Apple is reportedly introducing a new feature for Mac notebooks called “Battery health management” in the upcoming macOS Catalina 10.15.5 release. The Verge reports that the feature is available for developers in the latest macOS developer preview release.
The feature is designed to improve the lifespan of the MacBook’s battery. As you may know, rechargeable batteries such as lithium-ion batteries in Mac notebooks are consumable components that degrade over time. They hold less charge and are less effective as they age.
Fully-charging all the way up to maximum all the time isn’t good for the longevity of the battery in the long run. Some devices avoid charging all the way to 100 per cent for the same reason.
When you see 100 per cent charge status on your device, it does not always necessarily mean it’s charged to its original capacity.
For instance, my 2012 MacBook Pro’s battery has an 8,460mAh design capacity. However, its current full-charge capacity maxes out at 7,536mAh, which is about 86 per cent of its original design capacity. This isn’t bad for an eight-year-old notebook mind you, but point to note, I got the battery replaced in 2015, hence this is a newer cell. By the way, I’ve always entrusted third-party app coconutBattery for all my battery status needs, since forever. You can download it for free on your MacBook here.
So, Apple’s battery health management won’t just report the status of your Mac notebook battery, but also attempt to reduce the rate of which the MacBook battery ages by monitoring the battery’s temperature history and charging patterns.
For example, if you typically keep your notebook plugged in the entire work day, the utility may reduce the battery’s maximum charge.
The feature is of course, optional and can be turned off, if you decide to. The feature applies to any MacBook that supports Thunderbolt 3, which means any MacBook Pro since 2016 (my MacBook Pro is out of luck) and MacBook Air models since 2018.
Apple has a similar feature for iOS devices, introduced in iOS 13, which optimises battery charging. It will not fully charge the phone unless it is necessary.
The feature is currently available to developers but will standard feature in macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Public Beta (I’m downloading the update as we speak).