Stupid Simple Mac Tip #88 – Chaaarge!
This week’s post is less of a “tip” and more of a “tip-off,” explaining a recent macOS change that has caused some confusion about battery health and charging.
After a recent update, many Macs have not been fully charging — before you tie up the hotline or storm the genius bar, give me a second to explain.
With the Big Sur operating system, Apple introduced a new battery optimization system that algorithmically limits Macbook charging to extend the life of your battery. Since lithium-ion units run hot near 100% capacity, the optimized plan pauses charging at around 80% when it anticipates you’ll be plugged in for a while (based on personal usage habits).
The approach is a good one but has flown under the radar, leaving users worried that something’s wrong with their battery. There isn’t!
I endorse the optimization. It’s better for your system, and Macs have such incredible battery life that even 80% will get you through most any day. Additionally, as the system learns your patterns, it will top you up to 100% before you regularly unplug…or you can manually complete the charge at any time via the battery status menu.
If it’s really driving you crazy, the system can be temporarily paused or permanently disabled. Go to the Apple menu 🍎 > System Preferences > Battery, then select battery in the sidebar and deselect “Optimized battery charging,” choosing either to “Turn Off” or “Turn Off Until Tomorrow.”
Saving energy and extending battery life are admirable goals for which Apple has devised a clever solution…but by failing to effectively inform user expectations, they’ve caused a bit of a panic. If your Mac appears stuck < 100% power or lists charging as “on hold,” check your settings – it’s almost certainly by design.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to grab a cup of coffee… I’ve been stuck at about 80% all day and need to top off the juice. ☕👍😉