Apples 5 Hours More Battery Life Claim


Why is nobody challenging this in the tech journalism world.

Does anybody REALLY think that from one phone generation to the next, a year later, Apple suddenly found a way to squeeze out 5 extra hours with normal use?

The point is that I haven’t seen anyone with the balls to say “This is BS until you prove it”

Maybe … just maybe … music playback ….. and that’s a big maybe … but this 5 hour claim was just thrown out, with no context and peopl are lapping it up … Without strenuous pessimistic.

Comments (43)

43 responses to “Apples 5 Hours More Battery Life Claim”

  1. Bill Strong

    But saying 5 hours brings more clicks. And reviewers can't really call BS until they get the units reviewed. Which means another story about the phone, thus more clicks and more advertiser dollars.

  2. jimchamplin

    This generation of phones were according to numerous leaks and rumors, allegedly engineered with the intention of being able to charge other devices via Qi induction. Lay your Airpods on the back of an iPhone 11 and they charge, for example. There would no doubt be numerous other engineering decisions made to support that capability not the least of which would be a larger, more efficient battery. Now, this was removed late in the development cycle but could be implemented later in an iOS update. As this was a software change, no hardware change was needed - and likely not even possible as the hardware had been finalized well before.

    Combine that with their expertise in squeezing better performance per watt out of their custom SOCs and it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that the byproduct of not implementing the reverse-charging would be substantially extended runtimes.

    They control every element of the device. Hardware, firmware, software. That lets them implement new features and technologies on their terms, and allows them to integrate it in ways not possible without that full control.

    Sure. I'll believe it. Like evox81 said, it's doubtful that we'll see a full five hours since we don't just power it on and stream a video over and over until the phone plays out :D

  3. Lordbaal

    Well, according to onleaks

    iPhone11 = 4GB RAM + 3110mAh battery (Xr = 3GB + 2942mAh)

    iPhone11Pro = 6GB RAM + 3190mAh battery (Xs = 4GB RAM + 2658mAh)

    iPhone11ProMax = 6GB RAM + 3500mAh (Xs Max = 4GB RAM + 3174mAh)

    It's still small, compared to phones the have 4,000mah.

  4. evox81

    Apple is nothing if not deliberate. When it comes to claims like this, they generally only make them when they're demonstrably true in at least one (convoluted/niche/rare/vague) usage scenario. I say this with the understanding that, like all such devices from every manufacturer, said usage scenario likely doesn't align with how most people will use their device. The point is, it's still demonstrably true.

    And ultimately I'm ok with this, just like most other people. And I'm ok with it because I'm going to buy whatever phone I end up buying and the pedantry of whether the battery life claim is true down to the nanosecond, just isn't worth my time or effort.

  5. youwerewarned

    I suspect owners will experience better battery life because they are actually working all 40 hours per week to afford these $1000+ status symbols, spending much less time on their Twitter feed, etc.

    But am I the only one who would happily buy a phone that’s TWICE as thick because of a big-ass battery?

  6. Brett Barbier

    Looks like they focused on power efficiency on the A13 chip:

  7. bill_russell

    If they made the battery bigger (no longer undersized to the single mAh to ridiculously maximize profit - i.e. 1821 mAh for the iPhone 8 and contributing to "batterygate") then it will have proportionally longer life. Battery capacity is battery capacity, runtime mostly affected by how much the display, radios and camera are used.

    Are the radios more efficient? Unlikely. Is the display more efficient? If you are comparing OLED and dark mode with LCD. This varies between iOS and phone versions. The fact that "liquid retina" (i.e. lower-than-normal-res LCD) is marketing speak for "worse than the competition at 1/2 the price" annoys me.

    Leaving CPU/OS efficiency, which, at least for the last few years, will have little relative effect for general usage compared to other factors.

    We will see in the next group of battery rundown tests on youtube. The takeaway has been that the runtime is basically proportional to battery size, regardless of phone/OS (unless a particular OS version has a bug, mis-optimized, or something).

  8. TallGuySE

    Apple stated UP TO 5 hours more battery life. So the improvement could be from one minute to five hours, depending on what you're doing. The batteries are larger, the processor and screen are both more efficient - seems reasonable that there will be a noticeable improvement. It's certainly not going to be 5 hours in every use case, and Apple never claimed it would be. Including the phrase "up to" gives Apple a lot of leeway.

  9. wunderbar

    I like to crap on apple, but one thing where they don't mess around with is battery life claims. If anything, they're conservative with their claims. They generally never claim one number and it gets significnatly less in real world.

    Look at the apple watch. They have always claimed the Series 4 got 18 hours of battery life. In real life, people with them say they get close to 2 days before recharging.

    I have no doubt the iPhone 11 series gets longer battery life than the 10 series. And in certain use cases, I'll bet 4 to 5 hours on the 11 Pro Max will absolutely happen.

  10. Daekar

    So... am I the only one wondering why we absolutely must decide this with no real-world data? I mean... would it kill people to just wait until a reviewer gets their hands on the new phones and then see how things go? I'm the opposite of an Apple fanboy, but still, this is like lighting the torches and grabbing the pitchforks before Frankenstein's monster comes to life.

    • Thom77

      In reply to Daekar:

      My whole post was wondering why the tech media has absolutely ACCEPTED this .... with no real-world data. Perhaps its because theres really nothing else to hold onto and run with. The whole event was a boring failure.

      I've seen tech journalists have no problem doubting Laptop batter life claims (as they should) when i comes to Windows 10 laptops, because they point out (as they should) that these claims are derived from very controlled, optimized tests to get the best number, not to get the most accurate.

      Why arent they coming out and blatantly saying exactly that about the Apple's claim.

      Whats so hard about saying "Apple claims 4,5 hours battery life, but we all know how these companies manipulate their testing, so this claim is doubtful until proven otherwise considering it is a pretty big leap from one generation to the next. Time will tell"

      See how easy that was?

  11. Skolvikings

    Apple lists out their testing criteria here:

  12. Skolvikings

    Keep in mind, the iPhone XS Max had a 3174 mAh battery. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 3969 mAh battery. Are you really surprised that under specific situations, that the new phone's battery could last 5 hours longer?

  13. nicholas_kathrein

    Wow. So many people throwing shade. Is it possible? Are they lying? Come on folks. This isn't fake news. Lets do the math. The phones are thicker and if you look at leaked benchmarks the cpu portion isn't all that much faster. Now Apple has about a 2 year lead in the ARM CPU space over everyone else. Qualcom isn't catching up and is basicly keeping the same 2 yr behind Apple gap, so if you don't do the big CPU jumps you can take a year off and just optimize the current design for lower power usage. I'd buy they can do this.

    • bill_russell

      In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

      I agree that they just increased the battery size, is all. But curious about the claim of a 2 year performance lead by apple.

      Because a single test - geekbench single core - is historically higher? That could very well be because they push the CPU harder than they should. Case in point, "Batterygate" and poor stability after just 1 year until the battery health (CPU throttling) was added.

      But regardless of arguing with the above, in real world tests all over youtube, among the best of the flagships there is no clear difference, let alone 2 year lead. All the battery rundown tests are basically proportional battery life and app opening tests the same ballpark.

  14. jwpear

    If we challenge Apple, we should also challenge just about every other phone and laptop manufacturer. They all pretty much misrepresent the battery life with nearly useless claims about battery life watching a video. I understand everyone has different use patterns, but it seems like we can do better than stating the life of playing video or audio.

    The exceptions I've personally noted with misrepresented battery life claims are the iPad and the Surface Book 2. Both seem to truly get exceptional battery life doing a mix of real world things.

    The new iPhones are thicker and heavier, so it does seem that Apple has added larger batteries. And it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibilities that they did, in fact, improve the efficiency of the chips, display, etc. Will that really equate to 5 more hours of battery life, who knows. But battery life is pretty much always a YMMV spec.


    Unlike many other smartphone manufacturers Apple designs primary silicon for their devices. The performance of their silicon is way, way ahead of other smart phone makers. The pace of Apple semiconductor innovation is outstripping even that of Intel and AMD with new designs landing every 12 months .. like clock work.

    During the keynote Apple said that their engineers implemented impressive new battery saving technology activating only parts of the chip needed at each time. Apple also has benefits from close integration with their software, something that the many other smartphone makers can't quite do, not when Google controls the OS.

    I think that Apple's 5 additional hour battery claim is grounded in some truth.

    • red.radar

      In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

      We need the deep dive reviews the of the A13 at silicon level to understand what sleep states or power saving states they have implemented.

      And the end of the day if the battery saving tech is true then Apple has a right to shout from the stage. We all know Apple isn't stupid enough to claim battery life increases on an order of magnitude if they can't back it up. The class action lawyers would be drooling over the opportunity to get some punitive damages out of them.

    • F4IL

      In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

      There's a lot consider here. Apple presented no formal definition of normal use while the claim seems to be conveniently easy to present and regurgitate. Is it really 5 hours flat? It would be premature to either dismiss or validate their claims since we have no hardware.

  16. Daishi

    Probably simply because no one has actually gotten their hands on them yet. Going all in and saying “This is BS until you prove it” would be a fairly foolish thing to do if they were potentially just going to have to turn around in a week or twos time, once you’ve reviewed it ,and say “actually their claim is spot on”. Much better to report their claim and then test the hell out of it once you have the thing in hand to see if it stacks up.

  17. wright_is

    Apple never say what the size of the battery is. Other manufacturers have also made significant power savings with newer software that is more agressive at throttling power hungry apps, lowering display brightness more and putting in bigger batteries.

    Why should Apple be different. I've heard mention that it is a bit thicker than last years model, which should mean more space for the battery, which means a bigger battery, which means longer run times.

    Until reviewers get their hands on the devices, they won't be able to confirm or deny Apple's claims.

  18. Tony Barrett

    You could almost smell the desperation in Apple's keynote as they tried to come up with ANY reasons for iPhone users to get excited over these 'new' phones. They're actually pretty much identical to last years (as is now expected), but when Apple themselves run out of ideas and have to make a big play on improved battery life to try and sell them - well, that's pretty much the end of the line. Besides, those claims are pretty outrageous, and under normal usage patterns, while you may get a bit more, it's unlikely to be anywhere near what they've said - again, the key words there are 'up to'. Those two little words get them out of a lot of problems when customers don't get what they've been sold.

  19. jrswarr

    Well if they are lying - what do they have to gain? If it is in fact BS - then the truth will come out in the end and Apple would be pilloried by the press. There is no benefit to lying about the specs.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to jrswarr:

      What makes you think Apple would be "pilloried by the press" if their claims are found to be inaccurate?

      • lvthunder

        In reply to jchampeau:

        Just look at history. Somebody is always bashing Apple about something. Be it keyboard designs, rumors not being true, announced products that end up being canceled etc. Some of it is warranted and some of it not so much.

        • jchampeau

          In reply to lvthunder:

          "Someone is always bashing Apple" and the notion that Apple would get "pilloried by the press" are different things. The press is a big and polylithic. If "the press" were indeed pillorying someone or something, then I think most would agree that that would mean we would see articles in a variety of publications saying essentially the same thing. And I have a hard time believing NYT and the other publications that seem to give Apple a pass on most things they get wrong would all-of-a-sudden turn on them over exaggerated battery claims.

    • Thom77

      In reply to jrswarr:

      They lied about having an FM antenna.

      What was the benefit in that?

      By the way, to be clearer than my original post, I'm not saying they are blatantly lying, I'm just saying we all know these battery tests are not indicative of real world use and are purposefully controlled in application.

      I might be proven to be 100% wrong. Maybe everything people normally do on their phone, they will do 4,5 hours longer.

      But that's not the point of this post.

      4,5 hours improvement in ONE generation is, IMO, an extraordinary claim and deserves extraordinary evidence. Until that evidence is provided, it should be treated with HIGH skepticism. I'm not seeing that.

      I dont think iPhone users will use their phone as they normally do, and get 4,5 hours of extra time doing whatever it is they do normally.

      And if that's the case, THEIR CLAIM IS BUNK.

      • Daishi

        In reply to Thom77:

        “I dont think iPhone users will use their phone as they normally do, and get 4,5 hours of extra time doing whatever it is they do normally.

        And if that's the case, THEIR CLAIM IS BUNK.”

        No it’s not, because that’s not what they are claiming. They are very specifically claiming that extra battery life is in a video playback test not a nebulously unspecified ‘normal usage’ scenario.

        Now is this probably a best case scenario with the screen turned right down and everything else turned off? Almost certainly. But that doesn’t actually invalidate their claim even if its true.

    • bill_russell

      In reply to jrswarr:

      Battery life is so variable depending on the usage (including location, etc) that that sort of battery life improvement thing can be claimed easily and people are understanding about it even when some reviews may show little to no improvement.

  20. Paul Thurrott

    "Meanwhile, battery life is dramatically—one might say suspiciously—improved over last year two: Apple reports that the iPhone 11 Pro will deliver up to four more hours of battery life, when compared to its predecessor, while the Max will provide up to five hours more."

    • Thom77

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      You dont get credit for taking a stance when you hide behind journalism weasel phrases like "one might say"

      Come out and say it. Take a stance. Call them out.

      THEN you get credit.

      Your literally proving my point in your attempt to disprove it.

      • matthewitt

        In reply to Thom77:

        He said "Apple reports that the iPhone 11 Pro will deliver four more hours of batter life" which is way more accurate than just saying "The iPhone delivers four more hours of batter life."

        The only people that can say one way or the other at this point is Apple, because anyone who has test hardware is embargoed.

      • StevenLayton

        In reply to Thom77: Wow, why the anger at Paul? Did he just run over your pet dog, and then reverse back over your Windows Phone?

      • lvthunder

        In reply to Thom77:

        If you are a responable journalist you can't call them out unless you have facts on your side. Since no one has the new phone how can you possibly tell if that claim is true or not.

      • wright_is

        In reply to Thom77:

        He has nothing to say whether the claims are true or not. He can only say they seem suspicious, until people actually start getting units to test.

  21. Skolvikings

    Keep in mind, the iPhone XS Max had a 3174 mAh battery. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 3969 mAh battery. Are you really surprised that under specific situations, that the new phone's battery could last 5 hours longer?

    Tests are already in and the results are promising: