What does the warning that our Mac’s battery won’t charge mean?

Under certain circumstances, when we plug in our Mac on, it may display a warning informing us that « It is not charging ». Although it may sound strange, this behavior is part of normal computer and battery operation.

Another reason, but no alarm

So far this message has appeared twice. The first is when the computer is connected to a power supply that provides enough power to operate, but not enough to charge the battery. In this case, we can continue to use the computer without draining the battery, but it will not be charged or we turn off the Mac or put it to sleep.

The second time is when our computer is running at a very high performance levelFor example, when using certain video editing or gaming applications. In this case, the Mac uses more power than it receives from the power source, which may drain the battery faster.

In general, the previous two cases are rare, but for a little over a month Catalina version 10.15.5 has brought news about this. We talked about the battery health management system that we saw in detail at the time. With this system activated Mac relies on historical battery metrics to optimize charge and durability overtime. Keep in mind that this feature is only available on battery-powered Mac computers running macOS Catalina 10.15.5 or higher and running Thunderbolt 3.

Following this new feature The possibility that we see the message « It is not charging » increases dramatically. Enough for Apple to release a support document explaining the reasons (via Macrumors). Apple explains the situation as follows:

When battery management is enabled, you may sometimes see “No Charging” in your Mac’s battery status menu, and the maximum battery charge level may drop temporarily. . This is normal and this is how the management of the battery status optimizes the charge. Your Mac will regain 100% charge depending on your usage.

It’s a system similar to that used by iPhones with optimized charge, where they stop charging when they hit 80% until the system tells them to.

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It seems clear that until battery manufacturing technologies evolve dramatically, the answer to aging and other details will have to come from software. The optimized charge of the iPhone, which reaches the iPad and Apple Watch on iPadOS 14 and watchOS 7, as well as the management of the battery status which arrived on the Mac a little over a month ago , is precisely part of this software response.