Microsoft's new Battery Limit: Surface 50% charge cap aims to give longer battery life

Microsoft adds new feature that may extend life of Surface devices' batteries when they're constantly plugged in.

Microsoft has rolled out a new Battery Limit feature for Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 devices to help give their lithium-ion batteries a longer life.

The new feature is available in UEFI firmware updates for the two devices, and once Battery Limit is enabled, the battery will only charge to 50 percent of its maximum capacity.

If a device is already charged beyond 50 percent and then plugged in with Battery Limited enabled, the battery will discharge until it reaches 50 percent.

For now, the update is only available for the Surface Pro 3 and Pro 4, but future firmware updates with Battery Limit will be made available for the Surface 3, Surface Book, Surface Laptop, Surface Pro Model 1796 and Surface Pro with Advanced LTE Model 1807, Surface Book 2, and Surface Go, according to this support document.

It's a feature that many Surface owners may probably never use. As Microsoft notes, the feature is aimed at devices that are plugged in for extended periods of time, and points specifically to cases when the Surface is part of a kiosk setup, meaning they're probably rarely used in an unplugged state.

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"Battery Limit option is a UEFI setting that changes how the Surface device battery is charged and may prolong its longevity," Microsoft notes in a page about Battery Limit.

"This setting is recommended in cases in which the device is continuously connected to power, for example when devices are integrated into kiosk solutions."

As it is a Surface EUFI feature, Battery Limit needs to be configured by booting into Surface UEFI by pressing the Power and Volume Up buttons when switching on the device.

On a Surface Pro 4 it can be toggled on within Advanced Options after choosing boot configuration.

On a Surface Pro 3, after booting into Surface UEFI, users need to select Kiosk Mode and then select Battery Limit enabled.

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