Tests show iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro batteries last two hours less under 5G

Posted:
in General Discussion
Under continuous 5G usage, both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lose around two hours of battery life compared to 4G -- and that's significantly more than with 5G Android phones.

Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini


New testing of the only available iPhone 12 models -- the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro -- show that 5G usage significantly reduces the length of time their batteries can run without recharging.

According to Tom's Guide, new testing shows that the iPhone 12 lasts 10 hours and 23 minutes under 4G usage, but only 8 hours and 25 minutes with 5G. Similarly, the iPhone 12 Pro tested using solely 4G managed 11 hours and 24 minutes, but with 5G was 9 hours and 6 minutes.

That's a difference of 118 minutes for the iPhone 12, and 139 for the iPhone 12 Pro. Tom's Guide testing was of continuous usage under either 4G or 5G, and real-world use will be significantly less non-stop. Outside of testing, the iPhone 12 range works to save battery power by stepping back from 5G to 4G LTE at times.

Nonetheless, losing around two hours battery life by using 5G is considerable. It also compares poorly to 5G Android phones.

Tom's Guide did not replicate the same conditions with Android phones, it didn't run their batteries down on 4G and separately on 5G. Instead it more tested the impact of choosing faster screen refresh rates.

However, as a broad example, the testing's figures still show Apple lagging behind. The Google Pixel 5 (at 60Hz) lasted 9 hours and 56 minutes on 5G. That's 91 minutes more than the iPhone 12, and 50 minutes more than the iPhone 12 Pro.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 934member
    That’s likely why the 5G controls are so granular. 

    Learn about 5G options

    The default settings for 5G on iPhone are optimized for battery life and data usage based on your data plan. You can customize these options for when to use 5G and how much data to use in some apps.

    Find these options by going to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options. If you're using Dual SIM, go to Settings > Cellular and choose the number whose options you want to change....”


    edited October 2020 GeorgeBMacNotoriousDEVcornchipStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 34
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Tom's Guide did not replicate the same conditions with Android phones, it didn't run their batteries down on 4G and separately on 5G. Instead it more tested the impact of choosing faster screen refresh rates.
    So if I’m reading this right, Tom’s Guide did it half-assed. (Using technical terms here.) It appears it wasn’t done under real world usage/conditions, the things Apple based their design around.

    While it appears the sky is falling, no one is going continuous 5G in 2020, 2021, or maybe even 2022. I’d be interested in seeing Tom’s Guide do a complete real world test.
    edited October 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 34
    There are also different types of 5G and we also have seen tests that shows iPhone 12 5G speeds are significantly faster than any Android phone.  So in summary this is a big todo about nothing. 5G in 2021 will be spotty at best and recall how long it took for 3G and 4G to become the dominant service - years.  
    GeorgeBMaccornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,752member
    Tom's Guide is so Apple-centric so of course, it was a sensible and fair test, I am sure Apple didn't design these phones to auto-switch back and forth when required to conserve battery life.  Apple wants its premier phones to go flat as fast as possible./s
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,019member
    Not surprising.  It's not even a real comparison to Android, either.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 34
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.

    I still think rushing to include 5G was pointless, and driven by android manufacturers who always need to include as many features as possible if they wanna ship more than four units.

    Sure, future-proofing is all well and good, but 5G won’t be of any real interest for another year or two, and 4G is still more than enough for normal people.
    cornchipMplsProtateleftbytetokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 34
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.

    I still think rushing to include 5G was pointless, and driven by android manufacturers who always need to include as many features as possible if they wanna ship more than four units.

    Sure, future-proofing is all well and good, but 5G won’t be of any real interest for another year or two, and 4G is still more than enough for normal people.

    Then switch it off if you don't want it.  It takes less energy than complaining about it.
    It's doubtful Apple could have sold a phone in China without it.   And few in other, less developed countries would have wanted to invest in a phone knowing it's communications would soon be obsolete.   It wasn't an option.
    entropys
  • Reply 8 of 34
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,426member
    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.
    That makes zero sense. 
    MplsP
  • Reply 9 of 34
    It’s weird that they would compare based on hours rather than percentage of decrease, as battery sizes differ.
    cornchiptokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,127member
    A pointless comparison since the testing scenario is one that would never occur in real life.  
    rikipediawatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 34
    flydog said:
    A pointless comparison since the testing scenario is one that would never occur in real life.  
    Let's face it, the entire iPhone12 line is pointless.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,004member
    rikipedia said:
    flydog said:
    A pointless comparison since the testing scenario is one that would never occur in real life.  
    Let's face it, the entire iPhone12 line is pointless.
    They did get rid of the rounded edges so maybe a bit more "pointed" than last year's. 
    wby5watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 34
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,194member
    If you lock it on 5G isn’t that what you expect? The phone is doing more “work”. Even if you aren’t actively downloading as it is scrabbling for the signal.
    Anyway, I am buying the 12 mini for its size, not 5G. I get around 195 Mbps around here (south Brisbane) on LTE anyway.
    edited October 2020 GeorgeBMacMplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 34
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 934member
    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.
    That makes zero sense. 
    Well it makes sense to me. For ex. when I hike and am long out of range of any cell tower I put my iPhone in airplane mode for exactly the same reason: stop wasting battery power on an energy consuming function I’m not interested (or capable) of accessing. 
    MplsPbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 34
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,917member
    rikipedia said:
    flydog said:
    A pointless comparison since the testing scenario is one that would never occur in real life.  
    Let's face it, the entire iPhone12 line is pointless.
    Troll says what?

    20% speed across the line, 5G for those who care, MagSafe for x2 charging, faster aperture for better low-light, ProRAW mode, Dolby Vision video for 60x more color, Night Mode on all lenses, Pro has LiDAR, Pro Max has larger sensor and purported 87% increase in low-light, new OIS, 4x tougher screen, etc etc... in short, get real.

    THE IPHONE 12 IS FANTASTIC

    "you can easily see the improvement year over year with the 1× main lens going from ƒ/1.8 to ƒ/1.6 on both phones"

    https://daringfireball.net/2020/10/the_iphone_12_and_iphone_12_pro
    edited October 2020 razorpitGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 16 of 34
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,917member

    JFC_PA said:
    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.
    That makes zero sense. 
    Well it makes sense to me. For ex. when I hike and am long out of range of any cell tower I put my iPhone in airplane mode for exactly the same reason: stop wasting battery power on an energy consuming function I’m not interested (or capable) of accessing. 
    Does 5G work that way? I'm under the impression that if you aren't in a 5G network, you won't lose battery life, because the battery cost is from using it, not not-using it. 

    Here's what Gruber explained:

    As for testing 5G’s potentially deleterious effect on battery life: that’s beyond the scope of this review, alas. But I will point out that iOS 14.1 has three separate options in Settings → Cellular → Cellular Data Options → Voice & Data:

    • 5G On
    • 5G Auto
    • LTE

    Apple’s description: “5G On uses 5G whenever it is available, even when it may reduce battery life. 5G Auto uses 5G only when it will not significantly reduce battery life.” 5G Auto is the default, and that’s where I left it all week. Overall daily battery life seemed about what I’d expect while using these devices pretty extensively.

    edited October 2020 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 34
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.
    That makes zero sense. 
    Does it?  Why power a radio that you aren't using?

    I often turn off bluetooth and wi-fi when I'm not using them too; no sense in power going to waste.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    This is interesting and was one of my concerns about including 5G - there's a both a financial and a performance cost with no benefit. Because of the test, it's hard to say how accurate it is, but another consideration is the fact that Android phones are able to take advantage of the 5G modem being built into the processor where Apple is required to use a discrete chip -this has financial, power and space costs. We'll see how this shapes up once more real world data is available. 

    Long term this is another reason Apple will want to make its own 5G modem. They can integrate and optimize it far better than a discrete 3rd party chip.
    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.
    That makes zero sense. 
    What makes zero sense - turning off a feature that isn't useful or needed and takes extra battery life? Or how everyone is pushing for 5G when there's no real use for it? Or maybe just your comment?

    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.

    I still think rushing to include 5G was pointless, and driven by android manufacturers who always need to include as many features as possible if they wanna ship more than four units.

    Sure, future-proofing is all well and good, but 5G won’t be of any real interest for another year or two, and 4G is still more than enough for normal people.
    You are, of course, completely right. A couple months ago PC Mag did a comparison of 5G coverage and speeds. The bottom line is speeds were marginally better and sometimes actually slower than LTE speeds, coverage was widely variable and latency was not different enough to matter. Of note, LTE speeds in Canada were actually better than 5G speeds in the U.S. And not one person on this site has been able to give a real life example of a use that requires 5G in a smartphone. 

    Someday 5G may be important, but certainly not today and probably not for at least 1-2 years. I know I'll get jumped on for this statement, but we were having the exact same discussion a year ago and the zealots were all touting how fast 5G was being rolled out. Well, here we are a year later and virtually nothing has changed. For now, if you need a new phone, go ahead and get an iPhone 12, but don't rush out and get one just for 5G. 
    edited October 2020 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 34
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member

    JFC_PA said:
    mushmash said:
    I’ll be switching off 5G completely as there’s not really any coverage to speak of around here anyways.
    That makes zero sense. 
    Well it makes sense to me. For ex. when I hike and am long out of range of any cell tower I put my iPhone in airplane mode for exactly the same reason: stop wasting battery power on an energy consuming function I’m not interested (or capable) of accessing. 
    Does 5G work that way? I'm under the impression that if you aren't in a 5G network, you won't lose battery life, because the battery cost is from using it, not not-using it. 

    Here's what Gruber explained:

    As for testing 5G’s potentially deleterious effect on battery life: that’s beyond the scope of this review, alas. But I will point out that iOS 14.1 has three separate options in Settings → Cellular → Cellular Data Options → Voice & Data:

    • 5G On
    • 5G Auto
    • LTE

    Apple’s description: “5G On uses 5G whenever it is available, even when it may reduce battery life. 5G Auto uses 5G only when it will not significantly reduce battery life.” 5G Auto is the default, and that’s where I left it all week. Overall daily battery life seemed about what I’d expect while using these devices pretty extensively.

    I would expect the default ‘5G auto’ setting to give good results, but it will still have the 5G modem powered on and searching. Just like turning off Bluetooth completely can improve battery life, I wouldn’t be surprised if turning off 5G completely can help as well. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 34
    rikipedia said:
    flydog said:
    A pointless comparison since the testing scenario is one that would never occur in real life.  
    Let's face it, the entire iPhone12 line is pointless.
    Thanks for letting me know! I'll tell my UPS driver on Friday, "No thanks! Some troll on an Internet forum said this thing is pointless. Please return to sender!"
    razorpitGeorgeBMacbeowulfschmidtlkruppwatto_cobra
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