How Apple could use Tesla’s charging strategy for iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Apple introduced a new software feature with iOS 13 that helps prolong the life of your iPhone’s battery called “Optimized Battery Charging.” I’d love to see Apple not only expand it to iPad and Mac but also take a page out of Tesla’s book and adopt a feature from its charging strategy.

Apple’s Optimized Battery Charging feature for iPhone in iOS 13 works by putting a temporary battery limit of 80% on the device when charging overnight. Then more closely to when you wake up, it will finish charging the remaining 20%. Apple describes how it works in Settings > Battery > Battery Health:

To reduce battery aging, iPhone learns from your daily charging routine so it can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use it.

The gist is that batteries sitting charged at full capacity will wear out the cells faster, so Apple’s feature increases battery lifespan by pausing the charge.

Tesla’s electric vehicles have a similar capability where they learn your schedule like iPhone and will be charged to the desired level by the time you need to leave in the morning. But Tesla goes further than Apple’s Optimized Battery Charging feature and allows owners to manually set a battery limit in the Tesla app as shown in the image above.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has shared that charging to 80% for regular use and then tapping in into the remaining battery for long trips is best. And a battery expert who has done research for Tesla has even suggested using a 70% limit may be ideal for battery longevity.

Even though some of Apple’s batteries in its devices can be user-replaceable, they’re not designed that way, and it can be a risky option in some cases. Giving users the ability to set a battery limit and extend battery life even further would be a great way to extend a battery/device’s usable life, reduce waste, and make it more likely for customers to hand down or trade-in when they’re ready to upgrade. Even though it could reduce some of Apple’s revenue in the big picture, I think such a move is in line with Apple’s values of sustainability.

While I think this would be a great feature for iPhone, iPad and Mac may benefit even more. Many Mac notebook owners leave them plugged in all the time (or at least a lot of the time). Introducing a Tesla-like battery limit feature would provide the benefits we’ve talked about as well as educating all the users who don’t realize leaving a battery sit at 100% charge shortens its life.

And people tend to hold on to iPads and Macs longer than iPhones, so this could offer a better overall experience by eliminating the need for a battery replacement or at least pushing it out further in the device’s lifecycle.

Just like the current Optimized Battery Charging feature, Apple could implement the ability to set a limit in battery settings and give users a notification about the option, making it opt-in.

What do you think? Would you make use of a limit to extend the life of your battery? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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