iPhone 5 Battery Life Reduced Due to LTE Signal Strength

| News

iPhone 5 LTE Battery Life

The iPhone 5’s battery life is greatly reduced depending on the strength of the cellular signal received by the phone, according to extensive testing performed by iLounge Monday. While all cellular devices experience decreased battery life when cellular signals are weak, the relatively few areas with strong LTE signals means that iPhone 5 users may see less than half of Apple’s advertised running time.

iLounge examined both AT&T and Verizon iPhones in a series of tests that looked at Wi-Fi only, voice, and LTE battery life. No tests reached Apple’s advertised running times, but the Wi-Fi only test came closest, at 8.5 hours compared to Apple’s advertised 10 hours with cellular data turned off. Once cellular data was turned on, even if network traffic was being routed via Wi-Fi, battery life dropped to about 5.5 hours.

When routing data via LTE cellular networks, battery life was significantly below Apple’s advertised 8 hours. AT&T LTE browsing lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes, while Verizon LTE browsing fared only slightly better, at 5 hours 15 minutes. As noted by iLounge, the LTE tests were conducted with only two bars of signal strength, and those in areas with stronger signal will likely experience longer running times.

Voice calling time is also down: the AT&T iPhone 5 lasted 6 hours and 15 minutes while the Verizon model lasted 6 hours and 6 minutes, far shy of Apple’s claimed 8 hours of calling time.

iPhone 5 Battery Life Comparison

Although not able to take advantage of high speed LTE networks, the iPhone 4S beat the iPhone 5’s running time in nearly all areas, which iLounge suggests is something that new or prospective iPhone owners need to consider:

As much as we’d love to be able to say that the iPhone 5 is an “all day” phone, it’s still not: just like most of its predecessors, Apple prioritized new thinness and speed over battery life. Consequently, it’s advisable to keep a charging cable nearby, lest you find yourself out of juice at or before 5pm. This isn’t terribly different from the iPhone 4S, and your mileage will vary depending on local cell tower strength, but it was certainly disappointing for us—battery life is certainly one of the two biggest issues with the iPhone 5.

All cellular devices experience reduced running time in areas of low signal strength, and the relative lack or weakness of LTE signals compared to the 3G signals relied upon by previous generations of iPhones likely plays a large role in the iPhone 5’s decreased battery life. As carriers continue to transition to and expand their LTE networks, many iPhone customers may find themselves with only one or two bars of LTE signal strength in areas in which they previously had four or five bars of 3G strength.

“By replacing some 3G/4G tower capacity with LTE, carriers have reduced signal strength on their older networks, impacting speeds while causing battery drain to be higher. If you live in an area with strong LTE or 3G/4G signal strength, your numbers will be closer to Apple’s claims,” iLounge explains.

As no model of iPhone contains a user-swappable battery, customers concerned with battery life may wish to consider a case with an included battery or a portable battery charging device.

Teaser graphic via Shutterstock.

[via MacRumors]

Popular TMO Stories



I’ve got Mobile Data turned off on my iPhone 5 cause there’s no LTE where I live and I use an external mobile WiFi hotspot wigit for internetting.
So I guess I’m not affected by this ?

Dave Hamilton

This leads me to think that perhaps an experiment with the Settings > General > Cellular > Enable LTE turned to OFF would yield something better (especially in areas where there is no LTE at all, under the premise that the phone will continually search for an LTE signal when otherwise on 3G).

The Drew

I have spotty LTE coverage, iphone5 would get hot, and battery would drain.  I fixed if by disable LTE, now phone is cooler and battery lasts as long as my old iphone4.  Settings-General-Cellular-Enable LTE=OFF

Paul Guy

I pull all the stops out as much as I possibly can on my iPhone!

Firstly, I turn off the Cellular connection which can be found under ‘Settings’, then ‘General’ when I only want to be able to make and receive calls and texts, and not any kind of Data usage.

I don’t have any Bluetooth accessories for my device, so I keep Bluetooth turned off. Also my WiFi connection is ‘Off’ most of the time unless I need it.

Same with ‘Location Services’, ‘Push’ email which I set to ‘Manual’, as I don’t get a lot of important messages anyway!

This applies to LTE which I only really use for Audio/Video streaming from YouTube etc. Here in Britain we have EE (Everything Everywhere) who is the sole provider of 4G LTE services, in just a handful of cities at the moment. I’m lucky enough to be in one of them, and typically get 4 out of 5 bars at the most. 

I’ve found that temporarily taking my phone out of it’s case while watching YouTube etc on it, not only improves reception, but also keeps it cooler as well unless you have the ‘whole’ of your hand wrapped around itl

When charging your phone, take it out of its case and place it on a cool surface that can draw heat from it, say a dinner plate. Even put it on it’s side to let cool air get around it.  I’ve found this to work well!

Lastly, I’d recommend closing any apps you aren’t using that might be running in the background, (this being part of the Multi-tasking feature of iOS) by double clicking the Home Button, then tap and hold one of the running apps until you see them Jiggle, and a Close symbol appears in the Top Left corner of each app, instead of the usual ‘X’ symbol used for deleting!

Hope this helps!

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account