Your Apple MacBook is about to get a longer battery lifespan

A coming-soon update to MacOS will extend the overall lifespan of your laptop's battery.

By David Flynn, April 27 2020
Your Apple MacBook is about to get a longer battery lifespan

Apple's next update to MacOS Catalina won't always fully charge your MacBook battery, in the interest of making the battery itself last longer.

The 'Battery Health Management' feature has already appeared in a developer edition of MacOS Catalina 10.15.5, which continues to undergo testing ahead of a broader public release in the coming months.

Enabled by default, Battery Health Management will work on any Apple laptop which supports Thunderbolt 3 – a roster which includes any MacBook Pro from 2016 onwards, and MacBook Air models from 2018 onwards.

The software will analyse using your laptop's history of charging and battery temperature to determine if it's at risk of chemical ageing, which can happen if – for example – your laptop is plugged into the AC socket nearly all the time. This keeps the battery sitting at 100% charge, which can in turn shorten its lifespan.

In such cases, Battery Health Management would selectively prevent the battery from charging all the way up to 100%, although the battery level indicator would still indicate the tank is fully topped up.

Apple maintains the feature won't have a major impact on battery life between charges, and can of course be switched off via the MacOS control panel.

Apple's next major MacOS 10.16 revision could show its face at the forthcoming WWDC developer conference in June, which will be run as an online-only event due to the sweeping impact of the coronavirus.

But the biggest battery boost of all could come in 2021, when Apple is expected to launch its first laptop built around a processor of its own design rather than one supplied by Intel.

The Apple ARM chip will share the same foundations as those used in the iPhone and iPad but be substantially more powerful, with eight high-performance 'Firestorm' cores for muscling into performance-intensive workloads, and at least four energy-efficient 'Icestorm' cores to handle low-power tasks and preserve battery life.

Apple will also be able to optimise the chip specifically for its own hardware and MacOS software.

Read more: Apple's 2021 MacBook to drop Intel for Apple-designed chip


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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