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.