Apple exaggerates its iPhone battery life by up to 51%, claims report

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

UK consumer watchdog Which? carried out battery life tests on nine different models of iPhones. The results showed that every one missed Apple’s claimed talk times by between 18 percent and 51 percent, with the worst offender being the iPhone XR.

Apple says the iPhone XR will offer 25 hours of talk time on a full charge. But while the handset’s battery life was one of the many elements to receive praise from reviewers, Which? found it lasted 16 hours and 23 minutes—missing Apple’s claim by 51 percent.

Responding to the report, Apple told Business Insider: "We rigorously test our products and stand behind our battery life claims. With tight integration between hardware and software, iPhone is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximize battery life.”

HTC is another firm that looks to be inflating its talk time figures, but only by a small percent. Its average talk time for certain phones was 20.5 hours, but Which? found it to be 19.6 hours—a five percent difference.

Some companies’ products performed better in the tests than their official figures. Samsung, Sony, and Nokia all underestimate the average talk time of their handsets. Sony was the furthest off the mark; its phones reached an average of 16 hours of talk time, 21 percent more than the estimated 12.6 hours. Its Xperia Z5 Compact was singled out for praise—the phone’s 25 hours and 25 minutes of talk time is almost nine hours more than the 17 hours Sony promises.

Which? says it fully charged the phones and measured how long they lasted while making continuous calls. It didn’t reveal other details, such as screen brightness, app use, cell coverage, or any background processes that might have been running.

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Jyrkz

TS Booster
Please learn how to calculate %
"Which? found it lasted 16 hours and 23 minutes—missing Apple’s claim by 51 percent." Thats from 25h

Othewise keep it up the good work :D
 
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rrwards

TS Booster
It looks like the battery benchmark was just "how long does it last making calls?" I'm sure apple exaggerated a bit, but the test seems pretty flawed. Phone calls are not the major use case for the majority of smartphone users (irony aside). This is why most independent benchmarks are done under a strict set of conditions (like looping a video at max brightness) and the gauging results based on screen-on time only. Otherwise there's so many other factors that come into play it makes it almost impossible to get a clear idea of longevity.

Tldr: Which? is using a shitty benchmark (and doesn't disclose any of the other variable settings, like signal strength, wifi/bt on or off, brightness, etc) so I'd take those results with a grain or five of salt. Apple/all OEMs usually report incorrect battery life, ignore these ratings and check independent reviewers benchmarks that account for variables (GSMArena, for example, details their entire battery benchmark).
 

gusticles41

TS Evangelist
Apple told Business Insider: "We rigorously test our products and stand behind our battery life claims. With tight integration between hardware and software, iPhone is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximize battery life.”
Okay but can you comment on the phones not even coming close to your benchmarks?
 
Apple told Business Insider: "We rigorously test our products and stand behind our battery life claims. With tight integration between hardware and software, iPhone is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximize battery life.”
Okay but can you comment on the phones not even coming close to your benchmarks?

I have iPhone XS MAX.

My phone - as I use it - makes it all the way through my work day - till I get home - before I have to charge it.

It exceeds my iPhone X and my iPhone 7 Plus with ease.

I pay 0 % attention to blogs and reviews and after-the-fact vloggers.

I trust Apple and my product works as expected.
 
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Runesmith

TS Rookie
Apple told Business Insider: "We rigorously test our products and stand behind our battery life claims. With tight integration between hardware and software, iPhone is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximize battery life.”
Okay but can you comment on the phones not even coming close to your benchmarks?

I have iPhone XS MAX.

My phone - as I use it - makes it all the way through my work day - till I get home - before I have to charge it.

It exceeds my iPhone X and my iPhone 7 Plus with ease.

I pay 0 % attention to blogs and reviews and after-the-fact vloggers.

I trust Apple and my product works as expected.
I am glad that your phone works as expected for you. However, that was not the focus of the article.

The article focuses on the fact that the specifications provided by Apple do not match the tests... much in the same way that the emission levels submitted by Volkswagen didn't meet the lab tests. When a company provides specifications that do not match up to third party testing, the onus is on the company to prove that they did not provide false specifications. They can do so by providing the conditions under which the test was done.

Whether the battery life is adequate for you, or even to 99.9999% of all users is immaterial. That's because Apple didin't specify "adequate battery life for 99.9999% of users." Instead, they provided a number of hours. That number of hours cannot be false.

Providing false specifications is false advertising (not that I am suggesting Apple did that - I am sure there is an innocent explanation). Companies need to be held accountable for false advertising. It may not matter to you, but it matters to many other consumers. Apple, instead of being arrogantly defensive, should simply clear the air and put the matter to rest.
 
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Runesmith

TS Rookie
It looks like the battery benchmark was just "how long does it last making calls?" I'm sure apple exaggerated a bit, but the test seems pretty flawed. Phone calls are not the major use case for the majority of smartphone users (irony aside). This is why most independent benchmarks are done under a strict set of conditions (like looping a video at max brightness) and the gauging results based on screen-on time only. Otherwise there's so many other factors that come into play it makes it almost impossible to get a clear idea of longevity.

Tldr: Which? is using a shitty benchmark (and doesn't disclose any of the other variable settings, like signal strength, wifi/bt on or off, brightness, etc) so I'd take those results with a grain or five of salt. Apple/all OEMs usually report incorrect battery life, ignore these ratings and check independent reviewers benchmarks that account for variables (GSMArena, for example, details their entire battery benchmark).
Shouldn't Apple disclose the conditions under which they tested this "shitty benchmark?" That way, independent labs can verify the benchmark provided.

As for your comment that Apple/all OEMs usually report incorrect battery life - I wonder whether you can back that up with facts, or whether it is an assertion that you simply made up.

I believe in accuracy and transparency in advertising. Incorrectly reporting specifications, as you allege, is false advertising and therefore, fraud. That should not be tolerated or given a pass.
 
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gusticles41

TS Evangelist
I have iPhone XS MAX.

My phone - as I use it - makes it all the way through my work day - till I get home - before I have to charge it.

It exceeds my iPhone X and my iPhone 7 Plus with ease.

I pay 0 % attention to blogs and reviews and after-the-fact vloggers.

I trust Apple and my product works as expected.
I'm a fan of specs, facts, and tests. Do I need my phone to have 25hrs of talk time? Not necessarily. But companies need to be held accountable if they are in fact exaggerating or somehow tweaking testing to achieve these numbers.

On the flip side, the 3rd parties performing the tests and claiming Apple is lying also need to be checked. While there aren't too many variables to a talk time test, things like cell reception, screen on time, and background apps could make all the difference.
 
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