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My iPhone 14 Pro is amazing, but there’s one thing driving me crazy

About a month ago, I made a big change with my iPhone. After using the behemoth iPhone 14 Pro Max since it launched in October, I stuffed it in my office drawer and switched to the much smaller and more manageable iPhone 14 Pro. Why, you might ask? I already wrote a separate article talking all about it, but it really boiled down to one big issue with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. More specifically, it was too damn big.

After being fed up with its size and weight, I replaced it with the regular iPhone 14 Pro — and it’s a change I’ve been thrilled with. I’m now carrying an iPhone that’s possible to use one-handed, slips into a pocket or bag with ease, and doesn’t weigh me down throughout the day. But as much as I appreciate the more compact size, going to the smaller iPhone has come with a nagging consequence that’s introduced a new annoyance into my day. And it’s driving me crazy.

Where’s the battery?

A black iPhone 14 Pro lying on a table.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Before going from the iPhone 14 Pro Max to the iPhone 14 Pro, I expected a couple of things to happen. I knew the screen would be smaller and a bit more cramped, and I expected the battery life to be shorter. Neither of those things was surprising, and they’ve both been true in using the iPhone 14 Pro.

The smaller display? I don’t mind it. Sure, Marvel Snap doesn’t look quite as expansive, and March Madness games are a bit more cramped, but it’s far from a deal-breaker. There’s still plenty of room to see what I need to see, and I’m no longer struggling to comfortably hold my phone.

But what has been unexpectedly painful is the battery life. Or, should I say, the lack thereof.

Screenshots of battery life from the iPhone 14 Pro.
4 – 5 hours of screen-on time, only possible with charging midday. Digital Trends

Battery life on my iPhone 14 Pro has been … not great. When I first got my iPhone 14 Pro Max, I was easily getting through a couple of days on a single charge. Later software updates lessened that to a day and a half or one especially busy day. But with the regular iPhone 14 Pro, I’m often hunting for my charger by 5:00 p.m. or earlier.

Am I using my phone a lot throughout the day? Sure, but not to an outrageous extent. I’ll play a downloaded video while running on the treadmill in the morning, listen to Apple Music or Pocket Casts during my other gym activities, check Outlook and Teams throughout the day, do a few Duolingo sessions, and play some Marvel Snap rounds when I want to kill a few minutes here and there. With that type of usage, it’s not uncommon for my iPhone 14 Pro to hit 20% in the late afternoon before dinner. And this is how I’m using the phone while staying at home! The next work trip that demands I spend even more time on my smartphone, I’m almost positive I’ll have to switch to the Galaxy S23 Ultra (or back to the iPhone 14 Pro Max) if I want to have a pleasant experience.

People started complaining about the iPhone 14 Pro’s battery right after it came out. iOS 16.1 launched and seemed to improve things, but then when iOS 16.2 hit, the battery seemed to take a nosedive again. Using the iPhone 14 Pro on iOS 16.3 for the last few weeks, I’m not impressed with the results I’m seeing. iOS 16.4 could fix things again, but I’m not holding my breath.

Other phones don’t have this problem

Deep purple iPhone 14 Pro and Cream Galaxy S23 diagonally side by side
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

While battery complaints around the iPhone 14 Pro aren’t anything new, I think there’s a big reason why it’s hitting me so hard right now.

Besides the fact that I’ve been used to the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s endurance over the last few months, more recent Android phones have proven to be battery monsters. Take the Galaxy S23 as an example. It’s significantly lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro and even a bit shorter and thinner. Yet despite this, it delivers really strong battery life — easily delivering over a day’s worth of use on a single charge, or two if you aren’t on it constantly.

I’m fine with the iPhone 14 Pro not lasting two days on a single charge; I never expected it to do that. But unless I want to go to bed with less than 5% battery remaining, I know I need to put it on the charger in the middle of the day. And with charge speeds maxing out at 27W, it’s not a particularly fast process, either.

I hope the iPhone 15 fixes things

iPhone 15 render by 4RMD
iPhone 15 render 4RMD

Does all of this complaining mean I’m going to stop using the iPhone 14 Pro? No. The size difference between it and the 14 Pro Max is still too significant to ignore, even if it means putting up with mediocre endurance.

But that also doesn’t mean Apple gets a complete pass. When the iPhone 15 launches later this year, improved battery life has to be a main focus for the phone. Apple will have had a year to improve battery drain from the Dynamic Island and the always-on screen, and a new 3nm architecture for the A17 chip should improve efficiency as well. Apple did a great job ushering in a load of new features with the iPhone 14 Pro; with the iPhone 15 Pro, it needs to find a way to let people use those things for longer.

I love using the iPhone 14 Pro. It feels great in the hand, the screen is easy to navigate, the Dynamic Island is still a pleasure to use, and not once has its gaming performance left me wanting more. And all of that makes the lacking battery life all the more frustrating. This is a phone I want to spend time using and enjoying, but the current battery life situation is making that far more difficult than it should be.

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Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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