Apple's new MacBook feature: Longer battery lifespan but possibly less time on a single charge

macOS Catalina 10.15.5 brings battery health feature to MacBooks but it may cut how long they run on a single charge.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Apple has released the second beta of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and detailed a new battery health management feature that will be automatically enabled after installing it. 

The feature is designed to improve the lifespan of a MacBook's lithium-ion battery, which users can't replace themselves. 

Apple's aim is to boost the battery's lifespan by reducing the rate at which the battery chemically ages. The feature works by monitoring the battery's temperature history and charging patterns – the two factors that determine how quickly a battery wears out. 

While it is designed to increase the time before users need to replace a battery, the trade-off is that it can reduce how long a notebook runs on a single charge. 

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"When battery health management is turned on, your battery's maximum charging capacity might be limited," Apple notes

"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."

However, users do have the choice of turning off the battery health management feature in the Energy setting within System Preferences. There's a new Battery Health button at the bottom of the screen where it can be turned off. 

But, of course, turning off the feature could then reduce the battery's lifespan. 

According to Apple, the feature will be turned on by default on all MacBooks purchased with macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and later, as well as on existing systems after updating to that version of macOS. 

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The macOS battery health management is similar to the Battery Health feature Apple added to iOS following the controversy after users discovered it was throttling iPhone performance on some devices

Apple eventually admitted it had secretly added a power-management feature in iOS 10.2.1 to address widespread unexpected shutdowns that were happening in late 2016.


Users can turn off the battery health management feature but doing so could reduce the battery's lifespan. 

Image: Apple
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