For years, Android fans would insult the iPhone for its lack of widgets, outdated design, and small screen, but if you brought up battery life, they’d have nothing to say. The iPhone always made it through a day of use before needing a charge. It was the Energizer Bunny of smartphones: It kept going as Galaxies, HTCs, and Motorolas ran out of juice.
But with iPhone 5, and iOS 7, that bunny is starting to look pretty lethargic.
Last year, Apple relinquished a little control of its OS, allowing apps to run in the background for the first time. This has, along with other factors, hurt the average iPhone user’s battery life. Combined with a lack of any advancement in battery size or tech for years, many iPhone owners have begun to experience daily problems with battery life on new devices, including the iPhone 5S.
All of this year’s hottest Android phones have batteries almost twice the size of the iPhone’s.
I’m not the only one complaining about battery life, either. In July, WalletHero asked 1,500 people what new features they wanted on the iPhone 6, and “Longer Battery Life” took the top spot, with 97 percent of respondents requesting the feature. In a uSell survey of 1,000 U.S. smartphone users, better battery life was the second highest rated demand for the iPhone 6, with 37 percent of respondents saying they care about it more than any other new feature. A scratch-resistant sapphire screen was the number one most-requested feature.
Apple has admitted it has a problem lately, too — albeit in a small way. In August, the company launched a battery replacement program for select versions of the iPhone 5.
Many iPhone 5S owners (including myself) permanently wrap their super-thin phones in a clunky, expensive battery cases just to make it through a day without fear. These types of accessories are great for special occasions, but we shouldn’t have to use them on a daily basis.
There is hope. Though Apple is still trying to make the two rumored models of the iPhone 6 as slim as possible, they will likely have larger batteries, according to recent reports. The 4.7-inch model should have an 1,800mAh battery, and the big-screened iPhablet may tout a 2,500mAh battery. While still lower than most Android devices these days, these battery sizes are larger than the paltry 1,440mAh battery in the iPhone 5S. A few stray rumors point toward larger batteries still.
Better battery life was the second highest rated demand for the iPhone 6.
Battery size won’t be enough. Yes these phones may have larger batteries, but they’ll also have more powerful processors and bigger screens, sucking up all that extra juice like it’s margarita night in Cozumel.
Apple needs to make sure its iOS operating system and apps are using the new big batteries efficiently. There is hope on this front, too. We know that iOS 8 will have a settings menu that lets you see what apps are hogging the most battery life. But Android has had this for years. Apple will need something bigger up its sleeve if it wants to make some actual progress on battery life.
The iPhone’s biggest strength has become its biggest liability. I couldn’t be happier that the iPhone 6 will finally have a larger screen, and I’ve known the incredible strength of sapphire screens for a while now (watch me try it out here), but battery life could make or break the iPhone in the coming years. Battery life isn’t the kind of feature that sells phones, but it’s one of the biggest reasons people leave them.
If Apple wants to put its best foot forward, it needs to set me free from this Mophie.