iPhone 5 battery life disappoints

Posted on by Mike Evans

After two days of solid use I am very disappointed with the poor battery life of the new iPhone 5. It definitely is worse than my old 4S after a year's use. This doesn't bode well for the iPhone 5 in a few months' time when the battery has started to get tired.

Yesterday I was out all day and using the phone for web browsing, emails, texts and writing. I made no phone calls and did nothing processor intensive such as watching videos. By 4 pm the battery indicator was showing 25%. When I got home it was below the red mark at 20%. As we all know, once you breach 20% the battery seems to drain very rapidly.

Today at 4 pm I was already down to 20 percent and still a way to go before getting to a power point. To make matters worse, I had forgotten to add a Lightning cable to my Mophie Powerstation. This excellent external battery normally gives a couple of full charges to an iPhone. So before I reached home at 5 pm the battery was completely dead. Again, I had made not a single phone call and had done nothing to cause extra battery drainage.

In my experience, then, battery life of a new iPhone 5 is inferior to that of an iPhone 4S with twelve-month's heavy usage on the clock. That means it will be dramatically worse than the 4S by the time I pick up the iPhone 6 next September. I got to wondering if I would trade a bit of that slimness for a few hours' more battery life. We can't have it all ways, of course, but a phone should last for a working day, even with heavy usage.

by Mike Evans, 26 September 2012

UPDATE: Pietro Montalcino of suggests a possible reason for the poor initial battery life is that Spotlight could be working overtime to reindex the phone. I suppose it makes sense but I should get a better impression over the next couple of weeks.

Another reader, John Michl, is very happy with the battery life on his iPhone 5, reporting that when leaving work in the evening it is still showing 65-70% compared with his old 4S at 45-50%. There is no doubt I am a heavy user. My iPhone is my office and I am usually out and about from 9 am to near 5 pm, using the iPhone for all my communications, productivity tasks and reading. So, perhaps, I am not a typical user. However, I am making a direct comparison with a one-year-old 4S which has already lost a lot of its battery youth. When I have had some more days' experience I will add to this thread.

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