Update your MacBook today to receive Apple’s all-important battery life boost

Apple has started to roll out the latest version of its macOS operating system, macOS 10.15.5, to MacBook owners worldwide today. Honestly, it’s a pretty minor update – don’t expect any drastic design changes or shiny new apps from Apple. However, it does contain a crucial new battery life feature that could dramatically extend the lifespan of your pricey MacBook.

Modern MacBook notebook designs do not have removable batteries. So, when the cell is no longer able to hold enough of a charge to get you through the day – you’ll need to upgrade to a new model, get Apple or an approved seller to replace the battery, or stay plugged into the wall while you work. That’s something Apple hopes its new software feature will help to fix.

Known as Battery Health Management, the new feature in macOS Catalina 10.15.5 keeps track of your charging patterns and the heat levels in the built-in battery. Using this information, Apple can change the charging patterns to ensure the battery does not chemically age as fast.

So, if you work on battery-power away from the wall plug all morning, but then spend every afternoon at a desk – plugged in. Battery Health Management should learn that there is no need to quickly fill the battery cell with charge as soon as you sit down on your desk chair as you’ll be there for a good number of hours. This should mean your battery doesn’t heat up as much and degrade as fast.

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Like all the best software features, you won’t have to do anything at all. After updating to the latest version of macOS, you should just notice that your MacBook battery ages a little better than before. Nifty, eh?

However, if you do decide that you’re not a fan, Apple includes the option to disable the feature from macOS Catalina’s System Preferences.

The new feature will be switched on by default for all new Apple MacBooks that ship from the Apple Store with macOS 10.15.5 or newer. If you already own a MacBook and upgrade the operating system, you’ll need to own a model with Thunderbolt 3 ports, which is any MacBook Pro launched since 2016, or any MacBook Air launched 2018 or later.

As well as Battery Health Management, macOS 10.15.5 ships with all the usual bug fixes and performance tweaks we’d expect.

As millions of people stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus, Apple has also tweaked FaceTime slightly. The Cupertino-based company has added the ability to disable a feature when calling multiple people that automatically resizes the windows based on how is speaking. By default, FaceTime will dynamically expand the size of the bubble of whichever caller is talking, shrinking everyone else.

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It’s very subtle when you’re in a video call with three or four people. But when calling the maximum number – 32 simultaneous people – bubbles are constantly growing and shrinking and friends and family talk over one another.

With the new option, you can keep FaceTime as a stable grid view.

To download the latest version of macOS, head to the Apple menu in the top left-hand corner, then click System Preferences > Software Update.

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