iPhone 12 battery appears set for a downgrade

iPhone 12 design molds
(Image credit: JinStore)

iPhone 12 rumors have already suggested Apple may scale back the size of the batteries in its upcoming phones from the power packs it used in last fall's iPhone 11. And a new tweet from a phone leaker that points to overseas regulatory filings seems to back that claim up.

On Twitter, a user named Venkatesh Babu.G posted pictures of a battery associated with a SafetyKorea certification for a new phone. It's a 2,775 mAh battery, and the Twitter poster claims it will power either one of the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 models — the iPhone 12 Max or iPhone 12 Pro.

If that is an iPhone battery, it's smaller than anything that powers the models in the iPhone 11 lineup. The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro has the smallest battery, reportedly at 3,046 mAh. (Apple never officially announces battery sizes so that information comes from teardowns.) The 6.1-inch iPhone 11 has a 3,110 mAh battery.

Venkatesh Babu.G lists MySmartPrice in his Twitter bio, which is relevant as that's the site that reported earlier this month that all four iPhone 12 models will have smaller batteries than their iPhone 11 counterparts. Whether this is just further evidence backing up that claim or amplifying the earlier rumor is unclear.

Even if the rumor about smaller battery capacities in the iPhone 12 does pan out, it may not necessarily mean that the new iPhones won't last as long as the current iPhone models. Apple is moving to the A14 Bionic for this year's phones, and the 5-nanometer chip figures to be more power efficient than its predecessor. If that's true, then Apple may feel it can shrink the size of the batteries in its phones without sacrificing longevity.

It's not been an inspiring day for iPhone 12 rumors, as the iPhone battery tweet appeared at the same time that Japanese blog Macotakara was claiming that some iPhone 12 models may not appear until November.

Specifically, Macotakara cites information from "multiple suppliers in China" that COVID-19 delays will push back the iPhone 12 announcement into October. Only an LTE version of the iPhone 12 will ship that month, Macotakara reports, with 5G iPhone 12 models following in November.

It's a dubious report, given Macotakara's hit-and-miss record with iPhone rumors. We're especially skeptical because there's only been one report of an LTE-based iPhone 12 model — a $549 version that's otherwise not made much of a splash in the rumor mill. Most iPhone 12 speculation points to all the models Apple releases this year sporting 5G connectivity.

Other sources have suggested the any delays in the iPhone 12's announcement and release will be minor. One report from a Wall Street analysts predicts a late September announcement, but most rumors point to the phones arriving in October.

We're expecting four iPhone 12 models — an iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max, along with two iPhone Pro models. How big their batteries will be remains anyone's guess at this point.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.