Apple: how iPhones became autonomy giants –

This year, the iPhones have many qualities, but one of them stands out, it is their autonomy. If the iPhone 13 mini does not sparkle, largely because its tiny case prevents it from carrying a good-sized battery, the other three models are making strong progress.

So we decided to do a little memory exercise, to dive back into our test results databases. An exploration of the past that shows both where iPhones came from, and in a way smartphones in general. If our tests have evolved over time and do not allow us to go back to the origins, to the iPhone of 2007, they offer us a look that goes until 2013, and to the iPhone 5s and 5c. Either the first 64-bit iPhone and the last 32-bit.

But for this time travel to be meaningful, you obviously have to put things in perspective. And what better then than to confront the iPhones with their best enemies, the Galaxy S, from Samsung. Even if the Galaxy S are not the kings of endurance, they have a pretty good reputation in the field – even if now Chinese competitors have shaken all that. Nevertheless, let’s go back to 2013, and this is the Galaxy s4 who faced theiPhone 5s (and 5c).

Versatile autonomy, a long progression

If we focus on the versatile autonomy, which reproduces daily uses (surfing, mail, video, etc.), we then see that, contrary to what one might think, the iPhone 5s, and its battery of 1560 mAh, lasted longer than the smartphone from Samsung, and its battery much more substantial of 2600 mAh. Fifteen minutes, only, of course, but the iPhone had its hand. The triumph was short-lived, however.

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Things change the following year. For the first time, Apple is offering its smartphone in two models, the Iphone 6 and 6 More, for two screen sizes (4.7 and 5.5 inches), and two battery sizes (1810 and 2915 mAh). They hold respectively 5:45 and 6:41. Progress therefore, but not sufficient to continue to do better than the Galaxy s5, S5 mini and S5 Active. The distance is widening, and we can’t say that it’s because iPhones have smaller batteries. This is the case for the iPhone 6, but the 6 Plus benefits from the larger battery of this generation. For good measure, note that at the time, Samsung smartphones had slightly smaller panels.

For the next generation, in 2015, the gap remained betweeniPhone 6s Plus and the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, whose screen sizes get bigger and so do the batteries.

Samsung flies away

But, the real acceleration between the two opposing ranges will take place the following year, in 2016. The Galaxy s7 for the first time crossed the 10-hour mark of autonomy, even reaching 1:20 p.m. for the S7 Edge.

We will have to wait another year (2017) to see an iPhone cross the threshold of 10 hours of versatile autonomy. Only one of the three smartphones offered that year by Apple will cross this bar, it will be theiPhone X.

But it is also interesting to note that the autonomies of the 8 and 8 More evolve positively and strongly compared to previous models. THE’iPhone 8, the least enduring of the three models offered, does better than the 7 More the year before, which was the most autonomous. However, it has a much smaller battery (1,821 versus 2,900 mAh).

How to explain this change? No doubt through software optimization, iOS 11 contained improvements in this direction, but also and above all thanks to the A11 Bionic. It is indeed the first chip to integrate a graphics part specially developed by Apple, and no longer a custom version of a PowerVR GPU from Imagination Technologies.

In the meantime, however, Samsung’s smartphones have taken the lead when it comes to screen size and consistently boast more powerful batteries.

Let us stop for a moment to notice that the Galaxy s8, S9 and even S10 will not experience major performance changes in terms of autonomy. The S7 Edge appears to have set a high point, at 1 p.m., that won’t be matched or beaten until the Galaxy s10 + and its colossal battery for the time: 4,100 mAh.

In the meantime, the iPhones have also passed the ten hour mark of autonomy. As we have said, the first is the iPhone X, but for the next generation, made up of XS, XS Max and XR, the whole range crosses the threshold and offers autonomy greater than 11 hours. The XR, which compromises the quality / price ratio, while offering a nice screen size, even offers itself the generation record with 12 h… for a 2,942 mAh battery.

The tipping point for iPhones

Everything will change with the next generation. We are in 2019, and the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max suddenly shake things up. Where the previous generation iPhones did almost as well as the Galaxy s9 +, a generation considered disappointing in terms of autonomy, it should be noted that the iPhone 11 are taking off. To the point that the iPhone 11, the least enduring of the new range, is slightly more autonomous than the more enduring of the Galaxy, the S10 +, whose battery offers almost 1000 mAh more.

For this first generation Pro, the iPhones display 18:01 and 19:18 of versatile autonomy. Or at least almost four hours more than the best Galaxy S10.

In 2020, the vintage of Galaxy s20 is not the best in autonomy, with a low at 10:27 a.m. for the S20 and its 4000 mAh, and a peak set at 13:33 by the S20 FE. Blame it on 120 Hz panels that are a little too greedy, a priori, and a switch to 5G, perhaps.

For its part, Apple released five iPhones that same year. THE’iPhone SE second generation, which occupies the entry level and still carries a design with Touch ID at the bottom of the screen – that of the iPhone 8. The other four models make up the iPhone 12 family, with for the first time a mini (5.4-inch), two 6.1-inch models (one Pro and one non-Pro) and a 6.7-inch Pro Max.

This last model, while it carries a battery slightly smaller than that of the 11 Pro Max, reaches peaks of autonomy: 19 h 59. The iPhone mini, because of its compact size, is forced to maintain a rather small battery (2226 mAh) and only reaches 15 hours of autonomy. This figure is not entirely a coincidence since it is the threshold from which we can estimate that a smartphone will last a whole day if we do not use it too intensely.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro hold, them, a very honorable 5 pm, far ahead of the S20. At the same screen size, 6.7 inches, and with a slightly smaller battery, theiPhone 12 Pro Max holds almost 8:20 hours longer than the Galaxy S20 +. Apple’s internal hardware development efforts seem to be paying off in full. The switch to 5nm engraving for the A14 Bionic is not a detail either.

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A new step

But the story does not end there. Also in 2021, the two smartphone giants have updated their ranges. Despite progress on the part of Galaxy s21, the wave iPhone 13 seems irresistible on this point. All of Apple’s smartphones are on the rise – although that of the 13 mini is more anecdotal in versatile autonomy.

The advancements are evenly spread across the lineup, although the Pro models show the strongest progression. the 13 Pro Max allows itself to steal two crowns in our tests: that of the versatile autonomy and that of the autonomy in video streaming.

If the versatile autonomy test is in our eyes the one which is the most representative and close to classic daily use, we are also carrying out a video streaming autonomy test.

An area in which iPhones have historically been quite good, at least in comparison to the Galaxy S. However, what could be judged as slight dominance has taken on a new dimension this year, with the new video encoders / decoders of the A15 Bionic, introduced in the iPhone 13. Once again, Apple is playing its advantage on the mastery of hardware and software.

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With the exception of the 13 mini, which progresses slightly compared to the 12 mini, all new iPhone 13s explode in this test. Put simply, the less good of the big three iPhone 13s is doing almost as well as the best of the iPhone 12s last year. While the iPhone 13 Pro Max takes almost a day in video streaming … putting more than ten hours of autonomy between it and the best of the Galaxy S21 …

Whether we like it or not, and without this obviously predicting the future, the evolution of each other, iPhones are now very enduring smartphones, among the best in all categories.

Apple has been able to work on the optimization and integration of its chips, while controlling the arrival of a 120 Hz panel so as not to reduce autonomy, on the contrary even. Finally, without being as substantial as those found in Samsung smartphones, the batteries now offered by iPhones are not ridiculous. Far from there. Even if their size is not everything.

However, these results are not the result of luck, but of long-term work. A real positive point that can justify the purchase of an iPhone rather than a competing smartphone. This makes you almost confident in the fact that Apple will tackle the latest iPhone “flaws”, we are thinking in particular of the photographic part of which we said good and a little bad here.

However, before closing this little history of the progression of iPhone autonomy, we must tell you about a third test that we also carry out on all the smartphones that we receive in our laboratory: the communication test. It’s just a matter of making a call, making sure it isn’t interrupted, and seeing how long it takes for the device to fire up.

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In this case, it is the last pre-square of the Galaxy S, and especially an area where the iPhone has never excelled. Even though the iPhone 13 mini’s 14:42 non-stop phone call score is not good – it’s the worst of this generation, but it will still allow you to say a lot of things to your caller …

This historic test, which we now mainly use to detect a possible problem, with the 4G / 5G modem in particular, does not seem to be of real interest to Apple. No doubt because the American giant thinks that telephone discussions are not the main way to communicate today. Messages and audio calls on WhatsApp and dozens of other instant messengers don’t seem to prove him wrong. After all, isn’t that the credo of its App Store: ” There is an application for that “.

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