After the debut of the iPhone in 2007, the developers at Apple worked hard to make their products stand out from the competition by introducing sleeker designs, clearer screens and more powerful capabilities. Clearly, it was a successful mission; since that initial release, the company has debuted 21 iPhone models with popular, impressive features like Siri and fingerprint sensors. But each new addition has come at a cost — the need for increasingly stronger batteries, so that the amount of time iPhones can go without charging isn’t mere minutes thanks to all those exciting but battery-depleting new features.
Battery drain, unfortunately, is a common problem for iPhone users, and if your phone is always running low despite your best charging efforts, you might need to take it to an Apple Store for repairs or a replacement. Before doing that, though, compare your device’s battery levels with the average charge lifespan for different iPhones under regular usage, to see if your phone is truly draining way faster than normal. Of course, if you’ve been using one of the older models for a number of years now and are seeing decreased battery life, that might just be normal wear and tear, so keep that in mind when comparing your battery life to the averages below.
iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s
Average battery life: Around 5 to 11 hours for both phones.
Released in 2012, the iPhone 5 featured a 1440 mAh battery, and Apple claimed a single charge on this device could last up to 225 hours if the phone wasn’t in heavy use. But Engadget reported the iPhone 5 lasting just a little over 11 hours during its tests, while AnandTech’s tests showed closer to an average of just five hours per charge, with the phone losing 10% to 15% of its charge each hour. Many users experienced similar results or malfunctioning batteries, and to this day, some people still lament the iPhone 5’s short battery life.
The iPhone 5s has a bigger battery at 1560 mAh, but it still showed only slight improvements compared to the 5. Tech Radar did not find a single charge lasting the 10 hours Apple claimed the phone would when in regular use.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s
Average battery life: About 7 to 14 hours for both phones.
In 2014, Apple introduced a 1810 mAh battery for the iPhone 6. Tom’s Guide found that the phone only lasted 7 hours and 25 minutes with continuous use, but at Trusted Reviews, tester Evan Kypreos had better results: his iPhone 6 lasted 14 hours when in heavy usage (at 50% brightness), and up to 35 hours when not being used at all.
The iPhone 6s fared worse, due to its smaller, 1715 mAH battery. Although it seemed to be a downgrade, Engadget stated the smaller battery was to make room for the new 3D Touch hardware on this model. Apple claimed the 6s was more energy efficient and would offer the same battery life as the 6, but Trusted Reviews did not find that to be the case, reporting the 6s having 5% less battery capacity than the 6.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Average battery life: About 10 to 12 hours for both phones.
2016’s iPhone 7 came without a headphone jack, in order to make room for better cameras and a bigger battery, according to The Verge. Indeed, the batteries for both models were impressive: the iPhone 7 had an 1960 mAh battery, while the 7 Plus had a 2900 mAh battery. According to Apple, the greater size was meant to increase the 7’s charge time by two hours from the 6s.
In tests, The Verge found the iPhone 7 lasting about 10 hours, and the 7 Plus lasting 12 hours, when in medium usage. Tech Radar’s testing found the iPhone 7 barely making it through a day, and overall lasting just seven minutes more than the 6s. The site’s review of the iPhone 7 Plus was more positive, though, with the phone apparently lasting a full day of heavy usage.
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
Average battery life: About 13 hours for both phones.
In 2017, Apple released the iPhone 8 with a 1821 mAh battery, noticeably smaller than the iPhone 7’s and bad news for anyone who wasn’t impressed by that phone’s battery life. Tech Radar noted that the iPhone 8’s battery life only lasted about 13 hours of regular use, and Trusted Reviews received a similar result during its tests, only getting an iPhone 8 to live through the day by constantly changing settings and adjusting the screen brightness.
The iPhone 8 Plus also had a smaller battery than the 7 Plus, with a capacity of 2675 mAh. Trusted Reviews did not see the battery life on this model change much from either the 7 Plus or the 8, but noted the 8 Plus did not require constant adjustments to last the day.
iPhone X, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR
Average battery life: About 10 to 17 hours for all phones.
The iPhone X, out in 2017, contained a 2716 mAh battery that Apple claimed would allow the phone to last two hours longer than the 7. Trusted Reviews found this to be true, praising the fact that the phone won’t hit “red” before the workday ends after regular use. Tech Radar managed to run the phone down after 12 hours of heavy use, concluding that while the iPhone X’s battery life “isn’t mind-blowing, it’s certainly better than some iPhones of old — it’s more than acceptable.” Tom’s Guide found significantly less impressive results from their rigorous testing, with the X’s battery lasting just short of 10 hours.
The XS Max (released in 2018) fared no better with its larger, 3174 mAh battery lasting only 10 hours and 38 minutes. However, Trusted Reviews kept the XS Max lasting throughout the day after normal, heavy usage, and Tech Radar had a similar conclusion, stating that the phone lasted on a single, full charge from 7 a.m. to midnight with moderate to heavy use.
2018’s iPhone XR impressed Tech Radar, who declared this model to have “the best battery life of any phone from [Apple].” Coming into the X series with a 2942 mAh battery, smaller than the XS, the phone’s energy efficiency kept it from burning too much battery life all at once. Tech Radar managed to keep an iPhone XR going from 5:30 a.m/ to 11:00 p.m. with still some charge left to spare.
Apple continues to develop and improve its iPhones each year, but as more features requiring extra energy and hardware space get added to each new model, battery life will remain a concern. The company has taken steps in the right direction with models such as the XR, and it’ll hopefully only improve from there.
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