Almost three weeks after receiving the new iPhone 5, I wanted to write a few words about the battery life of the new iPhone. If you check out the Apple support forums, you might find thousands of people complaining about the battery drain of the new iPhone.
Also you find dozens of tricks how to extend the battery life by turning off all kind of features (which make the phone interesting in the fist place).
Battery Life Now
After three weeks, I have an average usage similar to the following screen:
Given six and a half hours of usage and 41 hours of standby, I have to charge my phone every seconds day, which is similar to my previous iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4/4s I am aware of.
To Lithium Ion or Nothium Ion
I did not turn of any features and I did not re-install my phone from the scratch. I restored my iPhone 3GS backup and kept all the settings. I have turned on WiFi all the time and most of the time I use Bluetooth as well. Also 3G is turned on all the time. I have some calls and write several text messages during the day, but I do not switch the phone of during night (but do use the new do not disturb mode). I check Facebook and Mails a lot during the day, read tweets on a regular base and check in as often as I can using foursquare.
When I used the phone during the first few days, the battery did no last longer than eight hours (i.e. the phone turned of before a working day was over). I “calibrated” the battery in letting it drain completely and loading it up to 100% several times – which is a very questionable technique considering the underlying technology.
The lithium ion technology is a quite clean technology. There shouldn’t be any learning effect on the battery, the first charge should be as the 20th and fully draining the battery should not affect its overall capacity. One of the few drawbacks of lithium ion batteries might be their complete failure after two or three years.
The last then percent of the battery drain quickly when being used, however, after the first three weeks the battery seems to be fine. Alexander Olma run some tests on the phone with extensive traffic usage resulting in 3h non-stop downloading bits and bytes until the phone turned off.
Due to the lack of data for comparison (i.e. data I can access), I can’t say whether there are other smartphones out in the wild with extensive longer battery life than the iPhone 5. However, a fully charged phone can make its way through a normal business day and a nice evening while still waking you up the next morning.