macOS Catalina 10.15.5 arrives to save your MacBook battery

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2020 macbook air
A new Battery Health Management feature should extend the time before you think about replacing your MacBook Air.
Photo: iFixit

Beta testing is over, and Apple released macOS Catalina 10.15.5 to the general public today. It includes a new Battery Health Management feature intended to reduce wear and extend the useful life of MacBook batteries.

Battery health management comes to MacBooks

It’s an unavoidable fact that batteries wear out. Over the years, its charging capacity declines. “A battery’s lifespan depends on its chemical age, which is affected by factors such as its temperature history and charging pattern,” notes Apple.

The Battery Health Management feature built into macOS Catalina 10.15.5 aims to prolong the life of MacBook batteries by tracking users’ typical charging patterns. If the software detects that a macOS laptop is mostly plugged in and kept at full capacity, it will fill the battery a bit short of 100% to extend its lifespan.

Apple turned on the feature by default. It can be turned off, though. But Apple warns that deactivating Battery Health Management might reduce the lifespan of MacBook batteries.

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

This system to extend the useful life of batteries is already available to iPhone, but not iPad.

Installing macOS Catalina 10.15.5

Beyond changes to battery health, macOS 10.15.5 includes a tweak to FaceTime, Apple’s video-chat app. Starting with this with update, the tile showing the face of the person speaking in this video chat app doesn’t have to expand, pushing aside other participants. The same change was made in iPadOS and iOS 13.5.

The full version of macOS 10.15.5 debuted today. It’s available to anyone, not just beta testers. You can install the new version through the System Preferences app by going to Software Update.

Apple’s full macOS Catalina 10.15.5 release notes are below:

macOS Catalina 10.15.5 introduces battery health management in the Energy Saver settings for notebooks, an option to control automatic prominence of video tiles on Group FaceTime calls, and controls to fine-tune the built-in calibration of your Pro Display XDR. The update also improves the stability, reliability, and security of your Mac.

Battery Health Management
• Battery health management to help maximize battery lifespan for Mac notebooks
• Energy Saver preference pane now displays battery condition and recommends if the battery needs to be serviced
• Option to disable battery health management
For more information, please visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT211094

FaceTime Prominence Preference
• Option to control automatic prominence on Group FaceTime calls so video tiles do not change size when a participant speaks

Calibration Fine-Tuning for Pro Display XDR
• Controls to fine-tune the built-in calibration of your Pro Display XDR by adjusting the white point and luminance for a precise match to your own display calibration target

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements.
• Fixes an issue that may prevent Reminders from sending notifications for recurring reminders
• Addresses an issue that may prevent password entry on the login screen
• Fixes an issue where System Preferences would continue to show a notification badge even after installing an update
• Resolves an issue where the built-in camera may not be detected when trying to use it after using a video conferencing app
• Addresses an issue for Mac computers with the Apple T2 Security Chip where internal speakers may not appear as a sound output device in Sound preferences
• Fixes a stability issue with uploading and downloading media files from iCloud Photo Library while your Mac is asleep
• Resolves a stability issue when transferring large amounts of data to RAID volumes
• Fixes an issue where the Reduce Motion Accessibility preference did not reduce the speed of animations in a FaceTime group call

Some features may not be available for all regions, or on all Apple devices.
For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT210642

For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

Buster Hein contributed to this article.