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Secret new macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15 battery feature is a literal lifesaver

Apple went into plenty of detail about the forthcoming macOS 12 Monterey and iPad OS 15 updates during WWDC, but left out one particularly intriguing feature – the Low Power Mode currently available on iPhone devices.

The Low Power Mode feature, when enabled, will elongate the battery life of the Mac or iPad in much the same way as it does on the iPhone, according to the macOS Monterey preview page. This should help Mac users eke out a little more power when running short on fuel.

Right now, only the MacBook (Early 2016 and later) and MacBook Pro (Early 2016 and later) are listed as compatible. When first hearing of the feature we figured it might be something only M1-based Apple Silicon Macs benefit from, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

“Extend your MacBook battery life with Low Power Mode, which manages energy-intensive apps and processing. It directs power where you need it to get the most out of your battery,” the page reads (via MacRumors).

The addition of the feature will seriously boost the ability to conserve battery on macOS. The previous Energy Saver settings in System Preferences enabled users to customise when the display or device would go to sleep after a certain period of time.

In recent versions of macOS Apple has added a dedicated Battery menu, which only allows for the display to be dimmed when running on battery power and for the device to take a battery-saving power nap without completely entering sleep mode. It’s not clear all of the optimisations that will come through Low Power Mode, but on iPhone the feature affects:

  • Email fetch
  • Background app refresh
  • Automatic downloads
  • Some visual effects
  • Auto-Lock (defaults to 30 seconds)
  • iCloud Photos (temporarily paused)
  • 5G (except for video streaming)

While the iPadOS preview page doesn’t mention Low Power Mode, MacRumors was able to access the feature after installing the first developer preview, which is available today.

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