So you noticed an option called “Optimise video streaming while on battery” in your Mac’s battery-saving features and you’re wondering what it means.
By default, the option is unchecked. Should you enable or disable it? Let’s take a look.
What is Optimise Video Streaming While on Battery?
When enabled, optimise video streaming while on battery will disable HDR (High Dynamic Range) and use SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) which uses less energy.
HDR content will only be played on Macs that have HDR-compatible built-in screens or external displays.
Enabling optimise video streaming while on the battery can slightly extend the battery life of your Mac.
For Mac models that don’t have built-in screens that support HDR the “Optimise video streaming feature” only applies when connected to an external display.
In simple terms, enabling this feature will disable HDR on video streams such as YouTube, Netflix, and whatnot.
Should You Enable Optimise Video Streaming While on Battery?
If you have a Mac that has a built-in HDR-compatible display, I would disable “Optimise video streaming while on battery”.
Optimising video streaming doesn’t have much of an impact on your battery life, and HDR content looks much better than SDR.
Besides, you might forget the option is enabled. It’s better to disable it so you can watch HDR video streams while on battery.
HDR Not Working on Mac
HDR on Mac can be a bit fickle, here are some ways to fix it.
Confirm Your Mac’s Built-in Display Supports HDR
Most Macs released since 2018 have built-in displays that support HDR10 and HLG.
Not sure if your Mac model supports HDR? Take a look at Apple’s official list of HDR-compatible Macs.
If your Mac does not support HDR, HDR video streams will play in SDR regardless.
Double-check Your External Display Supports HDR
Confirm your external display supports HDR, specifically HDR10.
If your display supports HDR, it should have an HDR logo. Otherwise, look up your monitor or TV model for more information.
Enable HDR in Display Preferences
In System Preferences, select Displays, and choose your external display from the list. Check if the High Dynamic Range box is enabled.
Disable Optimise Video Streaming While on Battery
If your Mac is on battery, the optimise video streaming while on battery feature may be disabling HDR. Make sure the box is unchecked.
Connect Your Mac to Power
When plugged in, power-saving features will be disabled, and your Mac will automatically play HDR content.
Occasionally power-saving features like the optimised video streaming function can run into issues and not go into effect.
Enable HDR Media via Developer Mode in Safari
In the past, some streaming platforms disabled HDR media for Mac users. For example, YouTube disabled HDR for Mac users a while back.
A workaround to change the user agent of Safari to Chrome/Windows and HDR should work on your Mac.
- Open Safari
- Select Preferences
- Show Developer Menu
- Open Developer Menu
- Select User Agent
- Choose Google Chrome – Windows
- Refresh the page and your video stream should be in HDR
The Bottom Line
In short, “optimise video stream while on battery” will remove HDR on video streams and play them in SDR instead. Generally speaking, I don’t think it’s worth enabling as the energy savings are negligible.