AMITIAE - Friday 1 November 2013

Cassandra: iPhone 5s Battery Life - Not What the Headlines Told me

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

A quick search of Google for "iPhone 5s+ Battery Life" will produce several links to stories this week that came about because some of the newest iPhones have batteries with manufacturing defects. Apple is aware and is going to replace the phones of those affected by this: as it should, of course.

Although the headlines and articles are sober enough, some of the content managed to find fire where there was not even any smoke: Brian X Chen, for example in NYTimes Blogs ending with a reference to a 2006 recall of laptop batteries which "contained cells manufactured by Sony, which were causing some batteries to explode." Find this yourself: this does not deserve a link.

I had one of those. It behaved perfectly, as did the replacement battery, but perhaps I am not clever enough to see the connection between my long-gone Mac and the iPhone, which was not even announced until 2007. As a note, iFixit identifies the battery in the iPhone 5s as "from Desay Battery Co., Ltd in Huizhou, China" and tells us it is "3.8V - 5.92Wh - 1560mAh battery." So, not even a Sony connection.

iPhone 5s - Apple image One of the reasons I was keen to make the switch to the iPhone 5s was that the 4S I have been using has a battery that, after 2 years constant use, is beginning to sag like my mother's chocolate cake. As long ago as last January, a trip of 3 days up to the north of Thailand saw the device shut down every afternoon as all the power was gone. These days, the charge only lasts a few hours.

I am not economical - electrically speaking - and have everything on: GPS, Bluetooth, 3G, and anything else that needs power. While I am out, I listen to music, check email and look at social networking sites several times during the day. I am a battery's worst enemy.

Out of the box, the iPhone 5s I bought yesterday was showing a charge of around 70%. While I was fiddling and farting around restoring the data from the MacBook Pro and finding a couple of passwords that went missing, it was being charged via the USB port and Lightning connector. I disconnected it around 7pm.

The iPhone 4S went on charge a couple of hours before bedtime, but when it was time for me to retire I saw that the battery indicator was still high on the 5s. As an experiment, I did not charge the new iPhone overnight. It was still good in the morning. Several messages and emails had arrived during the time I was asleep, so it was at work while I was not.

Still with a good charge shown on the indicator, I went to work and used the phone as normal all day, returning home as the sun went down. It still took over an hour before the 20% warning appeared: over 24 hours and still performing. I can live with that. I will not be asking Apple for a new iPhone just yet.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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