It’s comforting to use a laptop knowing it’s fully charged, but if you’re a MacBook user, “100 percent charged” won’t mean what we think it does for much longer.
As The Verge reports, Apple is planning to introduce a new battery health management feature with the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5. Basically, rather than charging your MacBook battery to 100 percent of its energy capacity, macOS will charge it to 100 percent of what’s best for the health of the battery. That could be 90 percent, 85 percent… users won’t know because the MacBook will tell them it’s fully charged.
This isn’t a new idea and it’s a well-known fact that constantly charging your battery to full capacity will negatively impact its lifespan. My ThinkPad has a similar optional feature in Lenovo’s settings software. If you’re going to use the laptop while it’s plugged into a power outlet most of the time, you can turn on the battery saver feature and extend the life of the battery by limiting the level of charge.
Apple’s approach is more intelligent. macOS will look at a history stored locally of how your battery has been charged over time and the temperatures it reached. The level of charge going forward will be determined from that to maximize health while balancing the reduction in time before another charge is required. If Apple gets the mix right, users won’t notice and their MacBook battery will live longer, which is very important seeing as they aren’t user replaceable.
If you own a MacBook with support for Thunderbolt 3, then on release macOS Catalina 10.15.5 will trigger the feature to start working on your laptop. If you’re not happy about the level of battery charge being taken out of your hands, don’t worry, Apple is allowing users to disable it. I’d give it a go first, though, if you don’t notice much difference then leave it on.