I have just installed ubuntu Gnome 14.04 in a Macbook Pro 13" mid 2012, and I have some problems with my laptop.

I have already installed TLP and macfanctld, but my MacBook still have the problem, when it gets too hot, the fan start to work at all the speed, then my mac just "take a breath" because at the 5 or 10 min the story is repeated.

Also, and I don't know if this is part of the problem, my battery life is...terribly bad, in OS X my battery has 6 or 7 hrs of life, but in ubuntu, well, if I get 3 is too much. SO I'm here because I have already search in google and there is no information. Please help.

Been honest, I was hoping that ubuntu work as good as OS X since all the MacBook Pro are practically the same machine, and for my bad luck, a lot of things are missing, the automatic key light and brightness do not work, the keyboard do not work as I was expecting (same functions as in OS X), a trackpad too sensible, well a lot of thing that work but not as they are supposed to do.


2 Answers 2


No wonder you are having power issues with your computer. There are a few things you can do to get your computer behave as it should when running Ubuntu, I will describe them next but first there is some theory you should know:

  1. Apple manufactures their products in a tightly integrated way to achieve the great performance one often can appreciate on them; as such it is absolutely normal that when running their HW with their SW it behave (almost) as an homogenous unit. But when you install anything else to the same HW - or conversely their SW on another HW - it is logical to expect rough edges and funny behaviour.
  2. GNU+Linux has made a lot of improvements in the lasts years regarding power consumption and most of it thanks not to HW manufacturers but to the amazing hackers that contribute their grey-matter to the kernel and the different open-source related projects as Ubuntu. It is easy for other platforms to achieve great power consumption performance when manufacturers build their products specifically tailored for those systems following their specs.
  3. The biggest problem nowadays regarding laptops becoming hot is the GPU hybrid model as its management still's not fully implemented in all GPUs combinations under GNU+Linux.

With that in mind there is a couple of things you can do to achieve a near perfect power consumption performance under Ubuntu - as well under most other distributions:

  1. Switch off your DIS (discrete) GPU if you're not using it
  2. Use TLP - and ThermalD when your HW allows it
  3. Use PowerTop to learn what parts of your HW should be set to stand-by and make the changes permanent by loading them on every boot by using /etc/rc.local and /etc/pm/sleep.d

As a result of applying these simple steps I could squeeze an extra and half hour when using battery on my crappy laptop (HP Pavilion dv7-4287cl) not to mention it keeps cold almost all the time: it isn't just when using the DIS GPU or 'forcing' the IGD GPU when watching 1080p videos full-screen, running Google Earth and so on.

Note: I acknowledge that setting your system to behave as you expect regarding power consumption isn't as easy as 1,2,3 GO! in Linux and I myself have been researching the subject for quite some time now, I will be updating this answer with a step-by-step guide when the blog post is ready. In the meantime you already have the tools to start tweaking and optimizing your system.

  • UPDATE: Hi all, newest versions of PowerTop ships with a systemd service that automatically sets all the components to low power. While this is great as now is easier than ever to use it, bear in mind that you'll need to override those settings you don't want to enforce to set the components to use the standard power consumption, i.e. attached USB keyboard and mouse.
    – solr
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 1:49
  • Hi all, just wanted to let you know that I'm now using TLP on my new laptop (running other GNU+Linux flavor); I keep using PowerTop on my old laptop though to be sure everything is set to consume the lowest energy possible even when connected to the outlet as the machine rises temperature like to cook a steak :P (Yes, I already opened and cleaned it, thanks!)
    – solr
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 2:16

Have you installed the indicator?

sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq

Allows you to change the cpu from "Performance" to "OnDemand" and "Powersave" modes. I have a Lenovo unit and now have the same endurance in Ubuntu as I did in Windows.

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