Test Shows 5G Reduces iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Battery Life by Over 2 Hours

When Apple announced the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro series earlier this year, it really hyped up 5G support on the devices. What was impressive is that despite the addition of 5G, Apple claimed its newest iPhones offered about the same battery life as last year’s models. However, as a battery test on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro shows, 5G ends up having a noticeable impact on their battery life.

Tom’s Guide did a thorough battery life test on the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. The test involved setting the display brightness to 150 nits on the new iPhones and then launching a new website every 30 seconds.

On AT&T’s 5G network, the iPhone 12 lasted for 8 hours and 25 minutes, down significantly from the iPhone 11’s 11 hours 16 minutes. That’s a reduction of almost 3 hours in the total battery life. When in 4G mode, the iPhone 12 lasted a more respectable 10 hours 23 minutes, though still less than what the iPhone 11 managed. The iPhone 12 does have a bigger and more power-hungry 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display so this decline in battery life in 4G mode can still be justified.

As for the iPhone 12 Pro, it lasted for 9 hours 6 minutes when on 5G and 11 hours and 24 minutes when on 4G. Again, there’s a gap of over 2 hours in the battery life of the device when being used on 4G vs 5G. Surprisingly, the iPhone 12 Pro’s battery is still comparable to the iPhone 11 Pro from last year despite the decline. The iPhone 11 Pro survived for 10 hours 24 minutes in Tom’s Guide test. So when being used exclusively on a 4G network, the iPhone 12 Pro can actually outlast the iPhone 11 Pro.

The iPhone 12 Pro was connected to T-Mobile’s 5G network which could explain the difference between its and the iPhone 12 battery life. The iPhone 12 fared worse than other 5G Android phones in the battery life department. The Galaxy S20 lasted for 9 hours 31 minutes in 60Hz mode while the S20 Plus lasted for 10 hours 31 minutes.

Our Take

Apple is reportedly using smaller batteries on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro series compared to its iPhone 11 lineup from last year. That and the addition of 5G was going to have an impact on battery life, though an impact this big was not expected. However, one does not use their smartphone for browsing the web for 8-10 hours straight, and in other scenarios, the Smart Data mode on the iPhone 12 lineup should help extend their battery life by quite a bit.

[Via Tom’s Guide]