iPhone 5c/5s battery put to test against five previous iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad generations. With no where to hide this time lapse battery test is a real-world alternative to official lab battery life for different iOS devices.
The gap between reported and real world battery life is a little like manufacturer’s fuel economy figures, a best case “in the lab” performance. Of course life isn’t like the lab, and how we use cars and technology certainly differs from those ideal scenarios.
With the new iPhone 5c and 5s touting strong battery life, in spite of new power hungry features and functions this week I set about investigating what sort of performance we experience in our actual family use.
I gathered together an array of different generations of iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads. Between friends and family we had the bases covered. It took a little persuasion to borrow these pieces of technology so deeply are they embedded in our lives, but I think the result is worth it.
This was to be a real stress test, with everything turned up to max. After charging each of them fully, I turned each and every feature on that might drain battery: WiFi, Bluetooth, Cell Phone, set the brightness to maximum and turned off the auto-lock. Running on each device was Fruit Ninja (a game that worked across all systems).
I then set up a time lapse camera and set it running. As you can see I hadn’t expected the test to last quite so long. The children returned home from school and had to eat around the devices still running — with strict instructions not to jog the table. The result is a time lapse video of their progress where you can see exactly how the different generations fared in the iPhone 5 battery test. Here are the results in full:
iPod Touch 2nd Generation (2hrs 27mins)
iPhone 3G (2hrs 39mins)
iPhone Touch 1st Generation (2hrs 44mins)
iPhone 4S (3hrs 38mins)
iPad 3 (4hrs 15mins)
iPhone 5 (4hrs 21mins)
iPhone 5s (4hrs 24mins)
iPhone 5c (4hrs 30mins)
iPad Mini (5hrs 8mins)
Of course these are timings that relate to playing a graphics heavy game on the devices with everything turned on. They would last significantly longer if you switched off features or were performing less intensive functions.
As you can see the newer models out performed those that had been used more over the years. I suspect that this was as much from heavy use diminishing the older unit’s life as it was from improving battery technology — although that will factor too in the battery test. It was also interesting to see that having the cell phone function switched on didn’t make a huge difference. In fact it seems that the screen brightness was a bigger determining factor.
Having researched iPhone battery life in the family we came up with our battery saving tips, I’m sure you could add to this list:
Turn off Bluetooth and Wifi when not in use, much easier to do in iOS 7 with the Control Center screen.
Turn off Location Services for apps where it isn’t essential, or disable it fully: Settings | General | Restrictions | Location Services.
Disable 3G, and possible Mobile Data in general if you are using Wifi or don’t require data: Settings | Mobile | 3G.
Set a short auto-lock time to secure your phone and reduce battery drain from the screen: Settings | General | Auto-Lock.
Turn off Bass Boost for music: Settings | Music | EQ
Reduce screen brightness particularly if using iPhone inside, switch on Auto Brightness: Settings | Wallpapers & Brightness.
Turn off icon motion: Settings | General | Accessibility | Reduce Motion