High Power Mode could boost your Mac’s performance at the expense of battery life

References to “High Power Mode” discovered in macOS Monterey hint at a new performance-focused feature for Mac notebooks designed to maximize performance while on battery power.


  • References to “High Power Mode” found in macOS Monterey code strings
  • High Power Mode sounds like the opposite of iPhone’s Low Power Mode
  • High Power Mode could disable energy-saving restrictions like dimming the screen
  • Low Power Mode is coming to Macs with the macOS Monterey update
  • High Power Mode could arrive in a future Monterey update

An image showing an Apple silicon MacBook Pro model with the M1 chip set against a dark background

What is High Power Mode in macOS and what can you do with it?

Beta code of the upcoming macOS Monterey update includes references to something called “High Power Mode.” These were discovered by 9to5Mac but the publication couldn’t get High Power Mode to actually work so all we can do at this point is make informed speculation.

Conventional wisdom tells us this could be a new operating mode designed for Mac notebooks. At any rate, it sounds like the polar opposite of the iPhone’s Low Power Mode that will be coming to the Mac when macOS Monterey launches publicly in the coming weeks.

With Low Power Mode turned on, macOS makes the CPU in your Mac run slower, dims the screen and disables non-crucial background tasks to conserve power and increase battery life. High Power Mode (assuming Apple doesn’t change the feature’s name when Monterey launches), on the other hand, focuses on performance at the expense of battery life.

High Power Mode appears to be rebranded from Pro Mode, which was discovered via code strings and references in macOS Catalina back in January 2020. Apple has never shipped Pro Mode, but code strings in Catalina provide the following explanation:

Apps may run faster, but battery life may decrease and fan noise may increase.

This gives you a good idea that High Power Mode in Monterey could be a more developed version of Pro Mode in Catalina. Regardless of what the feature ends up being officially named, it won’t be something regular users will want to keep turned on at all times.

Would you trade battery life for performance?

As we said, High Power Mode seems to be optimized maximize performance while your notebook is on battery power. But who is it for? Better yet, who are those people who would need to extract the maximum power from their MacBook while on the go? Well, if you’re someone who shoots video for a living, for example, you might want to turn on this mode to speed up the exporting of vast amounts of footage in Final Cut Pro.

But even then, though, High Power Mode will shorten battery life by preventing the CPU from lowering its frequency, shooting down unused cores and so on.

It’s unclear if this mode will only be accessible on Apple Silicon Macs, their Intel-based counterparts or both. Also, we don’t know if this is restricted to Mac notebooks and when the feature might release. As Apple did not provide any details about High Power Mode so far, it’s entirely possible that High Power Mode could arrive at a later date or get scrapped.

Subscribe to iDB on YouTube

Apple is expected to hold another pre-taped product blitz in October, focused on new Apple silicon notebooks. To that end, we expect to see whether High Power Mode ends up being a shipping feature in the inaugural release of macOS 12.0 Monterey.