MacBook M1 Pro and Max models side by side
Apple

Apple’s ARM-based silicon chips are powerful and efficient, but what if you need additional grunt and don’t mind sacrificing battery life or power consumption? Apple has a solution for that called High Power Mode.

Which Chips Support High Power Mode?

As of this writing in October 2021, only the M1 Max chip on the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro supports High Power Mode. Even if you configure a 14-inch model with the more powerful M1 Max chip, you won’t be able to take advantage of High Power Mode at present.

Apple’s justification for this is likely down to heat production. Since High Power Mode allows the M1 Max to run under a higher load for longer, reviewers have noted that the chassis is noticeably hotter than when the mode is not engaged.

The Apple M1 Max Chip Specs
Apple

The larger 16-inch body should allow for greater airflow and provide more bare metal to act as a heatsink, which better dissipates heat.

With High Power Mode

2021 MacBook Pro (16-inch) with M1 Max

Only the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max includes High Power Mode. The 16-inch model with M1 Pro doesn't have it, and neither does the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max.

High Power Mode Is Reserved for Demanding Processes

It’s not necessarily possible to “force” High Power Mode in macOS, but there is a toggle under System Preferences that will give your Mac free rein to go hard when required.

Advertisement

While plugged into the wall you’ll find the option under Battery > Power Adapter > Energy Mode, or if you’re on battery power you’ll find it under Battery > Battery > Energy Mode. Move the toggle to “High Power” to let High Power Mode do its thing.

MacBook Pro M1 Max High Power Mode

macOS will call on the additional power under intense workloads. Apple states in an internal document that High Power Mode provides “extreme performance” with color grading 8K ProRes video cited as one possible use case.

The reality is unless you’re doing some serious video processing or 3D rendering, you’ll probably not encounter any situations where High Power Mode is required. Unless you can think of a workflow you use that may trigger an explosion of fan noise, you probably shouldn’t base your purchasing decision around High Power Mode.

In one example demonstrated by YouTube commentator Dave Tong, a 19-minute Adobe Premiere Pro export that took 7 minutes and 18 seconds saw just a 16-second reduction under High Power Mode.

RELATED: What's the Difference Between Apple's M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max?

The Fastest MacBook Pro Ever

Apple’s 2021 MacBook Pro refresh is an exciting step forward for the company’s ARM-based Apple Silicon lineup. They’re the best MacBooks you can buy if you have the cash. Learn more about what makes the new MacBook Pro so special and the difference between the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

The Best MacBooks for 2021

Best MacBook Overall
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro, 2021)
Best Budget Option
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
Best for Students
2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
Budget 4K Monitor
Dell S2721Q 27 Inch 4K UHD, IPS Ultra-Thin Bezel Monitor, AMD FreeSync, HDMI, DisplayPort, VESA Certified, Silver
Best MacBook for Gaming
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1 Pro, 2021)
Profile Photo for Tim Brookes Tim Brookes
Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He's invested in the Apple ecosystem, with experience covering Macs, iPhones, and iPads for publications like Zapier and MakeUseOf.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.