Has Apple shrugged off its reputation for poor battery life?

Top-down view for iPhone showing battery page

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Apple has often had fine lines to balance power with “optimal” specs for years now, and nowhere has it been more evident than with battery sizes. However, as you can imagine, high-end computing and smaller battery sizes do not correlate with stellar battery life, and the iPhone has earned some notoriety for offering poor battery life.

Related: Charging habits to extend battery life

Previously, if you wanted maximum battery life, the iPhone Max was your only safe bet to get extra battery power in your phone. But something seems to have changed with the iPhone 13 series. Sure, the phone continued to set new performance records, but the big focus was on efficiency. At the latest launch event for the iPhone 14 series, Apple once again talked about improving efficiency with its latest and greatest A16 Bionic chipset. So what is the agreement? Is iPhone battery life fluctuating, or has it finally taken it out of the park with all-day longevity?

Are you satisfied with your iPhone battery life?

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To test whether Apple has definitively ignored its reputation for poor battery life, Android salad Three generations of iPhones are brought to the lab to determine if the days of terrible battery life when using iPhones are finally over. Here are the results.

iPhone Battery Efficiency Test: Test Bench

Four iPhones lying face down showing the rear view

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

While the max-size models have generally done well with battery life, it’s usually the regular-sized iPhones that suffer. For our test bench, I purchased the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro to ensure a reasonable sample size for some of the most popular iPhone models. Meanwhile, my colleague Robert Treggs provided data from the iPhone 14 to complete the data set.

battery capacity

iPhone 12

2,815 mAh

iPhone 13

3240 mAh

iPhone 13 Pro

3095 mAh

iPhone 14

3279 mAh

iPhone 14 Pro

3,200 mA

Everyone’s smartphone usage pattern is different, and I am of the firm conviction that an arbitrary number of screen time is not necessarily indicative of the type of battery life You are It will come out of your phone. On top of that, there is a huge variance in battery capacity across iPhones, so the total screen uptime or standby time wouldn’t make much sense without additional context. Instead, we need a aptitude test.

Test efficiency can provide us much more data than arbitrary screen on time.

For our tests, we settled on a series of scenarios measuring how much battery is low with 40 minutes of intense gaming simulated via the 3DMark WildLife stress test, and two hours of video streaming on Netflix, an hour of video calls, and an hour of streaming music from Apple Music — respectively. All tests were conducted with monitors calibrated to 350 lumens to ensure equal opportunity.

The test setup may not replicate your exact usage, but heavier than average usage should give us an idea of ​​the evolving case scenarios. Additionally, most users should expect slightly better overall battery life from their phones than tests suggest.

iPhone Battery Test: Results

Looking at the results, it’s easy to see a general trend of improvements in battery efficiency. A quick look at the overall battery consumption at the end of our tests indicates a significant reduction in power consumption with the iPhone 13 series. Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 series continues largely in the same trend. The iPhone 14 Pro, in particular, doesn’t quite match the benchmark set by last year’s Pro model but it’s not too far behind either. However, adding a larger battery helps it achieve roughly the same life span. However, the results are not final and completely dry.

Our iPhone 13 and 14 survived the stress test while saving a lot of battery.

Let’s start with some context. The A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12 was Apple’s first processor to be built on TSMC’s 5nm manufacturing line, but despite the efficiency gains that come with smaller transistors, a discrete modem and a significant rise in CPU performance on the A13 chipset means battery life has suffered. . In our tests, the phone dropped about 30% during a 40-minute simulation gaming session and an additional 22% during a 40-minute Google Meet phone call.

Related: A14 Bionic test – Is silicon iPhone still more powerful than Android SoCs?

While those numbers seem relatively inefficient, the iPhone 12 was, by and large, an all-day phone that could rival and sometimes beat the best Snapdragon 888-based smartphones in terms of battery life.

The iPhone 13 series is where we start to notice a sharp improvement in battery life. Apple’s switch to TSMC’s second-generation N5P process for the A15 Bionic helped deliver better performance per watt on the processor’s efficiency cores. This is especially noticeable in our video call test, where the iPhone 13 consumes just 18% battery life, compared to 22% on the iPhone 12. That’s a 20% difference and speaks volumes about a more efficient GPU and CPU configuration. The gains continue in gaming, with the iPhone 13 dropping just 24% for a charge over 40 minutes of intense gaming, compared to 30% on the iPhone 12.

Equipped with iPhone 13, the A15 Bionic series has improved battery efficiency by up to 20%.

The A15 Bionic also has an updated video decoding block which should in theory lead to more efficient video decoding, but we didn’t see much improvement there, and the iPhone 13 used up to 10% of a charge within an hour of streaming Netflix. Overall, the A15 processor has made substantial improvements to enable full-day use, and for several days, for many users.

Turn off the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

Moving on to the iPhone 13 Pro, most of the battery trends are going the same, but there are some notable differences. The phone has proven to be more efficient in streaming video, which can be linked to the battery gains made via the LTPO display that supports variable refresh rate. Battery consumption while streaming video has dropped to 6% compared to 10% on the iPhone 13, likely due to the lower refresh rate.

Read more: Now is the time to buy iPhone 13

Interestingly enough, the iPhone 13 Pro displayed exactly the same battery consumption as the iPhone 13 in our game simulation test. We expected a bump in battery usage due to the iPhone 13 Pro’s extra GPU core.

The iPhone 13 Pro improves battery life even more, despite having a smaller battery, thanks to the variable refresh rate display.

Combined with the enlarged batteries, the iPhone 13 series can significantly outperform the iPhone 12 lineup in terms of battery life. Interestingly, the iPhone 13 Pro has a smaller battery than the regular model, but can offer a similar lifespan to the iPhone 13, thanks to its variable refresh rate display that significantly reduced power consumption in many scenarios.

Moving on to the 2022 series, the iPhone 14, in particular, shows a slight improvement in longevity. The phone packs the same A15 Bionic chipset with an extra GPU core as last year’s iPhone 13 Pro but drops the variable refresh rate display. As a result, battery consumption sees a slight increase in tasks such as video streaming, where the screen remains locked up to 60Hz.

On the other hand, iPhone 14 shows significantly improved efficiency with gaming. Cumulatively, the results are similar to those of the iPhone 13 Pro despite the lack of a variable refresh rate panel.

The iPhone 14 Pro is out of our efficiency tests, but the bigger battery helps.

This brings us to the outside, namely the iPhone 14 Pro. This year, only the Pro version is the new A16 Bionic processor based on TSMC’s N4 manufacturing process. Apple claims that the efficiency cores in the A16 Bionic use a third of the power of competing products, but our tests show that higher clock speeds wipe out many of the gains from battery efficiency.

In most of our tests, the iPhone 14 Pro tracks roughly in line with the iPhone 13 Pro except in the video call test. We recorded a 21% decrease in battery life here, which is a noticeable increase over the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14. This may be due to the new display featuring a panel area on top of the Dynamic Island. While this may eat up longer battery life, it doesn’t fully explain the 4% increase. However, the iPhone 14 Pro has been known to have a battery-related glitch, and we’ll be back for another round of testing once the update rolls out.

Better efficiency through hardware optimization

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max camera

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

Looking at broader trends in Apple’s chip engineering, it’s clear that performance, and more specifically, performance per watt, is improving, but the absolute gains are slowing. Apple certainly took a leap forward with the iPhone 13 series, both in terms of performance and efficiency, and continued the trend with the iPhone 14. However, many of these energy efficiency gains are also a byproduct of items like more economical displays whether it’s It is through absolute power consumption or the ability to lower the refresh rate. We’ve seen similar benefits for Android smartphones that use LTPO displays as well.

With a screen playback time of 9-10 hours, battery life is no longer a reason to put off buying an iPhone.

Unlike in previous years, Apple is finally increasing battery sizes, which helps mitigate some of the effects of battery-humping components. However, what is undeniable is that the iPhone has thrown its picture of battery inefficiency. Even the most efficient smartphone in our test, the iPhone 12, finished the benchmark session with about 35% of the remaining charge — despite the grueling benchmarking session.

With the most popular use case, 9-10 hours of screen time isn’t out of the picture for the latest iPhone 14 series. That’s a particularly staggering number, considering Apple’s performance leadership and a battery that’s a third smaller than most equivalent Android phones. If battery concerns previously put you off, don’t worry, longevity is no longer a reason to avoid Apple’s iPhone.

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