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New Apple feature aims to make your MacBook battery smarter and last longer

Battery health management is a new update coming to MacOS Catalina 10.15.5.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Apple on Thursday announced a small change to MacOS and how the operating system manages the long-term battery health of MacBooks. 

The feature, simply called battery health management, will be available in MacOS Catalina 10.15.5, first appearing in a dev build, later coming to a public beta of 10.15.5, and finally being released to the public later this year.

According to Apple, it will monitor the historical charging patterns and heat level of a MacBook battery, and make subtle changes to how your laptop charges. The goal is to reduce the rate of chemical aging in the battery over time, and therefore expand its useful lifespan. 

That's especially important, as like most modern laptops, MacBook batteries are not user-replaceable. 

The feature will be turned on by default, although you can disable it if you choose. Apple says all data related to battery health management is stored locally, and not shared with the company, unless you've already opted in to sharing diagnostic info. 

In our recent tests of the 2020 version of the MacBook Air, for example, the Core i7 version of the system ran for 9 hours, 40 minutes on our video playback battery drain test. With proper battery health management and less chemical aging of the battery, that score might not decrease as much over time. 

The battery health management feature will eventually be available in Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks, bundled as part of an upcoming MacOS update.

Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the 2020 MacBook Air

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