Here’s how 5G could impact your iPhone’s battery life

Apple has gradually introduced 5G across nearly its entire product line, starting with the iPhone 12 and more recently expanding to the iPhone SE, iPad Air, and iPad mini. While we’ve known for a long time that 5G can impact your device’s battery life, a new test from The Wall Street Journal puts the situation into perspective…

How 5G can affect your iPhone’s battery life

The test, which The Wall Street Journal recognizes isn’t necessarily perfect, was to stream a YouTube video with the quality set to “auto”. The test was run on iPhone SE 3, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 mini and iPad Air – and repeated on 5G and LTE.

The test results clearly show that 5G can have a noticeable impact on iPhone and iPad battery life. But most interesting, however, is the difference in battery performance between T-Mobile and Verizon. The report explains:

So I wanted to compare the performance of 5G and 4G batteries myself. I streamed a long YouTube video of relaxing ocean footage, with video quality set to “Auto”, on various Apple devices until they ran out of battery, first on 5G, then on LTE. It’s not a perfect test, but it’s proven to be a consistent way to witness the additional battery drain of 5G.

This is why the most important conclusion of this experiment is the difference in battery performance on the two types of networks: T-Mobile 4G and 5G for the iPhone SE and 13 Pro; Verizon 4G and 5G for the iPhone 13 Mini and the new iPad Air. Just note that a device’s lifespan doesn’t say much on its own, as it’s not actual behavior (unless staring at 10-hour oceanscapes while you’re in town is your thing) .

As you can see from the chart above, the iPhone SE 3 lasted an hour longer on 4G than when connected on 5G. The iPad Air and iPhone 13 mini each lasted around 1.5 hours longer, while the iPhone 13 Pro lasted 2.5 hours longer.

An important note here is that none of the iPhones involved in these tests ever connected to the ultra-powerful 5G mmWave. Instead, they connected to sub-6GHz 5G, which offers slower speeds than mmWave, but theoretically has less of an impact on battery life.

The full report on The Wall Street Journal well worth a read. You can learn more about adjusting 5G settings on your iPhone or iPad in our detailed tutorial here.

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