Battery health management in Catalina 10.15.5

The moment that I saw Apple’s announcement about new battery health management in macOS 10.15.5, I knew that I’d have to describe it in detail here, so here goes.


That’s it: a checkbox which you should normally leave ticked, but can uncheck if you want to override it. For the sake of completeness, here’s the modified version of the Energy Saver pane, with its new button to access battery health management features.


In case you’re thinking that I’m trying to use this on a laptop which isn’t compatible, this is on a MacBook Pro 16-inch 2019. I’m afraid that if your model doesn’t have a T1 or T2 chip, it will almost certainly be unable to offer this new feature, and you’ll be left one checkbox short.

Of course macOS does provide more information about battery health. Option-click the Energy Saver item in the main menubar, and you’ll be impressed with the battery condition status at the top, which hasn’t changed. But try to access anything about this using the pmset command in Terminal and its man page seems unaware, and was last revised around eight years ago. Apple’s support article about the new feature isn’t forthcoming either, and this page about batteries more generally hasn’t been updated for nearly four months either.


You can see a bit more about your battery in the Battery section of System Information, which hasn’t apparently been updated either, so can’t tell you whether the new battery health management feature is active.


If you really want to get to grips with your battery, then I recommend you splash out slightly less than $/€/£ 10 and buy a Pro licence for Coconut Battery, which not only displays the same basic information, but gives quite a bit more, both for the laptop it’s running on and any connected iOS devices.



Thinking about iOS devices, it might be useful here to see the Settings > Battery screen from my iPhone XR for comparison.


That’s a phone which costs a small fraction of a MacBook Pro, doing battery management much better than in macOS.

Now why can’t macOS users enjoy that level of features and function?

Perhaps in the case of the Catalina 10.15.5 update it might have been better to have reduced the fanfare for this ‘new feature’ to a single sentence mentioning the improvement in battery management, which it seems to be.