iPhone 12’s battery sizes just revealed — and it’s bad news

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
(Image credit: Apple)

There’s been speculation about the size of the iPhone 12’s battery for months, but now we’re finally starting to get some answers. And it doesn't look like good news.

Evidently, the iPhone 12 really has a smaller battery than the iPhone 11, even though Apple rates the phones for similar usage times. And the iPhone 12 mini's battery is one of the smallest we've seen in a while.

This new information comes from filings to ANATEL, Brazil’s equivalent of the FCC, (via Technoblog). The iPhone 12's battery has a listed capacity of 2,815 mAh, compared to 3,110 mAh found in the standard iPhone 11.

It's also confirmed that the iPhone 12 mini has an even smaller 2,227 mAh battery, which makes sense given that this 5.4-inch phone has a more compact design than the 6.1-inch iPhone 12.

According to Apple's own tech specs for the iPhone 12, it's rated for 17 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streamed video playback and up to 65 hours of audio playback. The iPhone 11 has similar numbers, but the iPhone 12 is actually rated for one more hour of streamed video playback.

The iPhone 12 mini is rated for just 15 hours of video playback, 10 hours of streamed video and 50 hours of audio.

We run our own battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over cellular at 150 nits of brightness until the battery dies. The iPhone 11 clocked 11 hours and 16 minutes over 4G, landing the device on our best phone battery life list. However, 5G tends to use more power, so we'll have to see how long the iPhone 12 lasts.

Due to its 5nm manufacturing process, the A14 Bionic chipset in all four models of iPhone 12 promises greater efficiency over the A13 Bionic in the iPhone 11 handsets. So this chip should go a long way towards keeping the iPhone 12 and iPhone mini from running out of juice too quickly.

The iPhone 12 series also features Smart Data Mode, which can automatically switch from 5G to 4G in certain scenarios. For example, if you're streaming music with the screen off, the iPhone 12 will drop back to 4G. 

Overall, the battery sizes of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are disappointing, but hopefully their endurance in our testing and in the real-world will surpass our expectations.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.