Benchmark Shows 5G Drains iPhone 12’s Battery 20 Percent Faster

The first wave of iPhone 12 reviews has arrived and overall it seems like Apple has another winner on its hands with the new design and displays receiving high marks across the board. There has, however, been one consistent concern showing up in virtually every review: below-average battery life.

The iPhone 12 is now a thing and iPhone 12 pre-orders are live, with the first wave of reviewers now posting their opinions on Apple’s latest.

One of the lucky few first wave of iPhone 12 reviewers is tech site Tom’s Guide, who as part of its testing procedure has conducted battery life tests on both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro — and, in news T3 is disappointed to hear, the results are not good.

On AT&T’s 5G network, the iPhone 12 lasted for 8 hours and 25 minutes, down significantly from the iPhone 11’s 11 hours 16 minutes, a reduction of almost 3 hours in the total battery life. When in 4G mode, the iPhone 12 lasted a more respectable 10 hours 23 minutes, though still less than what the iPhone 11 managed. The iPhone 12 does have a bigger and more power-hungry 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display so this decline in battery life in 4G mode can still be justified.

As for the iPhone 12 Pro, it lasted for 9 hours 6 minutes when on 5G and 11 hours and 24 minutes when on 4G. Again, there’s a gap of over 2 hours in the battery life of the device when being used on 4G vs 5G. Surprisingly, the iPhone 12 Pro’s battery is still comparable to the iPhone 11 Pro from last year despite the decline. The iPhone 11 Pro survived for 10 hours 24 minutes in Tom’s Guide test. So when being used exclusively on a 4G network, the iPhone 12 Pro can actually outlast the iPhone 11 Pro.

The iPhone 12 Pro was connected to T-Mobile’s 5G network which could explain the difference between its and the iPhone 12 battery life. The iPhone 12 fared worse than other 5G Android phones in the battery life department. The Galaxy S20 lasted for 9 hours 31 minutes in 60Hz mode while the S20 Plus lasted for 10 hours 31 minutes.

These battery results might be the reasoning for Apple’s decision to add a “Smart Data mode” with the iPhone 12 lineup, which selectively turns off 5G when it’s not needed, like when streaming music with the screen turned off.

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