung releases the S8. Also, did I miss the pixel review by Ren?
  • The timing of this is a PR disaster - users complain that their latest product has a poor battery life, and so they remove the battery life estimates. Who sanctioned that? The argument that it’s impossible to predict the time remaining because the user’s usage varies is true, but it’s always been like that, so why change things now? Are Apple saying that users are too stupid to realise that what they do affects power consumption? If so then that’s not exactly good PR either. If the estimate truly has become “drunk” as Rene says, then shouldn’t they be fixing the problem rather than the symptom? The user’s random usage has always been an issue so it must be something else. My guess is that they have made the OS so clever in terms of all the things it does in the background (spotlight indexing, photo analysis etc) that even they can’t write a decent time estimation algorithm. So either they need a more sophisticated algorithm that can take into account the background processing that the OS now does, or they should be looking at improving the scheduling of the processing. Maybe only do it when plugged in, or when more than 50% battery? Or allow the user to have some control over when it is performed (with suitable nagging to make sure that it is). Most of the processing is required when a laptop is first setup or lots of data is imported, so maybe Apple should just be honest in such situations and tell the user it’s best if they leave the machine plugged in and processing overnight to do this processing? Its n'o the best user experience but at least their batteries would last longer and the estimates would be more accurate. In any case there seem to be a lot of possible workarounds, but just removing the time remaining indicator seems the least elegant. Hopefully it is a short-term fix and they will have a more elegant solution in future versions. In the meantime I’d imagine that there are a lot of us that won’t be upgrading our laptops to Sierra until it’s fixed.
  • My issue is that the battery time meters were never exact and everyone knew they were approximate. Yet we lived with them and didn't call them 'drunk'. The users are now not complaining about bad battery life approximations, but the batteries in MBP living up to previous and current official standards. Removing this hardly qualifies as a solution for me. Even it this indicator show bollocks, it seems highly unwise to that when there is a more serious issue at hand.
  • Things change, and unfortunately there are more less technically-inclined users using the Mac, especially if coming from iPads/iPhones. iOS devices never had the time-remaining indicator because of the reason that they knew it was inaccurate and A LOT of people would complain. Now a lot of these users are getting Macs and complaining that it's inaccurate on the Mac, and considering it's always been inaccurate, that's why it's been removed. If you really want it, there will be an app you can download to get it back
  • If the issue is background processing by the OS then only Apple can give a reasonable estimate because only they will know how much more processing is required.
  • Battery use fluctuates depending on all sorts of things, it's pretty much impossible to give an accurate reading. It might give a more accurate reading if you're doing the same task for the duration that the battery lasts (e.g. watching a film) but the majority of users are doing all sorts of different tasks, with different power requirements which will drain the battery at different speeds
  • Works great on my PC and adjusts according to my tasking. Not sure why Mac can't do the same.
    Regardless the time to battery drain is still available in activity manager if you need it.
    Apple decided to hide the stat because they aren't accurate and so people won't have blind faith in the badly implemented software in the first place. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Well yes, it adjusts according to the tasking, and that part worked fine on macOS as well. Not everyone realizes that it adjusts dependent on the tasking though. It's about as accurate as it is on Windows. There's no badly implemented software here
  • Hmm so i guess there shouldn't be any complaints from mac fans. Everything works peachy Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • There are always people complaining about something that isn't really broken. Nothing new here
  • "The timing of this is a PR disaster - users complain that their latest product has a poor battery life, and so they remove the battery life estimates. Who sanctioned that?" I believe the battery life estimate was removed because people were basing the duration off said estimate and they thought it was lying to them, when in reality it's always been an issue. It's just that there are more less-technically inclined people using the Mac now so they don't understand that it's going to be inaccurate, so it's been removed. "If the estimate truly has become “drunk” as Rene says, then shouldn’t they be fixing the problem rather than the symptom?" It's been a problem since it was introduced, and it's also a problem on Windows and any OS that you find this on. There's a reason it never existed on iOS. There's absolutely no way you can accurately predict it, the duration depends on such a humongous number of factors. Removing the time remaining indicator seems the best way to fix this issue to me. You're right, it's not elegant, but how do you fix an unfixable problem, without removing the main thing that's making it visible?
  • You say that "It's been a problem since it was introduced" but that depends on your expectations. If you expect it to be 100% accurate then it is a problem, but most people understand that it's just an estimate based on current conditions. In theory there aren't a humongous number of factors: you just take the average power usage over the last few minutes and extrapolate that to the battery being empty. The only factor is deciding the time period to use. If the OS is doing stuff in the background then it should have an idea of when it will finish that processing and adjust the estimate accordingly (something third party apps could not account for). In practice it's clearly not that simple, but the estimate has been fine for years so why decide that it isn't good enough now? Millions of users find it useful, despite it not being completely accurate. It is usually a better estimate than they could come up with, so having it is better than not having it. As an aside I think that some MacBook Pro users got poor battery life because the OS was processing stuff in the background (for example those users with lots of photos). Once the processing has completed (which can take days) then the new MacBook Pros will probably give the sort of battery life that Apple claim. That's only a guess though.
  • I think there's just more people coming to the Mac who don't realize that the battery indicator isn't always fully accurate. If background processes are draining the battery life, then it would've been reported in the calculated time remaining before this update, but again that's a natural process when you either update or do a first-time setup on a device. Things have to sync, like photos etc, or the OS has to do some house-keeping. Whatever the case, I doubt Apple removed it because they're trying to hide a problem, I think they're just trying to stop people falsely judging the battery life
  • I think that Apple are trying to hide a problem, but it's the obvious problem with the estimate rather than a problem with the battery life. The issue for me is that, rather than fixing the problem, they have just removed a useful part of the operating system. This is an obvious solution but also a bad decision for lots of reasons, from the PR aspect to the technical aspect. If the difficulties are because of the OS doing more background stuff then they should be able to get round that because they wrote the OS. If the issues are due to the new processors then why remove the functionality for users on older machines who find it useful? I'm a big fan of Apple but they seem to have made a lot of ill-considered decisions recently, especially regarding the MacBook Pro. I am sure they have thought them through and are doing what they think is right, but they are coming across very badly to their users. I never thought I'd say this but they probably need to give their PR department more say in the technical decisions! It's interesting reading the various Apple forums. There will always be the haters, but the general mood is usually pro-Apple. However the last month or two has seen a big shift in sentiment and Apple really need to do something about that.
  • > I believe the battery life estimate was removed because people were basing the duration off said estimate and they thought it was lying to them, when in reality it's always been an issue. No, just stop. You're being insulting. There have been some very sophisticated users coming forward to say that the ACTUAL battery life of the new machines do not live up to Apple's OWN estimate (not the estimate on the battery gauge). Apple is spinning this to make it sound like there is an issue with the battery life estimate and so has removed that (useful) feature. Thus, there are now TWO reasons for sophisticated users to complain!
  • I apologize if it sounded insulting, I'm just giving my opinion as to why I think Apple removed it. Maybe Apple are hiding something, though as Rene stated, his time-remaining indicator fluctuated a lot. Who knows really why they removed it, but it's not hiding the problem very well since you could time it yourself still. Hopefully if there are issues with the battery life not meeting the recommendation Apple will fix it, but I can't see them bringing back the time indicator now that they've removed it.
  • I don't have issues with inaccuracy on my Dell laptop and it adjusts depending on the heavy lifting of the task. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Yeah the macOS one works the same, though not everyone realizes it adjusts according to the task being done, and take it as a general "this is how long the laptop's going to last even if I change what I'm doing", not realizing how much it might fluctuate
  • So what are those 'major changes' from the title on the main page? I can read emoji (not major in my opinion), removing battery time qualifies as a change, yet again not really major; and then 'usual performance enhancements and security patches' - yet again, hardly 'major' thing. Soooo, am I missing something?
  • Emoji is major for people that use it, it can be incredibly frustrating when you're looking for an emoji for something and it's not available. The rest aren't really major though.
  • For children emoji is incredibly fun! After age 14 it's just another waste of space. 90% of emoji aren't even touched Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Most of my friends use emoji and they're all over 14. I use it, and my mom uses it too. Don't be condescending, you know yourself that plenty of older people use it too, just because you don't, doesn't mean everyone else doesn't either.
  • Am I the only where the typing cursor does NOT stay centered when writing in Safari for instance? When typing I have to move swipe the screen to SEE what I'm actually writing! This happened since iOS 10! Can anybody help me? Sent from the iMore App
  • This is a good thread of the issue; keyboard cursor DOESNT auto-scroll along with the screen! https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7678932?start=0&tstart=0 Sent from the iMore App
  • is there a fix for the heat issue on sierra?
  • El Capitan. To be honest, if it weren't for security issues, I'd go back to Mavericks.
  • That seems a little exaggerated, what issues have you had with El Capitan/Sierra?
  • hehe... i never seem an API drunk before, and i figure i never want to. By the same token, no matter how 'drunk' it is, u try and make it better... u don't just kill the battery indicator... That's the only thing *actually i would say more accurate than the bar* . but the battery indication as a whole "varies" is not valid point of removal of the time remaining.
  • I think it was as good as it can be. It essentially takes how fast the battery is draining over a period of time, then calculates the time remaining by seeing how long it would get to 0 with that amount of battery drain. Most OS's do it like this. It never existed on iOS though, and I assume that was because people wouldn't get that it will fluctuate depending on the task that's being done. I guess Apple assumed more of these type of people are coming to macOS, or they just wanted to make it consistent. No one really knows…
  • hehe... i never seen an API drunk before, and i figure i never want to. By the same token, no matter how 'drunk' it is, u try and make it better... u don't just kill the battery indicator... That's the only thing *actually i would say more accurate than the bar* . but the battery indication as a whole varies is not valid point of removal the time remaining. You can bet no matter how worse it gets, it can also get better. Wouldn't be the first time with Apple.
  • Watch unlock works flawlessly except when connected to my work monitor via HDMI. Unfortunately, this update has not solved that issue. Has anyone else experienced something like this?
  • "Major changes in macOS 10.12.2 ..." This is so wrong. First, because no x.x.1 change can be considered "major". And second, because new emoji's will NEVER be considered a "major" change.
  • New emojis are a major change to a lot of people. A lot more people use emojis than you think
  • I will use some of those new emojis, no doubt!
  • I've never used my watch to unlock my iMac because... Who locks their Mac at home? It sounds like it'd be a useful party trick if you're lugging around a Macbook from coffee shop to coffee shop to airport, but for the home desktop user it just seems like too much effort.