macOS “High Power Mode” expands to 14-inch MacBook Pro for the first time

With the release of the new MacBook Pro M3, Apple has expanded the availability of the 8221's “High Power Mode”; setting in macOS. In the M1 and M2 generations, High Power Mode was only available on the 16-inch MacBook Pro… but that changes this year with the M3 Max chip.

As Jason Snell noted in his Six Colors review of the MacBook Pro, High Power Mode is now available on the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Max processor inside. A MacBook Pro user on Reddit also noticed the change on Tuesday. Previously, High Power Mode was only available on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the Max 8221 processor. chip.

In his review, Jason says that he didn't notice much of a difference when he turned on the high power mode while testing the M3 Max chip:

For some testing, I switched the MacBook Pro to High Power mode, which is now available on both the 14- and 16-inch models in the M3 Max configuration. (It used to be only available on 16-inch models.) I didn't actually find that it made much of a difference in the tests I did, but it definitely caused the fans to run at very loud volumes. With the exception of some heavy CPU tasks in High Power mode, the MacBook Pro's fans were either quiet or, under some heavier workloads, audible but not obnoxious. But if you push hard enough in High Power mode, your laptop will sound more like a hair dryer.

In a support document (which has not yet been updated for the M3 Max generation), Apple explains how High Power mode should work:

By default, your Mac is set to Auto mode to balance power consumption and performance.  Low Power Mode reduces power consumption and increases battery life. High power mode allows fans to run at higher speeds. Additional cooling power can allow the system to deliver higher performance under very intensive workloads.

High Power Mode can improve performance in graphics-intensive workflows such as 8K ProRes 4444 color grading and 8K DNxHR video. For video editing and 3D applications, playback and export may be smoother in High Power mode.

In High Power mode, the fan may run at a higher speed and you may hear additional fan noise. High Power Mode can be used whether your Mac is connected to a power source or not.

You can enable High Power Mode by going to System Preferences, selecting “Battery” and ” Battery”. ; then select “High Power”; from the menu in the “On Battery” section; and “On the power adapter.”

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