MacBook update extends the life of your battery: How to get it

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The battery in your MacBook is about to get a second wind thanks to a new feature now available in macOS version 10.15.5. Released today, the update slows the degradation rate of lithium-ion batteries so your laptop can hold a charge over a longer period of time. 

The lithium-ion batteries that power almost every modern gadget (and every laptop) lose charge over a span of a few years. It's why your two or three-year-old laptop doesn't last as long on a charge as it did when you first took it out of the box. 

Here is how Apple explains it:

"All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they get older—and their age isn't determined only by time. A battery's lifespan depends on its chemical age, which is affected by factors such as its temperature history and charging pattern. As your notebook's battery ages chemically, its charging capacity gets smaller." 

This loss of charge is particularly troublesome for devices that aren't easily serviceable, like wireless earbuds or smartwatches. Apple laptops are notoriously difficult to repair, so if your MacBook's battery can't hold a charge, you'll need to take the laptop to an Apple store and pay a hefty fee for a replacement. 

With this new battery-saving feature, those visits should be less frequent. The battery health management tool slows down the chemical aging process by not charging the battery to maximum capacity. This means that a 100% battery charge on your MacBook doesn't mean the battery is maxed out, but that it's at the highest charge allowed while optimizing the battery for a longer lifespan. 

Enable the macOS battery health management feature

The new feature should save you some money and a trip to the folks in blue, so we recommend keeping it enabled. To get the battery health management feature, you'll need to update your MacBook to version 10.15.5. 

To do so, press the Apple logo on the top-left of your screen and choose 'System preferences.' From this menu, select 'Software update.' If an update is available, click the 'Update now' button.

Once updated, the battery saver feature will be enabled by default on MacBooks with a Thunderbolt 3 port (any laptop released after 2016 or the MacBook Air after 2018). The feature will also be turned on for new MacBooks that ship with macOS version 10.15.5 or later. 

If you want to improve the life of your battery even further, follow these tips provided by Apple.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.