The secret behind the iPhone 11 Pro's improved battery life

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,522   +122
Staff member

Apple on Tuesday introduced a trio of new iPhones including an affordable (comparatively speaking) iPhone 11 and two Pro models. Camera improvements aside, the two Pro models deliver substantially longer battery life compared to their predecessors – up to four more hours on the iPhone 11 Pro versus the iPhone XS and up to five hours more on the iPhone 11 Pro Max compared to last year’s iPhone XS Max.

Apple would like you to think that these efficiency enhancements are a direct result of the more efficient A13 Bionic chip or perhaps improvements to its battery technology or software but the devil is in the details.

Image courtesy TechRadar

One thing I noticed during Apple’s presentation was that their new iPhones looked a bit chunky. Upon further inspection, I was able to confirm my suspicions. The iPhone 11 Pro measures 8.1mm thick and tips the scales at 6.63 ounces (188 grams). By comparison, the iPhone XS measures just 7.7mm thick and weighs 6.24 ounces (177 grams).

The iPhone 11 Pro Max, meanwhile, measures 8.1mm thick and weighs 7.97 ounces (226 grams) while the iPhone XS Max measured 7.7mm thick and only 7.34 ounces (208 grams).

Surprisingly enough, the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR are virtually identical in terms of thickness and weight, hence why the difference in battery life – just one hour – is far less between these two devices.

Image courtesy TechRadar

What I’m getting at here is that, yes, Apple did find some efficiency gains in the A13 Bionic and with software tricks. They also quietly added more depth and weight to physically accommodate for a bigger battery to realize those gains.

It’s a strategy that is in stark contrast to previous pushes to slim down the iPhone at all costs and personally, I’ll be curious to see peoples’ reactions once they realize what is happening. Will folks be willing to live with a thicker and heavier iPhone in exchange for better battery life?

Just for comparison's sake, I went back and looked at some of the earlier iPhone models. The iPhone 6 measures just 6.9 mm thick and weighs 4.55 ounces (129 grams). The iPhone 8, which is still sticking around, is only 7.3mm thick and 5,22 ounces (148 grams).

Masthead via Dieter Bohn, The Verge

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psycros

Posts: 3,187   +3,373
"What I’m getting at here is that, yes, Apple did find some efficiency gains in the A13 Bionic and with software tricks. They also quietly added more depth and weight to physically accommodate for a bigger battery to realize those gains."

Wow, there may be hope for the industry yet.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,558   +1,556
TechSpot Elite
"Sacrificing" a bit of thinness for more battery life is something pretty much everyone has been asking for. IOW, I have never heard someone say "my phone is too heavy/thick." Instead I frequently hear "my phone's almost dead, where can I charge it?"

Maybe, just maybe, Apple gets it. Samsung's been pretty good with this recently too, hopefully it continues.
 

antiproduct

Posts: 149   +164
I guess they've also talked about how much more durable the body is, and if so, if you don't need a case with this phone, then the extra thickness is totally worth it. I'm sure my current phone + case has way more thickness and weight than this thing will have.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,392   +5,830
It's unfortunate they don't simply offer an option for a different back that has a larger battery and is a bit thicker, after all, just how much stuff can you stuff into a shirt pocket? :)
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,487   +1,759
Oh my gosh! What will the "slim, sexy, colorful & stylish" crowd think? What will the likes of the (insert so called reality stars) do with such a HEAVY and THICK phone? Oh the shame!

Crazy...it's a PHONE, not a piece of jewelry (although considering the price they charge, maybe it is).
Make it black, plastic back case, thicker, bigger battery, and be done with it. Glass on the front, yeah, kind of have to have that, but placing glass on the back? "Oh, that is for wireless charging"...then use PLASTIC.
Boy, that would really drive the hipster types nuts ;)
 

ChrisH1

Posts: 151   +73
I would pay extra to have a removable battery so I could choose the weight and thickness of my phone myself.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,354   +2,233
So the premise is that Apple has been shrinking the phone for years but now it’s a bit bigger.... yet in the last paragraph, you state that the iPhone 6 and 8 were smaller than last year’s phones.... so obviously, Apple has NOT been continuously shrinking their phones at all! They’ve steadily increased in size!

Also, we’re talking less than half a millimeter in thickness and about half an ounce in weight.... I hardly think too many people will even notice, let alone care.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 434   +361
So the premise is that Apple has been shrinking the phone for years but now it’s a bit bigger.... yet in the last paragraph, you state that the iPhone 6 and 8 were smaller than last year’s phones.... so obviously, Apple has NOT been continuously shrinking their phones at all! They’ve steadily increased in size!

Also, we’re talking less than half a millimeter in thickness and about half an ounce in weight.... I hardly think too many people will even notice, let alone care.
If you're coming from a iPhone 6 the difference will be very noticeable, 60g and 1.2mm. Each generation has gotten slightly thicker and heavier. 188g for just the 5.8" model is getting a tad ridiculous, where to next year, 8.5mm and 200g.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,354   +2,233
If you're coming from a iPhone 6 the difference will be very noticeable, 60g and 1.2mm. Each generation has gotten slightly thicker and heavier. 188g for just the 5.8" model is getting a tad ridiculous, where to next year, 8.5mm and 200g.
60 grams is not very much.... nor is 1.2mm.... look at the cell phones from the early 2000s... people had no issues carrying those and they were far thicker and heavier...
 
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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 434   +361
If you're coming from a iPhone 6 the difference will be very noticeable, 60g and 1.2mm. Each generation has gotten slightly thicker and heavier. 188g for just the 5.8" model is getting a tad ridiculous, where to next year, 8.5mm and 200g.
60 grams is not very much.... nor is 1.2mm.... look at the cell phones from the early 2000s... people had no issues carrying those and they were far thicker and heavier...
LOL, even 20g is noticeable. 60g is a 50% increase over the iPhone 6. Also 1.2mm is thicker than a credit card and makes it ~ 17% thicker than iPhone 6. People had no choice but to carry bricks as that was all that was available back then. By your logic we should go back to making 5kg laptops, because hey they used to weigh that much so why not. Once you’ve adapted to the technology there is no going back.
 

Nobina

Posts: 2,621   +2,244
If you're coming from a iPhone 6 the difference will be very noticeable, 60g and 1.2mm. Each generation has gotten slightly thicker and heavier. 188g for just the 5.8" model is getting a tad ridiculous, where to next year, 8.5mm and 200g.
60 grams is not very much.... nor is 1.2mm.... look at the cell phones from the early 2000s... people had no issues carrying those and they were far thicker and heavier...
LOL, even 20g is noticeable. 60g is a 50% increase over the iPhone 6. Also 1.2mm is thicker than a credit card and makes it ~ 17% thicker than iPhone 6. People had no choice but to carry bricks as that was all that was available back then. By your logic we should go back to making 5kg laptops, because hey they used to weigh that much so why not. Once you’ve adapted to the technology there is no going back.
Phone weight isn't a thing. Any normal functioning human being should be able to carry a phone without any issues, or do you need technology for that as well? It's about as heavy as a glass of water.
 
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Dosahka

Posts: 218   +83
So wait, doesn't that mean there's now room to re-add the headphone jack?
I wish. Apple is far too “advanced” for that.
it's more like they need space for battery, extra components (wider left speaker on the bottom, bigger haptic engine)

FYI nobody mentioned 3D touch in the keynote, but on their site says Haptic touch :( rip 3D touch. Before you say something, there is a difference, a huge one, I have an XR (work phone) and XSM (personal) and Haptic and 3D touch are far from each other.
 

Odium

Posts: 54   +23
If you're coming from a iPhone 6 the difference will be very noticeable, 60g and 1.2mm. Each generation has gotten slightly thicker and heavier. 188g for just the 5.8" model is getting a tad ridiculous, where to next year, 8.5mm and 200g.
60 grams is not very much.... nor is 1.2mm.... look at the cell phones from the early 2000s... people had no issues carrying those and they were far thicker and heavier...
LOL, even 20g is noticeable. 60g is a 50% increase over the iPhone 6. Also 1.2mm is thicker than a credit card and makes it ~ 17% thicker than iPhone 6. People had no choice but to carry bricks as that was all that was available back then. By your logic we should go back to making 5kg laptops, because hey they used to weigh that much so why not. Once you’ve adapted to the technology there is no going back.
Do you have some kind of physical problems because 20g is a noticeable weight for you?
 

Verne Arase

Posts: 8   +3
I would expect it's a combination of a more efficient SoC, a bigger battery, and perhaps Apple has perfected their power management chip (one more piece of silicon Apple wanted to bring in-house).