Alan Martin

Was deputy editor on Alphr, now a tech and politics freelancer.

Sep 18, 2021
Published on: Tom's Guide
1 min read
iPhone 13 handsets arranged in a row

Unlike other phone manufacturers, Apple seldom talks about battery capacity in raw numbers, instead preferring to discuss it in terms of how many hours users can expect from their devices.

This was true as ever with the launch of the iPhone 13 during Tuesday's Apple event, at which the company extolled the virtues of the handset’s improved efficiency and larger cells, but only promised that users would see between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours more life, depending on the model purchased.

That’s frustratingly vague, especially when the iPhone 12’s battery was a serious weak spot, but fortunately we now have some actual figures, thanks to a filing published by Apple on the Chemtrec website (via 9to5 Mac).

It’s published in watt hours (Wh), rather than the more common milliamp hours (mAh), but the figures go some way to showing just how much of Apple’s promised improvements come via a larger cell, and how much is down to efficiency improvements with the Apple A15 Bionic chipset.

The iPhone 13 mini has a capacity of 9.34Wh, up 9% from the 8.57Wh of the iPhone 12 mini, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s battery is nearly 20% larger, going from 14.13Wh to 16.75Wh.

Curiously, while the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro had identical 10.78Wh batteries, the 2021 versions are upgraded by different amounts. The regular iPhone 13 improves by 15.1% to 12.41Wh, while the Pro version only increases by 11% to 11.97Wh. Given the Pro model also needs to power a 120Hz screen, that perhaps explains the comparatively modest 90-minute gain Apple has predicted.

We’ll be testing the iPhone 13 family’s battery ourselves, and it will be interesting to see if Apple is being optimistic or pessimistic in its predictions — and whether any of the iPhone 13 models join our list of phones with the best battery life.

But given the poor performance of the iPhone 12’s battery (especially when gaming), any improvement is extremely welcome. Indeed, in a recent survey of 2,000 potential iPhone 13 buyers, better battery life was the most wished for upgrade, backed by 34% of respondents. By contrast, the promised speed and camera improvements were only listed by 22% as a priority.

The iPhone 13 goes on sale on Friday, September 24, but is available for pre-order now. Here are the best iPhone 13 preorder deals we’ve found so far.