Apple iPhone 12 battery life drains 20% faster when it is on the 5G network than on 4G, study finds


Apple announced its iPhone 12 features a 5G wireless chip that will improve speeds for faster downloads, higher quality streaming and better responsive games – but a new study reveals it comes at a cost.

Tom’s Guide found that the iPhone 12’s battery life drains 20 percent faster on the 5G network than when running on 4G.

Testing was conducted by surfing the web and opening a new site on the smartphone every 30 minutes until the battery died.

Following the test, the smartphone performed for 10 hours and 23 minutes with 4G, but just eight hours and 25 minutes on 5G.

The same tasks were carried out on the iPhone 11, which revealed the 2019 handset lasted for 11 hours and 16 minutes over 4G – outperforming the latest Apple smartphone altogether.

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Tom's Guide found that the iPhone 12's battery life lasts 20 percent less on the 5G network than when running on 4G. Testing was conducted by surfing the web and opening a new site on the smartphone every 30 minutes until the battery died

Tom’s Guide found that the iPhone 12’s battery life lasts 20 percent less on the 5G network than when running on 4G. Testing was conducted by surfing the web and opening a new site on the smartphone every 30 minutes until the battery died

Apple announced the upgrade during a live event on October 13, which it said will allow data flow at much faster speeds.

CEO Tim Cook discussed the benefits of having 5G, sharing everything to video streaming to more privacy.

‘Each generation of cellular technology on iPhone has enabled breakthrough innovations and entirely new opportunities for our developers and our users,’ said Cook during the virtual event.

‘For so many people this all becomes real with 5G coming to iPhone.’

Results for the iPhone 12 Pro (right smartphone) showed the handset lasted 11 hours and 14 minute on 4G and just nine hours and six minutes when connected to 5G

Results for the iPhone 12 Pro (right smartphone) showed the handset lasted 11 hours and 14 minute on 4G and just nine hours and six minutes when connected to 5G

However, Tom’s Guide shows that although the network may provide a number of benefits, it will also drain battery life much faster than the 4G network.

The report says testing was conducting using the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.

Users surfed the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness and opened a new site every 30 seconds using both 5G and 4G until the battery drained completely.

Results for the iPhone 12 Pro showed the handset lasted 11 hours and 14 minute on 4G and just nine hours and six minutes when connected to 5G.

Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro’s battery life drains about 20 percent faster when using 5G.

Tom’s Guide also put Android smartphones through the same test and found they surpassed the performance of Apple’s new devices.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus lasted 10 hours and 31 minutes over 5G, which is nearly 1.5 hours than the iPhone 12 Pro.

And OnPlus 8T surpassed both of Apple’s smartphones.

The Android’s runtime was 10 hours and 49 minutes at 60Hz and nine hours and 58 minutes on 120Hz – both using 5G.

‘Overall, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro battery life is a bummer over 5G, at least when surfing the web,’ shares Tom’s Guide.

‘So you may want to manually switch to 4G in some cases to save extra juice.’

Apple may have shared the news of its 5G supported smartphones, but failed to tell customers why they need the network right now.

Most of the major carries like Verizon and T-Mobile have already released the next generation cellular technology in certain areas, but much of the quality depends on a user’s location and most of the systems are still ‘under construction’ – and it could take five to seven years to perfect.

Thomas Husson, vice principal analyst at Forrester, said: ‘5G alone is not mature enough to justify on its own a significant premium for the new iPhones but at the same time Apple is best placed to kickstart consumer demand for 5G.’

‘Apple is likely to maintain leadership on the high-end smartphone market by adding performance and ease of use to its new range of flagship devices.’

‘While increased connectivity will matter for countries where 5G is getting traction, differentiated experiences will also come from faster processing and obsession to design details.’

EXPLAINED: THE EVOLUTION OF MOBILE BROADBAND UP TO 5G

The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.   

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Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched. 

Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively. 

More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.

5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G. 

Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time. 

That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.

Potential uses for 5g include: 

  • Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call 
  • Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
  • A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds. 

5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.  

By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.

The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps - 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future 

The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future 



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