macOS 10.15.5 Update Adds Battery Health Management

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Apple has released macOS 10.15.5 Catalina with a new battery health management feature for Mac laptops, along with a necessary option for Group FaceTime, calibration for the Pro Display XDR, and a smattering of bug and security fixes.

My MacBook Air does not show the Battery Management option. Here’s the details of the Mac:

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook Air
Model Identifier: MacBookAir6,2
Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 1.7 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 2
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 4 MB
Hyper-Threading Technology: Enabled
Memory: 8 GB
Boot ROM Version:
SMC Version (system): 2.13f15
Serial Number (system): C02MM10PF6T6
Hardware UUID: FF74997E-448B-522C-80D8-6E8B877C630E

According to Six Colors, battery health management requires a Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports


Color me bummed too. My early 2015 MacBook Air is ineligible for the Battery Health Management feature. That’s a useful feature we owners of older hardware could really use.

It isn’t available on my MacBook 12 2017, disappointing, wonder why?

Apparently the minimum requirement includes having a Thunderbolt 3 port. You MacBook has only a USB-C port (yes, they do look the same).

Thanks Alan, I am wondering why the Thunderbolt 3 issue affects battery monitoring?

It probably doesn’t. Apple frequently makes statements like that in order to make it easy for consumers to understand what models a feature does or does not support.

You might recall back in the early days of Mac OS X, that some releases were advertised as only being compatible with Macs that have FireWire ports. The OS kernel revision certainly didn’t require FireWire, and adding a FireWire PCI card wouldn’t make an old Mac compatible with the new release. But saying “only Macs with FW ports” is easier than saying “only Macs originally released with motherboard designs newer than xyz”, which would require a list of specific models.

I’m sure we’re seeing the same thing here. There’s probably a particular chip on the motherboard (probably part of the battery power management circuit, or an SMC feature) that is required and all Macs with Thunderbolt 3 ports have this chip. There might be one or two models that have the chip but not Thunderbolt 3, but that would make the compatibility statement more complicated for customers to understand.

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So if somebody considers batteries consumables that simply need to be replaced every third year or so, is there any disadvantage to not using this? It sounds as if using it could lead to situations where your battery isn’t fully charged when plugged in or not charged at full speed. If I’m perfectly ok with paying to have my battery swapped every third year, should I not want my battery always fully charged to its max?

This is a little distressing. It seems that 10.15.5 prevents Carbon Copy Cloner from making an initial bootable duplicate. You’ll need a new version of CCC to make such a backup.

Same here. I’m still on my 2013 MB Pro. I don’t think this Battery Health Management feature is compatible with it.

The weirdest thing happened with this update for me on my new 2020 13" MBP.

After applying the update my previous relocated items folder somehow became “previously relocated items” and instead a new relocated items folder appeared with more stuff in it. Broke some of my tools because I had symlinked to the initial relocated items folder and Apple somehow busted that symlink. With the rename of the folder I guess. So instead of Apple clearing out 3rd party stuff from areas it no longer wants 3rd party stuff in during the initial Catalina install, it appears it is now doing this piecemeal? Can we expect this shuffling to happen on every single install bow? Would be great if we just do it once for all “offending material” and be done with it. :confused: Also, the +1 badge on my Apple TV app is back again. And still no clear way of understanding what it’s trying to alert me to or how to get rid of it. Argh! :angry:

SuperDuper still needs an update for 10.5.5

So far, my battery on my early-2015 MBP seems OK, and when I’ve looked into what it would cost for a battery replacement when needed; it looks like it might be a good investment to keep the machine going, as when I added an SSD to my 2005 or whatever it was, back in those days when we could add storage.
Maybe I’m just ignorant about how this works, but couldn’t someone write a utility or hack to provide battery management in older MacBooks? Or maybe someone already has?

The 10.15.5 update fixed a Finder bug that was extremely annoying to me. On my iMac Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015, the 10.15.4 update introduced a command+F bug that opened the “Searching ‘This Mac’” window with a missing “Search for:” box. The 10.15.5 update repaired Finder such that command+F now works correctly again.

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Yep. Looks like they hit the same problem as Carbon Copy Cloner. You can keep making existing backups with Super Duper, but you can’t make new ones.

The way Apple talks about the battery health management feature makes it sound like it depends on various bits of hardware, including temperature sensors, that likely aren’t available on older Macs.

So aside from all the technical implications, I’m surprised no one has commented on the most important point raised in the article: The name of the next release of macOS :slightly_smiling_face:

I agree Avalon would be very cool, and somewhat ironically apropos, as Adam points out. I’m fortunate enough to live where on a very clear day I can see Catalina, so keeping it front-and-center in the Mac world for another year would be gratifying.

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I have a MacBook Air early 2015 and after this 10.15.5 update everything seemed to work well except when powering off (selecting “Shut Down”) it won’t restart. I’ve tried all start up combinations of key commands, resetting different things but to no avail. The only thing that works is unplugging and re plugging in the battery and then powering on only works if I use the power cable connected. It will “Restart” no problem though unplugged or plugged into power, just not from a shut down. Any body else have this issue? Is there a better fix?

In fact, yes, I have exchanged email with a TidBITS reader who was experiencing this problem, although for him it started when he first installed Catalina and persisted through 10.15.5.

The solution that I suggested and that worked for him was to reinstall Catalina. Boot into Recovery (by holding Cmd-R at startup) and reinstall from there. Make sure you have a backup first, as always!

Is this nothing an SMC reset could help with?