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iPhone 14 Pro battery life is worse than iPhone 13 Pro — what happened?

iPhone 14 Pro shown from front displaying iOS16 home screen
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 14 Pro has a lot going for it. From the Dynamic Island to the cameras and display, Apple's latest Pro phone is very good overall — it's on our best phones list for a reason. But there's one single thing about the iPhone 14 Pro that really irritates me as I've used the device: the battery life. 

Having come from an iPhone 13 Pro Max, I expected to see a slight dip in battery life given that the 6.7-inch Pro Max has a larger batter than the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro. But since my phone arrived last week, the drop-off has been bigger than expected. 

At first, I wanted to give the device time to settle in. Initial setup can be challenging for the hardware since it's getting everything going and the cache built. But here I am five days later and things haven't improved. 

Before I could easily get two days on a charge when using the iPhone 13 Pro Max. My usage hasn't changed with the iPhone 14 Pro, but the hit on battery life sure has — Apple's new phone barely makes it through a day. I used to go to bed with about 70% battery remaining on the 13 Pro Max, now I put my 14 Pro on the charger with about 15% to 20% on my battery indicator.

I can't compare the iPhone 14 Pro directly to its predecessor, as I had to turn the iPhone 13 Pro back in after reviewing it. But last year's Pro model still has a spot on our best phone battery life list, and the lab results show why.

iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When we test phone batteries, we set the device's display to 150 nits and then task it to endlessly reload web pages over a cellular connection. The iPhone 13 Pro went for 12 hours and 18 minutes. The iPhone 14 Pro? 10 hours and 13 minutes, a delta of more than two hours.

Your guess as to what happened is as good as mine. I have no idea why battery life has dipped from one year to the next, both in our iPhone testing and my experience. It's particularly baffling given that the A16 Bionic powering the iPhone 14 Pro ought to be more power-efficient than the A15 Bionic inside the iPhone 13 Pro. But perhaps all of that new performance gusto drains the battery more than the A15 did.

Another culprit could be the new always-on display, which will obviously sap more power than a screen fully off. I have yet to try switching AOD off because I like it so much. If my battery life doesn't improve by week's end, I will turn off AOD over the weekend to see if I notice a change.

There's some caveats here. Even with the noticeable drop from the iPhone 13 Pro's battery time, the iPhone 14 Pro still produced a better-than-average result on our smartphone test. It also lasts longer than the iPhone 12 Pro does, so if you're upgrading from that model, you may be perfectly pleased with how long the iPhone 14 Pro lasts on a charge.

I wish I could say the same. For now, I'm hoping that iOS 16 software updates — the 16.1 beta is currently available — delivers some sort of improvement. Stay tuned to see if this Apple offers any sort of improvement.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.

  • BDComer
    Battery size matters!
    Reply
  • Amigo del ave
    I feel like a sucker for reading this piece. I see the 14 definitely has issues given the numbers—until the author casually mentions he had the display always on…
    Uuh..
    Derf da der da der
    Whodathunk a display would need power?
    Reply
  • derykanthony
    I don't get it. Why is the author of this article comparing the battery life of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 Pro? These phones are very different in battery size. A proper comparison would be between the 13 and 14 Pro Max. This article is a nothing-burger.
    Reply