What Drains Your iPhone Battery?

Battery life has long been a complaint not just amongst iPhone users, but across all smartphones. What drains your iPhone battery?

For a bit of fun – and with a spare month to do some testing – I decided to test some different scenarios, to see what exactly sucks the battery.

My test device is an original, officially unlocked iPhone running whited00r 6.1 custom firmware. It is on the Virgin UK network and connected to my 802.11g wireless network at a distance of 20 feet.

Test 1: Airplane Mode with WiFi On

The first test was with the phone in airplane mode, but with WiFi turned on and connected to my home wireless network. Airplane mode shuts off the phone signal, making the phone act like an iPod touch.

Test 2: SIM in with WiFi On

The second test was with a SIM card in the phone connected to a cellular network and with WiFi turned on and connected to my home wireless network. No additional apps were installed.

Test 3: SIM in with WiFi On and Push Notifications

The third test was more of a real world test. It had a SIM card, so the phone was connected to a cellular network. It had WiFi turned on and connected to my home wireless network. I installed the Twitter and FaceBook apps and set up push notifications as well as setting Mail to fetch my email every hour.

Battery Life

Test 1 lasted an amazing 19 days and 19 hours. But it was in airplane mode, not phone mode.

Test 2 lasted a slightly shorter 11 days and 19 hours. Pushing nearly two weeks out of a phone is great and something you only used to see from a mono Nokia from the 90s. This shows that if you are just after an iPhone for phone purposes, an original model can be had for very little money and won’t have you chained to a charging point.

Test 3 was a lot shorter at only 3 days, but it shows more of an average use from an iPhone with a fair amount of data activity.


Possible Future Tests

Test 4, which I didn’t perform but would be interesting to try out, would have been Airplane mode with WiFi turned off to see how long it would have lasted with no signal or data.

Test 5, which I also didn’t perform, would have been Airplane mode with WiFi turned off and the music player set to shuffle to see how the battery would last acting just as a music player aka an iPod touch.


It is data that zaps the iPhone battery. It was quite expected. Being connected to the Internet all the time and having apps pushing info to your device takes a huge toll on your battery.

Life before Internet on your phones and nobody worried about whether your phone battery would make the end of the day. Most pre-internet phones would see the end of the week with no problems.

An interesting experiment – one that proves smartphones needs better batteries.

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