What Does ‘Charging On Hold (Rarely Used On Battery)’ Mean on Mac?

When you look at the battery icon in the menu bar at the top of your Mac screen, you may see what looks like an electrical cord on the battery. If you haven’t noticed this symbol before, you may wonder if it is telling you something about the battery not charging properly. It’s true that it means the battery isn’t charging, but it’s not charging for a good reason; there is nothing wrong with the battery, the connection to power, nor your Mac’s software. Your Mac is using Optimized Battery Charging.

battery symbol

In this article, we’ll explain why your Mac isn’t charging the battery (fully) and what you can do if you don’t want your Mac to use Optimized Battery Charging.

What is Optimized Battery Charging on Mac

Optimized Battery Charging, introduced to the Mac with macOS Big Sur, learns about your usual charging and use routine for your Mac to come up with a charging schedule. This schedule will only allow your Mac to be charged up to 80% (or so) when the Optimized Battery Charging predicts that you will not be unplugging your Mac.

If you are going to be unplugging and using your Mac, you will probably want to have it fully charged. However, if you will not be unplugging your Mac, keeping the battery at full charge will reduce the lifespan of your battery.

How to force your Mac to charge fully

For most newer Macs running Big Sur or later, Optimized Battery Charging is on by default. However, there are a couple of ways you can force your Mac to charge fully. One way is to just instruct your Mac to “Charge to Full Now.” The other is to turn off Optimized Battery Charging altogether.

If you want your Mac to charge fully now

If you like the idea of preserving your Mac’s battery life but occasionally need a full charge when your Mac isn’t currently charging beyond 80%, you can instruct your Mac to charge up to full.

battery status menu
  1. In the menu bar at the top of the screen, near the right side, click on the battery symbol.
  2. Click on Charge to Full Now.

It will take some time for your Mac’s battery to charge completely (possibly an hour or more), so if you are using Optimized Battery Charging and you know you will be taking your Mac away from its power source, you may want to plan ahead.

How to turn off Optimized Battery Charging

turn off optimized battery charging
  1. Open System Preferences. Press Command – Space Bar, then type “system preferences” and hit Return.
  2. Click on Battery, then select Battery from the sidebar.
  3. Uncheck the box next to Optimized Battery Charging.
  4. You will see options to “Turn Off Until Tomorrow” or “Turn Off.” Select “Turn Off” if you don’t want to use Optimized Battery Charging at all or “Turn Off Until Tomorrow” if you just want to make sure your Mac’s battery charges fully today.

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Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

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