Apple’s new iPhone 12 smartphones are the first from the tech giant to support 5G, but actually using the feature will cost you in terms of battery life.
This is according to tests performed by review site Tom’s Guide, which compared the iPhone12 and the iPhone 12 Pro’s battery performance while using 5G and 4G mobile networks.
The results aren’t great: the iPhone 12 lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes on 4G, but only eight hours and 25 minutes on 5G — roughly a 20 percent decrease. The iPhone 12 Pro fared similarly: its battery lasted 11 hours and 24 minutes on 4G, but just nine hours and six minutes on 5G.
Tom’s Guide testing consists of surfing the web on the phone continuously at 150 nits of brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery is at zero.
The company has put other devices through this same test. Apple’s own iPhone 11 and 11 Pro perform similarly as the newer models do on 4G, at 11:16 and 10:24 hours, respectively.
The numbers aren’t particularly surprising, given that Apple’s own specs for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro quoted roughly the same battery life as their predecessors (in fact, the iPhone 12 Pro fared better than expected, but only in 4G mode).
However, Tom’s Guide also put some Android phones to this same test, and the numbers look a lot better than Apple’s. For example, the Google Pixel 5’s battery lasted nearly the same on 5G and 4G, at 9:56 and 9:29 hours, respectively.
Having 5G on didn’t affect the OnePlus 8T’s battery performance very much, either. Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus fared worse with 5G on, but still a little better than the iPhones.
The 5G battery drain was noticed by several iPhone12 reviewers, and this test offers further proof that the issue is real. The question is: Can Apple do something about it through software updates?