Sidestep MacBook Optimized Battery Charging When Necessary

Have you ever run into a situation where the battery icon in your menu bar is stuck at 80% even though your Mac has been plugged in for hours? Luckily, there are several easy workarounds, but first, let us explain what’s going on.

In the past few years, Apple has added optimized battery charging features to many of its battery-powered products, including the iPhone, the Apple Watch, and the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In all cases, Apple’s goal is to increase the lifespan of your devices’ lithium-ion batteries by reducing the amount of time they spend fully charged.

With the iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple achieves this by learning your charging patterns and delaying charging past 80% in certain situations. The optimized charging algorithm then charges the device to full just before you’re likely to unplug it. For most people, that probably happens overnight, so the device is ready in the morning.

With the MacBooks, the background is slightly different. Many people use their MacBooks at desks, often connected to large displays, so they spend a lot of time plugged into power. In the past, that would keep the battery fully charged and generate heat, both of which shorten the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries. So once again, Apple’s optimized battery charging technology tries to hold the battery at 80% and charges it to full only when it thinks you’ll need to use it away from the desk. If you seldom take it anywhere, it could be held at 80% most of the time.

That works best when you have a regular schedule, but it’s easy to end up in a situation where you need to grab your MacBook and head out—such as for an overnight trip—where you won’t be able to recharge easily. If the optimized battery charging algorithm wasn’t expecting that, you could find yourself with a battery that’s only at 80% to start, significantly reducing your battery life.

There are three ways to work around this problem, depending on how troublesome it is for you:

  • Resume charging: If the optimized battery charging algorithm has paused charging at 80% but you want to leave with a full charge, click the battery icon in the menu bar and choose Charge to Full Now. That will take some time, so make sure you initiate the final charging early enough. This workaround is most helpful if you only occasionally need a full charge.
  • Disable optimized battery charging temporarily: Let’s say you’re on that overnight trip and need to be sure that your MacBook is fully charged for your 6 AM flight home. To ensure you don’t wake up to a partially full battery, you can temporarily disable optimized battery charging. In macOS 13 Ventura, choose System Settings > Battery, click the ⓘ next to Battery Health, turn off the Optimized Battery Charging switch, and click Turn Off Until Tomorrow in the dialog that appears.

    In macOS 12 Monterey and earlier, choose System Preferences > Battery, deselect Optimized Battery Charging, and click Turn Off Until Tomorrow.
  • Disable optimized battery charging permanently: Some people have unpredictable schedules. While the optimized battery charging algorithm may simply throw up its hands and allow your battery to charge fully at all times, if you find yourself continually fighting it, follow the steps above and click Turn Off to disable it permanently. Be aware that this may reduce the overall lifespan of your battery.

If all this seems fussy, it’s because Apple was criticized some years ago when it introduced optimized battery charging for the iPhone without informing users, some of whom were upset by the seemingly unpredictable charging behavior. Apple now makes the controls accessible to users, which is good but adds complexity.

Although we recommend leaving optimized battery charging enabled in most situations, there are times when it’s reasonable to turn it off to ensure you have as much power as possible for the upcoming work session.

(Featured image by Timur)

Social Media: Has your MacBook’s battery ever been stuck at 80% when you would prefer to have a full charge? We explain what’s happening and how to work around Apple’s optimized battery charging features.

How to Add Important Metadata to Scanned Photos

Photos we take today with our iPhones and other digital cameras automatically have metadata associated with them, information like time and date, camera type, lens and exposure information, and even location (with iPhones and newer cameras). Other metadata, like titles and faces, we have to add manually.

Four of these pieces of metadata are particularly useful:

  • Dates ensure that photos sort correctly in Photos.
  • Titles simplify searching and make it easier to group photos.
  • Locations let you see photos on a map and search by location names.
  • Faces collect images of individuals automatically after you identify some manually.

Problems crop up when you have old digital photos that lack full metadata and with scanned photos, which seldom have any metadata at all. The lack of metadata hits especially hard if you’ve taken advantage of a service that scans boxes of old snapshots so you have digital versions. Bulk scanning is a great way to protect the images and share them with others, but without appropriate metadata, the images can be nearly incomprehensible to anyone who doesn’t already know who’s in them and when and where they were taken.

Happily, Photos has tools for adding metadata to multiple images at once. If you have a large collection of scanned photos, follow along to learn how to give them the metadata that will make them easier to find and understand in the future.

Before we get started, make sure you know how to select multiple images at once in Photos. There are four basic approaches:

  • Drag: Click in any blank area, and drag a rectangle around the pictures you want to select. If you drag to the top or bottom of the screen, Photos scrolls to bring more images into view. Dragging is easy, but you can select more than you want.
  • Shift-click: Select one picture. Then hold down the Shift key and click any other picture to select both of them and all the images in between. Shift-clicking is the fastest and most accurate way to select many contiguous photos.
  • Command-click: To select an arbitrary set of photos, Command-click each one to select it; another Command-click on a selected image deselects it. Command-clicking is too slow for selecting a lot of photos, but it’s great for removing photos from the selected set if you’ve accidentally added too many with another method.
  • Select All: If you want to select all the photos in an album, choose Edit > Select All.

Change Dates

Photos scanned by a service will likely come back with the date they were scanned. That’s not helpful, and while it’s hard to know exactly when the photos were taken, if you can get them in at least the correct year, they’ll sort reasonably in Photos. Once you’ve selected the photos you want to adjust, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Image > Adjust Date & Time to bring up the Adjust dialog.
  2. In the Adjusted field, enter the date you want to apply to the selected photos.
  3. Click Adjust.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t change the date and time to what you enter exactly. Instead, it adjusts each photo’s date and time by the amount specified. In all likelihood, the selected photos have slightly different times and possibly dates, so adjusting them by the same amount means they’ll retain their basic order. In the screenshot above, you can see that each photo’s date will move more than 55 years into the past to when that tractor was newer.

Change Titles

No photos, scanned or taken with an iPhone, will automatically have useful title data assigned to them. At best, the title might be the same as the image’s filename, something unhelpful like IMG_3343.JPG. In Photos’ predecessor iPhoto, Apple provided a way of changing the titles of selected photos and appending a sequential number to each image. That way, you could have Niagara Falls Trip 1, Niagara Falls Trip 2, and so on.

That feature is no longer available in Photos. You can still change the titles of selected photos, but all the titles will be the same, without a sequential number. Once you’ve selected the desired images, follow these steps:

  • Choose Window > Info to bring up an Info window.
  • In the field labeled “Various Titles,” enter the desired title.
  • Press Return to apply the title.

If you desperately want sequential numbers appended to your titles, there is a way of doing it using AppleScript, as explained in this discussion forum post.

Change Locations

Scanned photos and those taken with most digital cameras won’t have location metadata showing where the photo was taken. With many photos, you may not know the precise location—who remembers where that picnic in 1980 was held?—but you can probably specify the city or state/province. The process for adding locations is similar to adding titles.

  1. Choose Window > Info to bring up an Info window.
  2. In the field labeled Assign a Location, start typing the name of the location until you see the correct location appear in the suggestion list below.
  3. Click the desired location to assign it to the selected photos.

If you want to do a lot of geotagging, check out the app HoudahGeo, which provides additional tools for connecting locations with images stored in Photos. It even lets you drag images to spots on a map, which may be faster than typing in locations.

Identify Faces

Though not perfect, the facial recognition feature in Photos is a wonder of modern machine learning. Once you identify someone a few times and then confirm or reject additional suggestions, Photos automatically identifies people as they appear in new photos. It could be particularly effective when importing a large number of old family photos where you might not recognize all the people in a previous generation. For help using facial recognition, refer to Apple’s Photos documentation, but here are the basics. The first task is to identify or create a new person whose face you want Photos to recognize:

  1. In the Photos sidebar, click People, and look to see if the person has a thumbnail. If so, move on to the instructions for associating more photos with them.
  2. If they don’t have a thumbnail, find a photo of them. If there’s an “unnamed” tag under their face, type their name in the box, selecting the appropriate suggestion if they’re among your contacts.
  3. When there’s no tag under the person’s face, you’ll have to add one manually. Choose Window > Info to bring up the Info window, click the Add Faces button, click the image again (surprising, but necessary), drag the Click to Name circle over the face of the person to identify, and then type a name in the box.

Once you have identified or created a person for someone whose face you want, there are three ways to train Photos to identify more photos of them. These aren’t exclusive—you’ll want to employ all three. The first approach is generally pretty accurate, the second sometimes grasps at straws, and the third may kickstart more recognition by the other two later on.

  • In the People album, double-click a person’s face. At the top of the window, Photos may display a banner saying that there are additional photos to review. If it does, click Review, and in the dialog that appears, deselect any photos that aren’t of the person before clicking Done. The banner won’t appear when there are no more photos to check for that person.
  • In the People album, double-click a person’s face. Scroll to the bottom of the window, and click Confirm Additional Photos. If it has any photos that might be of that person, Photos displays the first one and asks at the top of the screen if the photo is of the desired person. Click Yes or No as appropriate for each photo that appears. Often, identifying a particular face as being associated with the person will add more photos. When you finish, click the Done button at the top of the window.
  • Scroll through a bunch of photos individually, typing names into the “unnamed” box whenever possible. Those photos will immediately be associated with the person, but then you should leave Photos running in the background for hours or days so it can use that new information to identify more possible faces, which you may have to confirm using the previous two methods.

Identifying faces can be time-consuming, but it can also be somewhat addictive if you like feeling that you know more than the computer. Note that face metadata lives only in Photos itself, so if you were ever to export or share the photos with someone else, you’d have to find a way to convey who was pictured in another way.

With the tools in Photos to change dates, titles, locations, and faces, you can bring order to that large collection of scanned or old photos.

(Featured image by

Social Media: Do you have pictures that are difficult to find or make sense of in Apple’s Photos because they lack dates, titles, locations, and faces? That happens regularly with scanned snapshots, so we explain how you can efficiently add metadata.

Set Your Apple Watch Clock Ahead a Few Minutes to Avoid Being Late

Those who tend to cut things tight have a time-honored tradition of setting their watches ahead by a few minutes. That way, when you glance at your watch and realize that you need to leave, you actually have a few more minutes. You can do this with your Apple Watch, but only on the watch itself. Press the Digital Crown to see your apps, tap Settings, scroll down to and tap Clock, tap the button for Set Watch Face Display Time Ahead, and use the Digital Crown to choose your desired time adjustment. Note that this setting affects only the time you see on the watch face. All alarms and notifications will come in at the correct times.

(Featured image by

Social Media: Want to give yourself a few more minutes to get to meetings on time? Use this little-known option to set the time displayed on your Apple Watch ahead by a few minutes.

How to Turn Mail’s Rich Website Previews into Plain Links

Sometimes apps can be too helpful. Apple’s Mail on the Mac likes to turn pasted URLs into graphically rich previews, and sometimes that’s OK. But other times, the preview is confusing or takes up too much space. Or you may want to send a plain link so the recipient can see its text. There are three ways to avoid rich link previews:

  • Before pasting a URL into your message, type a space or any other text. Mail converts URLs to rich previews only when they’re on a line by themselves.
  • Hover over the preview, click the down-pointing arrow that appears, and choose Convert to Plain Link from the pop-up menu.
  • In Mail > Settings > Composing, change the Message Format pop-up menu to Plain Text. Although this eliminates rich link previews, it also prevents you from including formatting and images.

(Featured image by Adam Engst)

Social Media: Annoyed by how Apple’s Mail on the Mac turns pasted URLs into rich link previews? We offer three ways to avoid them.

Classical Music Fans Take Note: Apple Music Classical Is Now Available

Apple has at long last released the promised Apple Music Classical app. It’s a free iPhone app for Apple Music subscribers that looks and works much like the standard Music app. However, Apple has adjusted it extensively under the hood to work better with classical music, where there are many recordings of the same work by different artists. Apple also improved the metadata—normalizing composer names and adding work and movement tags—for the 5 million classical tracks in Apple Music. For instance, you can search by work, composer, conductor, opus number, and key, something that worked poorly before. Apple Music Classical is a significant improvement for classical music fans, and it provides expert recommendations and playlists for those interested in getting started. Alas, there’s no Mac version yet, and the iPad is limited to using the scaled-up iPhone app.

(Featured image by

Social Media: Whether you’re a classical music fan or a neophyte who wants to learn more, check out the new Apple Music Classical app, free for Apple Music subscribers. Its interface is designed for classical music, and it provides access to over 5 million tracks.

Reveal Your Desktop Quickly with a Keyboard Shortcut

The Mac’s Desktop is a remarkably useful place. It’s a good spot for in-progress documents, screenshots, images dragged out of Web pages, and more. However, app windows tend to obscure the Desktop, making it harder to use. There are two quick ways you can temporarily hide windows, making it easy to access icons on the Desktop. In macOS 13 Ventura, in System Settings > Desktop & Dock, click the Shortcuts button at the bottom and assign a keyboard shortcut to Show Desktop (we like the Right Option key). Or click Hot Corners and choose Desktop for one of the corners. (In macOS 12 Monterey and earlier, look in System Preferences > Mission Control.) Then, press that keyboard shortcut or put your pointer in that corner to move your windows aside temporarily. When you’re done, press the key or move the pointer there again to put the windows back.

(Featured image based on an original by

Social Media: The Mac’s Desktop is a great place for in-progress documents, screenshots, and other things you’re working on, but only if you can get to it easily. Read on for two little-known tricks for temporarily pushing windows aside.