iPhone 12 and 12 Pro get 20% shorter battery life when on 5G

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It was already clear that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro would lose battery faster when hooked to 5G networks compared to 4G ones, but we didn’t know how much. Well now we sort of do, thanks to Tom’s Guide and their battery test – running a browser script at 150 nits and loading a new web page at 30 second intervals.

Under those conditions the iPhone 12 lasted for 8:25 hours on 5G and 10:23 hours on 4G – that’s around a 20% difference. The iPhone 12 Pro did a little better – 9:06 hours over 5G and 11:24 hours over LTE – again around 20% better. When compared to their respective predecessors over 4G, the iPhone 12 lasted 53 minutes less than the iPhone 11, while the iPhone 12 Pro lasted exactly one hour more than the iPhone 11 Pro.

The Galaxy S20 and S20+ with their larger 4,000mAh and 4,500mAh batteries beat the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro when tested at 60Hz, but lasted less than the pair of iPhones when running the 5G browsing test at their highest 120Hz refresh rate. The Google Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8T both outdid the iPhone 12 duo even at their higher refresh setting (90Hz and 120Hz, respectively).

Table courtesy of Tom's Guide
Table courtesy of Tom’s Guide

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro sit in the middle of Apple’s new line of iPhones in terms of battery capacity. It would be more interesting to see how the smaller iPhone 12 mini and larger iPhone 12 Pro Max do.

It’s also worth noting that the iPhone 12 series would by default judge whether to use 5G or 4G, depending on what your doing. Streaming music while the screen is off is one scenario where the phone would default to LTE to spare battery.

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