Apple’s new macOS Sonoma software update for the Mac, which rolled out Tuesday, contains a surprising upgrade targeted specifically at the latest 13-inch MacBook Air. According to the release notes, updating such machines to Sonoma will “better optimize long-term battery health.”
Details of this enhancement, which was first spotted by MacRumors, remain unclear. Apple doesn’t specify what it has done to achieve these optimizations, which get just a single line at the very end of the release notes. It simply refers to battery health management, a macOS feature that was added in a Catalina update back in 2020, being “updated.”
Battery health management doesn’t affect a Mac’s battery life in the short term but is intended rather to slow the process by which battery performance degrades. The feature analyzes your Mac’s charging history and the temperatures it habitually reaches, then adjusts the way charging takes place to reduce damage to the battery.
It’s also not clear why Apple has focused on the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air in particular since the 15-inch Air and 13-inch Pro have the same chip. There are no widely known issues with that machine or its battery performance. Then again, given that it came out last summer, longer-term problems might not have had a chance to emerge. We praised its “killer battery life” in our review, but that reflected weeks of intense testing, not months.
It’s possible that Apple is trying to get ahead of a crisis that the public and the media aren’t yet aware of, but it’s also possible that we’re reading too much into a small improvement that the company didn’t make a big deal of because it isn’t a big deal.
macOS Sonoma is a free software update that runs on the following machines:
- MacBook (2015 or newer)
- MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
- Mac mini (2012 or newer)
- iMac (2012 or newer)
- iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
- Mac Pro (2013 or newer)
To install Sonoma on your Mac, follow our simple tutorial.