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MacOS Catalina update wrings more life from your MacBook's battery

It'll also help Pro Display XDR owners fine-tune their screen.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 26, 2020
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Apple MacBook Air (2020)
Dana Wollman/Engadget

Apple is trying to squeeze more long-term usefulness out of your MacBook’s battery, much like it has with iPhones for a while. It just released a macOS Catalina 10.15.5 update (via 9to5Mac) whose centerpiece battery health management feature aims to extend the lifespan of the power pack. When enabled, the addition gradually reduces the peak capacity of your battery to a level “optimized for your usage” to reduce wear. The battery’s condition will be available in Energy Saver, too. You can turn the feature off if you need every last milliamp-hour, but this should be helpful if you’re more interested in avoiding a battery replacement for as long as possible.

This is an equally important upgrade if you’re a creative relying on a Pro Display XDR. You now have tools to “fine-tune” the calibration through tweaking the white point and luminance. Given that image accuracy is all-important in a screen like this, this improvement could be a tremendous relief.

Most other changes come down to minor tweaks. You can stop the automatic group FaceTime video resizing that drives some people up the wall, much like you can with iOS 13.5. There’s also better performance on “certain Mac models” when using hardware acceleration for GPU-intensive tasks like video calls, and this fixes a bug where your built-in webcam wouldn’t be detected after using a videoconferencing app. This is an update built around the stay-at-home reality of the pandemic, even if the battery health tool will only really be useful when it’s safe to return to the office or school.

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