Latest macOS beta brings fab new tool for boosting battery life

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macOS Catalina is here. But proceed from Mojave with caution.
Portable Macs get the most attention in the new Catalina beta.
Photo: Apple

Apple seeded the second beta of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 to developers this morning, bringing with it a major change to the way MacBooks charge.

Several tech sites got an explainer from Apple on how the new Battery Health Management feature works. The tool is coming to every MacBook with a Thunderbolt 3 port — and it could be a godsend to your battery.

Apple’s Battery Health Management tool for Mac

macOS
Settings for the Battery Health Management tool.
Photo: Apple

The new Battery Health Management feature aims to prolong the life of MacBook batteries by not always charging them to full capacity. This should reduce strain on the chemicals in the battery, allowing the power source to perform better over the long term.

According to Six Colors, one of the sites to preview the feature, Battery Health Management analyzes the MacBook battery’s temperature over time. It also tracks users’ typical charging patterns. If the software detects that your MacBook is mostly plugged in and kept at full capacity, it will fill the battery a bit short of 100% to extend its lifespan.

Apple plans to turn on the feature by default. However, if you want to turn it off, the company published a support page on how to do that. Apple warns that turning off Battery Health Management might reduce the lifespan of MacBook batteries.

Registered developers can download macOS 10.15.5 beta 2 directly from Apple’s online dev portal. It’s also available via Software Update if you have the previous build installed.