Battery drain on new 2020 MacBook Air M1

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Big Sur 11.1 / 2020 MacBook Air M1 / 1.7(710)

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

wifi from MacBook to TP-LINK ROUTER TL-WA500G

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

simple playback in a Covid rental apartment…Macbook via wifi - Google Home IOS App to Chromecast connected via HDMI to Sony Brava TV

Description Of Issue

Ciao from Italy. Waaaay bad battery drain on the M1 chipped 2020 MacBook Air. Roon varies from 16%-25% CPU and…drumroll 46-90 for Energy Impact. All other running apps are .1-1% including Safari. My advertised 15 hour battery life is averaging 6 hours. Screen brightness is at 7. Max 1-3 open browser tabs.WhatsApp & Messages are the only apps that is generally open. Thanks for looking at this. BTW, I am also experiencing the well known problem of Roon/Chromecast constantly having to hit pause/play to advance tracks. Grazie mille - David

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Hey David,

  • When Roon is running do you generally leave it in Album Detail view?
  • And could please also check the GPU usage to see if it’s also high when you see the high Energy Impact numbers?

Roon have some pretty nasty CPU and GPU resource utilisation issues on Macs that they haven’t managed to address yet which I believe have different underlying causes.

There are many different similar issues raised but these two are the ones that got most attention:

You may want to check if your high resource utilisation aligns with behaviours described in these two topics.

Hope you get further help from the Roon team.


Hi @David_Gilbert,

Can you share some screenshots of resource usage from Roon?

Hello Everybody

This bug is not limited to the new M1 Processor.

I can observe this behaviour on my old 2016 Mac running Big Sur (11.1).

When Roon is on Album Detail it kills the battery. Energy Impact is on 100 or higher.

CPU usage is 13% and higher and GPU usage varies between 10% and 25%.

If I display anything else in Roon than the Album Detail, Energy Impact goes down to 15%.

Roon is only used as Remote Control in this case.

The running theory behind this is when Roon needs to render animations in the user interface (like that tiny 3 blue bars next to the playing track) it uses OpenGL, which is not very performant on Macs. I believe OpenGL is now “deprecated” on Big Sur but still work without further development/support.

I haven’t seen this confirmed by Roon devs yet but if it’s true, I expect this is because they are trying to keep the codebase as cross-platform as possible between Mac/Windows/Linux apps to keep their development complexity/costs down, hence not using something like “Metal” which is Mac native.

I really hope v1.8 will switch Mac app to using Metal or any other more performant supported API.

grazie to each of you…I’ll refer you to Peter_Bruderer above. He’s experiencing the same. I had high expectations for the 2020 MacBook Air since Apple really hyped the battery life. Now that we’re all on the same page…Roon folks, care to jump in?

Thanks David, hope you can get an answer from Roon guys soon.

Just a suggestion, until this gets addressed, you can minimize the energy impact and preserve battery life by:

  • Switching to Now Playing view (by clicking the lower gray bar). This doesn’t show the now playing animation (those three blue bars) so GPU stays lower.
  • or keeping the Roon window minimised as an app on Mac OS, so Roon doesn’t have to render on screen while you are doing other things on your laptop.

These two tricks are inconvenient to do all the time but may allow you to enjoy your new Mac a bit longer as they should lower the impact of Roon on its battery. Not sure if they will any impact on CPU utlisiation but GPU usage should decrese at least.


1 Like

grazie, I normally do both. Not much success, I’m afraid.

I’m on an Air M1 and noticed a substantial energy impact by Roon. I am using the up to date versions of MacOS and Roon. It’s about 35 for the energy impact and the battery is draining a lot faster with Roon active. I’ll keep an eye on it but I think I won’t be the only one?

Hey @M_Polak,

I am extremely sorry for missing your post on this thread :sweat: . Since it’s been quite some time, I was wondering if you have any updates on the energy impact on your MacBook Air? Can we help at all?

Thank you for keeping this topic active…I can attest to the fact that the battery drain persists on my M1 Air…does Roon have an Apple silicon build in the works?

Thanks for the follow-up @beka. The issue persists also on my MBA M1. If have Roon running active on the foreground (without playing anything!) it’s at energy impact 15. That’s way high. If I run it in the background it’s at 5 which in itself is high already. So yeah, there’s an issue with it.

Using MBA M1 as a Roon remote I am at 29,9/CPU…and 31.4 Energy impact

Hey @David_Gilbert,

Thanks for replying right away. We’re grateful for your report.

I’ve added this thread to our technical team’s queue. They will reply on this thread :nerd_face:

Anything to update on this issue? Right now I tend to stay away from Roon on my MBA M1 when I’m on battery bcs it is a real black hole!

Hi folks, I don’t have any specific updates at this time, but it’s something our team has been looking into. Roon is not a native M1 app and uses Open GL for the UI which is similar to a game engine, so it’s definitely going to use more energy than a traditional native app. We are looking into where improvements can be made but I do not have any timeframes I can share yet.

It’s still horrible @ 27 just now but sometimes it’s way more. The app should be made M1 native as that is the direction Apple is going.

Still terrible. Energy impact @ 39 just now.
This really needs to be adressed.

@roonsupport: I am not sure if I am the only one but the Roon app still is the biggest energy drain on my MBA M1. Easily over 20 which is a very high value. Is root cause known for this issue?

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