Apple's new 'battery health management' feature improves MacBook battery life

Apple battery health management

The battery life of your MacBook is about to be extended thanks to a new feature Apple is adding to macOS Catalina 10.15.5. Called "battery health management", the feature reduces batteries' rate of chemical aging, helping to extend its lifespan.

Working much like the Optimized Battery Charging feature of iOS, battery health management measures battery usage and adjust the maximum charge level for improved life.

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The feature is currently available to developers, and everyone will be able to take advantage of it once macOS Catalina 10.15.5 rolls out fully. Apple says that the feature will be enabled by default after upgrading, but it is possible to disable it in System Preferences -- although the company advises against this.

If you tend to leave your MacBook plugged in all the time, the feature will prevent your notebook from fully charging to improve longevity.

Apple explains:

The battery health management feature in macOS 10.15.5 is designed to improve your battery's lifespan by reducing the rate at which it chemically ages. The feature does this by monitoring your battery's temperature history and its charging patterns.

Based on the measurements that it collects, battery health management may reduce your battery's maximum charge when in this mode. This happens as needed to ensure that your battery charges to a level that's optimized for your usage -- reducing wear on the battery, and slowing its chemical aging.

While battery health management benefits your battery's long-term lifespan, it can also reduce the amount of time your Mac runs on one battery charge when capacity limits are applied. If your priority is making your Mac notebook last as long as possible before recharging, you can turn the feature off.

The extended battery life is something that MacBook owners will welcome, but Apple issues a warning about battery health management:

When battery health management is turned on, your battery's maximum charging capacity might be limited. Although the feature is designed to improve your battery's lifespan, the limited maximum capacity might update your battery status menu to indicate a need for service.

To take advantage of battery health management, you just need to have a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air that supports Thunderbolt 3.

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