Apple’s High Power Mode Could Boost MacBook Performance

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In January 2020, it appeared that Apple was working on a so-called Pro mode for its Macs. While this never became an official feature of macOS, it looks like it could make a comeback as High Power Mode.

According to 9to5Mac, MacOS Monterey beta 8 contains references to high power mode in its code. Unlike the Pro Mode leak, there are no details on how exactly it would work. However, the Pro mode itself could give us some clues.

That’s because when it was discovered tucked away in the MacOS Catalina 10.15.3 code, Pro mode came with text explaining its expected effects. For example, one line said, “Apps may run faster, but battery life may decrease and fan noise may increase.” There was also a mention of “Fan speed limit exceeded”.

If High Power Mode is indeed a continuation of Pro Mode, we would expect a similar result. That should mean better performance across the board, at the expense of battery life and fan noise. With that last factor in mind, it will be interesting to see if high power mode is enabled on the MacBook Air, which since its switch to Apple Silicon no longer needs a fan at all.

The apparent addition of High Power Mode brings MacOS in line with Windows 10, which contains the rather dramatically named Ultimate Performance Mode. This changes your system settings to increase CPU power management to 100% and disable sleep mode for your hard drives, among other things. Some laptop manufacturers offer similar tools via fine-grained fan control tools.

The high-power mode leak comes at a good time for Mac users, as Apple is generally expected to launch revamped MacBook Pro models at an event in October. These will likely ship with an updated M1X chip, offering better performance than the current M1 model. Then next year, a high-end iMac and a half-size Mac Pro are in the cards, both of which would likely benefit from high power mode.

This means that if you’ve been looking for a way to squeeze every drop of power out of your Mac, it might not be long to wait. In fact, if you want to see the code for yourself, you can download the MacOS Monterey public beta right now.

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