Apple Is Changing How MacBooks Charge to Improve Battery Lifespan

Posted on April 16, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, Hardware with 9 Comments

Apple is changing the way most modern MacBook devices charge. The company started rolling out a new feature in macOS Catalina to developers this week called Battery Health Management.

The new feature is available with macOS Catalina 10.15.5, it’s enabled by default, and only available on MacBook devices with Thunderbolt 3 ports. Apple says the new feature is designed to improve the battery life span of its MacBook devices.

The main idea behind the feature is to limit charging your laptop’s battery to its full capacity when it’s always plugged in, as charging your laptop’s battery to 100% and leaving it plugged in for a long period of time can reduce the battery’s lifespan.

There are a lot more complications involved here, as Apple will analyze a bunch of other factors before adjusting the charging behaviour. The new system considers things like your battery’s temperature and charging patterns. All of that happens locally, so none of your data actually goes to Apple servers.

“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,” Apple said in a support page.

Because the new feature will limit charging your laptop’s battery to its full capacity, it could reduce how long your laptop lasts on a single charge. Apple is, however, letting users turn off the feature if they want to get the best possible battery life out of their device. As someone who often leaves their MacBook plugged in even when the battery is at 100%, this feature actually sounds really useful.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Apple Is Changing How MacBooks Charge to Improve Battery Lifespan”

  1. Winner

    ...since the batteries are glued in, and Apple started that horrible trend.

  2. fishnet37222

    My ThinkPad has this feature, but it's disabled by default. In Lenovo Vantage it's called "Battery Charge Threshold".

  3. infodave

    Seems to me to be a novel approach to appease the masses, those who just leave their laptops plugged in. This is the next level of power/energy management, look at what Tesla has done with the PowerWall.

  4. wosully

    Good idea, and my wife approves, so we are all in.

  5. Jeff Fodiak

    Several companies do this including Asus etc. Does anyone know if Windows 10 or Surface devices have any similar logic applied at all?

    • 02nz

      In reply to manicscholar:

      At least some Surface Pro devices (haven't used the newer ones) have a setting in BIOS to only charge to 50%, but it's not a self-learning thing like what's being discussed here. Some HP laptops also have this setting, but it's 80%. The most customizable system is Dell, which allows you to adjust the charge and stop thresholds (e.g., charge to 80%, and only begin charging once battery drops below 50%).

  6. red.radar

    It’s useful but sounds senseless complex. Thinkpads have been able to set custom charging and recharging thresholds for an eternity. I think I rather have the manual control.

  7. Daekar

    Not a new idea by any means, but certainly welcome. I think this should be standard on every laptop. I am actually surprised that it's not a feature in Windows, it's been an issue for years.

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