Review: Apple iPhone Real World Usage Battery Life Test Results

REPOST: The expected battery life for the Apple iPhone is the subject of many blog entries and reviews. Most of what you will read is negative or less than objective. However, since I use my Apple iPhone everyday for everything from my primary telephone to typing blog entries for the iPhoneWriter.com web site, I decided that a real-world battery life test was in order.

Usage patterns naturally vary, from day to day. Some days are busier than others, some days are not busy at all. To be as objective as possible, I decided that performing the real-world battery usage test three (3) times and then averaging the numbers to calculate the expected (estimated) real-world usage results. To ensure a valid final result, some basic rules were followed.

Rules of the Road, for the Apple iPhone Battery Life Test:
  1. The Apple iPhone must be used under real-world conditions, with no adjustment in usage patterns to artificially extend the life of a particular battery charge.
  2. The Apple iPhone battery must be fully exhausted before connecting to the charging cable for syncing or charging (since the Apple iPhone charges while syncing.)
  3. Once fully charged, the Apple iPhone cannot be re-charged or plugged into the computer until the battery is fully exhausted.
Before beginning the test, I followed the established rules and exhausted my Apple iPhone's battery. To ensure that the battery was completely drained, I listened to some music and surfed the web until the Apple iPhone shut down. At that point, I hooked up the Apple iPhone to the charger and went to bed confident that the real-world battery usage test was off to a good start.

Apple iPhone Battery Life Test: Round One
Having fully discharged my Apple iPhone before putting it on the charger the night before, Round One started with a fully charged Apple iPhone battery. I disconnected the Apple iPhone form the charging cable, checked my email and hit the road for work. During Round One, I used the Apple iPhone for a couple of phone calls, jamming to some music, checking my email and surfing the web. Otherwise, when not being used, the iPhone remained powered on and in stand-by mode. Right before the battery finally exhausted (within a few minutes of receiving the 5% Battery Life warning), the usage was:
  • Stand By: 1 Day 16 Hours
  • Usage: 5 Hours 8 Minutes
  • Combined Usage (Stand By + Usage): 1 Day 21 Hours 8 Minutes
Wow, not bad at all! Having owned a couple of other "smart" phones in the past, like the Treo and Sidekick, battery life like this blows me away and seems to support some of Apple's claims. Could this be a fluke? With the battery fully discharged, I connected the Apple iPhone to the charger and waited for Round Two.

Apple iPhone Battery Life Test: Round Two
With the results from Round One coming in at an outrageous 45 hours and 8 minutes, I was anxious to see if Round Two would yield similar results. Nearing the end of the battery charge, I made note of the usage. As it happened, I barely noted the times before the Apple iPhone shut down.
  • Stand By: 2 days 9 hours
  • Usage: 5 hours 3 minutes
  • Combined Usage (Stand By + Usage): 2 Days 14 Hours 3 Minutes
As you can see, the variation in times between Round One and Round Two is fairly significant. The difference does support the assumption that usage patterns would vary. Of course, that's why we are performing a three round test. I had slightly less usage and a bit more stand-by time this round.

Apple iPhone Battery Life Test: Round Three
After two rounds of testing, the bar was set pretty high for Round Three. When Round Three came to a close, while listening to one of our CD's from the 80's, the Apple iPhone did not disappoint, coming at just over two days combined usage.
  • Stand By: 1 Day 22 Hours
  • Usage: 4 Hours 52 Minutes
  • Combined Usage (Stand By + Usage): 2 Days 1 Hour 58 Minutes
Round Three ended with results that were consistent with Round One and Round Two. What makes Round Three note-worthy is that it included the use of the Aliph JawBone bluetooth headset (a review of the Aliph JawBone is forthcoming.) So, even while using a bluetooth headset, the Apple iPhone provided exceptional real-world battery life.

Apple iPhone Battery Life Test: What Is Real-World Battery Life
Put simply and for the purpose of this test, real-world battery life is defined as typical day-to-day usage of the Apple iPhone features and applications. While usage patterns varied from day-to-day, the range of applications and features used remained fairly consistent. During the testing, I used the Apple iPhone as an iPod, to listen to music and watch a movie; as a telephone, to check voice mail and make/take calls (visual voice mail rocks); to check e-mail (sending and receiving messages); to browse the Internet, participate in online forums and create content for the iPhoneWriter.com web site; as a mapping device to generate driving directions and locate a particular store; and much more, including things like checking the weather and snapping a couple of pictures.

Apple iPhone Battery Life Test: The Final Results
Averaging 50+ hours of combined usage over three separate rounds of testing, the real-world battery life for the Apple iPhone is exceptional and superior to any other smart phone we have used. During the testing, colleagues with other smart phones (like the Motorola Q, the BlackJack and a Treo) were amazed and envious of the battery life that the Apple iPhone provides. I can understand why, they are accustomed to charging their smart phones every night, with minimal usage during the day. As for the results of the iPhoneWriter.com real-world usage battery life test, the Apple iPhone passed with flying colors.

11 comments:

Michael said...

I bought my iPhone a month ago. I just wanted to ask, how fast can you discarge the iphone battery? What would count for hevy usage? Sorry for bad english, i write from croatia.

iPhoneWriter said...

Discharging the iPhone is very easy... just play the iPod or watch a movie until the iPhone literally shuts off. You should get at least two (2) warnings about the battery life along the way, one at 20% battery life and one at 10% battery life. Just clic OK and keep on playing the music/movie. Eventually, the iPhone will shut off and shut down. For good measure, try and boot it up again and make sure it either won't, or use it again until it completely shuts down. Congratulations, your iPhone is battery is now exhausted.

Michael said...

Thanks, But i ment, how fast (mesured in time) can you drain the iphone baterry? Im asking cos my lasts for about 2hr medium usage. Some music, some surfing, some cals,little gaming and little email. just wanted to know How fast, mesured in time, jour iphone runs out of juice. :)

iPhoneWriter said...

Typically, and as noted in the blog post, averaging about 50+ hours of combined usage before the battery goes kaput.

Marklark said...

If you really want the battery to go quickly, let your children play some of the more advanced games. Something that needs 3D graphics.

Then the battery life goes from the writer's experience down to about 1 hour.

"Here Daddy, your iPhone is dead."

Thanks. ;^)

original iPhone about 9 months old.

denik said...

I have had my iphone since august an LOVE IT. I do have a a question regarding battery life. I do listen to my music all day, with it plugged in since I like to flip through my music effortlessly without unlocking, is this causing battery damage? I will be taking a trip next week and will be down loading a few movies, it is a 2 hour flight, and 2 hours in airport for layovers, when I finally land, will I have power left to make a call? Thanks so much!

denik said...

I have had my iphone since august an LOVE IT. I do have a a question regarding battery life. I do listen to my music all day, with it plugged in since I like to flip through my music effortlessly without unlocking, is this causing battery damage? I will be taking a trip next week and will be down loading a few movies, it is a 2 hour flight, and 2 hours in airport for layovers, when I finally land, will I have power left to make a call? Thanks so much!

Logan said...

I would like to have an iPhone but is very expensive and I have to buy viagra every day to my grandpa, I have no money.

iulia said...

I have my iphone for about 4-5 months... Since yesterday morning my battery started to drain quickly... And i still do my usual stuff : listen music, internet, messaging, call. I charge it every night..
I have it jail broke... My fetch new data is off and all the other drainy things. Could you tell me why?? Plsss julia

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