iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S: Battery Life

iPhone 5 Battery Life

According to iPhone 5 tech specs, the 6th generation iPhone offers improved battery life compared to iPhone 4S – Apple’s 5th generation, but when it comes to real world testing it may not be completely accurate.

Folks at iLounge have just published an extensive battery comparison of Apple’s new iPhone and iPhone 4S, which reveals that iPhone 5 battery life is worse than iPhone 4S in most departments.

Here’s a look at the battery life of iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S:

LTE or 3G Internet Data:

  • Apple claims:
    • iPhone 5: Up to 8 hours
    • iPhone 4S: Up to 6 hours
  • Actual:
    • AT&T iPhone 4S: 5 hours and 54 minutes
    • Verizon iPhone 4S: 5 hours and 53 minutes
    • AT&T iPhone 5: 4 hours and 44 minutes
    • Verizon iPhone 5: 5 hours and 15 minutes
Wi-Fi Data:
  • Apple claims:
    • iPhone 5: Up to 10 hours
    • iPhone 4S: Up to 9 hours
  • Actual:
    • iPhone 5: 6 hours and 24 minutes (with Cellular antenna turned on), 8 hours and 26 minutes (with Cellular antenna turned off)
    • iPhone 4S: 8 hours and 30 minutes
Voice Calling:
  • Apple claims:
    • iPhone 5: Up to 8 hours
    • iPhone 4S: Up to 8 hours
  • Actual:
    • AT&T iPhone 4S: 7 hours and 16 minutes
    • Verizon iPhone 4S: 8 hours and 27 minutes
    • AT&T iPhone 5: 6 hours and 15 minutes
    • Verizon iPhone 5: 6 hours and 6 minutes
Video Playback:
  • Apple claims:
    • iPhone 4S: Up to 10 hours
    • iPhone 5: Up to 10 hours
  • Actual:
    • iPhone 4S: 10 hours and 32 minutes
    • iPhone 5: 11 hours and 7 minutes
Audio Playback:
  • Apple claims:
    • iPhone 4S: Up to 40 hours
    • iPhone 5: Up to 40 hours
  • Actual:
    • iPhone 4S: 41 hours and 20 minutes
    • iPhone 5: 37 hours and 3 minutes
FaceTime Calling:
  • Actual:
    • iPhone 4S: 3 hours and 15 minutes
    • iPhone 5: 3 hours and 2 minute
1080p Video Recording:
  • Actual:
    • iPhone 4S: 2 hours and 20 minutes
    • iPhone 5: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Actual  (recharging a completely dead iPhone 5 from a 1-Amp power source):
    • iPhone 5: 2 hours and 17 minutes
iLounge notes that there was a major impact on battery life when the LTE or 3G signal was weak:
if you’re using your iPhone 5 in places a with a very strong (4- to 5-bar) LTE or 3G signal, your cellular battery life may approach that number, but if not, the cellular antenna will struggle to maintain a signal, and fall well short. Because LTE and 3G/4G towers are in a state of build-out flux right now, our tests suggest that many LTE users won’t come close to Apple’s promised numbers.
iLounge concludes:
As much as we’d love to be able to say that the iPhone 5 is an “all day” phone, it’s still not: just like most of its predecessors, Apple prioritized new thinness and speed over battery life. Consequently, it’s advisable to keep a charging cable nearby, lest you find yourself out of juice at or before 5pm. This isn’t terribly different from the iPhone 4S, and your mileage will vary depending on local cell tower strength, but it was certainly disappointing for us—battery life is certainly one of the two biggest issues with the iPhone 5.

Because of the iPhone 5’s tendency to run low on juice just when the night’s getting started, heavy users and frequent travelers will once again find themselves in need of spare battery packs and chargers.

It goes without saying that your iPhone 5’s battery life will depend on your usage pattern so you observe better or worse battery life. Check out our tips to manage your iPhone’s battery life.

Surprised by these test results? Let us know your experience in the comments.

[via iLounge]

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  • Souljah

    I really find it wrong that with a company that usually pays attention to many details, still after all these years, didn’t address this issue. At this day in age we should be very far in battery life technology. Apple should atleast associate themselves with solar powered battery case company owners and provide discounts for those hardwares, i’m sure many people would appreciate that kind of move.

    • http://www.facebook.com/QueSwanson Que Swanson

      You can’t have it both ways. You complain about the phone being small but lacks 4G. Well, you have to make the phone bigger to support 4G and extra battery life.

      I have a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx. I’m always in 4G mode. I get round 10 to 12 hours of battery life with consistent usage. Im happy with the size because better battery life is more important than it being “the thinnest yet”. Nice marketing pitch though.

  • Insider1

    I do agree, battery really atrocious in iphone barely 5 hours

    • Insider1

      I do agree, battery really atrocious in iphone 5 barely 5 hours

  • CutItOut

    I get decent battery time with the 5; however, I’d agree with the findings that this version is seriously lacking battery power. It is disappointing, but the features tend to make up for it. I’m not usually that far from a charger.

  • Vince

    Have to agree! Battery life is iPhone 5 biggest issue IMO. Can’t even make it to 5PM with a full charge without making any call or playing games. Only my job emails in push! Will call Apple to see if I can get a replacement because this seem like an issue to me…

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.nguyen.125 Steve Nguyen

    First day I had IPhone 5, the battery life was horrible. Every few minutes it does down a percentage with little use. Even during stand by overnight it went from 70% to 30%.

    Next day, I went in and “reset all settings” and turned down brightness a tad. Also drained battery down till it was conpletely dead and did a full recharge. Now it’s 300x better.

    I’ve used my phone periodically all day and its still at 78% (12 hours since last charge).

    These claims are false/inaccurate if phone is not properly prepped before testing.

    • Elducker

      I completely agree Steve.
      I upgraded from a 2 yr old iP4 and the battery on my 5 lasts forever in comparison. The past 2 days I returned home with over 70% remaining. 100% charge at 6:30am, 74% at 4:30pm. And I use the phone quite a bit during the day, checking email and my twitter feed etc…
      I am impressed with the new battery. Also I find that I can live with the brightness turned down to about 60%, whereas with the 4, I needed it to be at 80% to be comfortable. This must help conserve power I would think.

  • m Arch Tom’s on Bar N Ass

    i’m so bored, HELLO ! i am so bored. marc

    • Sargas

      world sucks, uh

  • http://twitter.com/jtkrpm Jason Kam

    My results are completely opposite! My iPhone 5 has been getting at least 60% better battery life than the iPhone 4 I used previously! At 5 hrs of use the 5 had 50% battery left, the 4 would be at or below 20% by then. Was the screen brightness turned all the way up in these tests? Tuning the brightness to what my eyes tell me is not to dark and not to bright ends up being a little over 1/4 brightness on the 5, while in doors. I also noticed the brightness bar physically moves now when auto adjust is adjusting brightness.
    People that are having poor battery life may want to contact apple, the devices may have a defective battery or something.

    • Mosschopz

      I aggree brightness at 70% and 39% charge after 5 hrs use and 20 h standby. Push is off for mail.

    • Pat

      How long have you been using your iPhone 4? You can’t simply compare an old battery with a new battery…

      • http://twitter.com/jtkrpm Jason Kam

        About 14 months. Battery performance was about the same as I remember it being when new.

    • iPaulius

      you have to keep in mind that the battery of your iphone 4 was almost done after being used for almost 2 years. I just had to replace my iphone 4 battery with new one.
      Just can’t wait for iphone 5!

      • http://twitter.com/jtkrpm Jason Kam

        The iPhone 4 I had did not degrade in battery performance for the 14 months I had it.

    • http://twitter.com/jtkrpm Jason Kam

      This is in a LTE area also.

  • Mydiknyaface

    My iPhone 5 verizon battery is awesome!!! I leave it charging all night and use it from 10AMand around 11 is we’re I still got 14 percent. I use it during the hole day. Just keep your iPhone cold not hot.

  • Cariarer

    You are aware, that the battery will take several full recharge cycles to reach it’s maximum capacity, right? I don’t expect this has already happend in your test.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andi54 Andrew Hope

    Like with the iPhone 4? Crap antennas mean poor battery life, and small batterys mean poor battery life, there is no avoiding this…

  • Apel P

    idk, iv been playing games on the 5 for 2 days stright without charge, like 4-5 hours a day. i love the battery.

  • Tanoz

    I see definite software issues with the battery life. Mine will last 4 hours tops with moderate usage and LTE turned off and screen brightness at a minimum. Taking it to the Genius Bar tomorrow to get fixed

  • Moahsin

    Initially my battery life on the iPhone 5 seemed to be rubbish however by changing the settings such as notifications and locations as well as LTE to only when needed has really improved my battery life! So just leave on what you need & do not have many things running in the background, this will help your battery life..
    After tweaking the iOS 6, I can report that the battery life in this iPhone is much better than the new iPad. I was happy with the iPhone 4S battery life but this is wayyyyyy better! :-)

    Well done apple for launching a truly brilliant iPhone!!

    • http://twitter.com/andrewleehorton Andrew Lee Horton

      why should you have to change your iPhone usage habits to suit Apple’s problem… A slightly thicker phone would have been a better solution… lol

  • http://www.mindinventory.com/iphone_apps_dev.php iphone apps development

    Just 50 percent an inches top to bottom and just over an inches strong. The iPhone 5 is slimmer than the 4S, less heavy, and has a longer 16:9 wide screen show, something mobile phones have been applying for a few years now but The apple company has only these days captured up with.

  • http://twitter.com/matt3470 Matthew

    My original iPhone 5 was getting barely 2 hours of use and 3 hours of standby before being completely drained (and I live in DC where the AT&T LTE network has been up for years and has good coverage). I took it back and demanded a replacement which is doing MUCH better (about 4-5 hours use 4-5 hours standby before drained) but still nowhere near what my iPhone 4S (also on AT&T) was getting. I really wish Apple had put a larger battery in… most Android phones now have 2100mAh batteries and iPhone is still <1500 mAh, which is a joke. But, as soon as Mophie comes out with a Juice Pack case for iPhone 5 I'll buy that and be right as rain (I always used my Juice Pack for my 4S).

  • jedics

    funny, I dont remember ANYONE complaining the 4s was to big, yet instead of putting in a bigger battery they made it thinner and lighter.

    Considering you cant swap it out this is a COMPLETE deal breaker for me.

    Form FOLLOWS function. Clearly apple no longer cares about the very first rule of good design.

    Sadly it follows that after being a 15 year apple fan I no longer care that my tech needs are fore filled by apple because fundamental function now takes 2nd place to ‘how thin can we make it this time’.

    Sad face.

  • http://www.halosystechnologies.com/iphone-application-development Alina Clark

    I probably have to charge the iPhone 5 two times a week. With iPhone 4
    it was about once in a week and my usage has not increased, the opposite
    in fact.

  • Fappy_Meal

    i quite enjoy the battery life on my 4s way better than when i had a galaxy s2 and s3 since i got rid of the two galaxy phones i no longer carry a charger around with me like i used to. Both my galaxy s devices where rooted and running cyanogenmod as well as the cpu being under clocked and still no where near the longevity as my iphone.