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Battery life test crowns iPhone 15 Plus as the new king, not the iPhone 15 Pro Max

Published Sep 25th, 2023 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro on a shelf.
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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You’d think the iPhone 15 Pro Max would be the best choice for consumers looking for stellar battery life above all else. After all, the handset has the brand new 3nm A17 Pro chip that’s more efficient than anything else in the industry. And the iPhone 15 Pro models are slightly thicker than the base iPhone 15 and their predecessors.

But it turns out that battery life tests will give you a much different result. It’s actually the same-size iPhone 15 Plus that will offer the best possible battery life. Not just out of the iPhone 15 series but any other iPhone out there. It even beats the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is practically an iPhone 15 Plus variation. And it outlasts the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the surprising battery life king from a couple of years ago.

The battery life test comes courtesy of Mrwhosetheboss, the same YouTuber who gave us similar battery life tests in previous years. That’s why this battery life test is so relevant for the state of the iPhone, September 2023 edition.

We have a similar battery discharge test going on as in the past. One that mimics actual iPhone use compared to Apple’s battery life estimates. Apple uses video playback, streamed video playback, and audio playback to figure out its battery life estimates. As if you’d do any of those things continuously on an iPhone.

Even so, the iPhone 15 Plus is better on paper than the iPhone 15 Pro Max when it comes to audio playback time. But otherwise, it should match the iPhone 14 Pro Max in video playback tests. And both devices should last longer than the iPhone 15 Plus.

Battery life estimates for iPhone 15 Pro Max, 15 Plus, and 14 Pro Max.
Battery life estimates for iPhone 15 Pro Max, 15 Plus, and 14 Pro Max. Image source: Apple Inc.

That’s why tests like the one from Mrwhosetheboss are more relevant. The YouTuber put each of the iPhones below through the same battery life test, running the same suite of apps on each device, which featured the same settings. Give or take a 5G mistake for one of the devices that still had a SIM on for three hours (the 15 Pro Max).

With that in mind, here’s how long it took for each of the seven phones in the battery test to die out:

  • iPhone 14 – 9 hours and 2 min
  • iPhone 15 Pro – 9 hours and 20 min
  • iPhone 15 – 9 hours and 57 min
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max – 10 hours and 54 min
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max – 11 hours and 19 min
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max – 11 hours and 41 min
  • iPhone 15 Plus – 13 hours and 19 min

The iPhone 15 Plus battery life is incredibly surprising. The YouTuber says he did “not see coming the winner of this entire test and by far the longest score [he had] ever recorded slash had to sit through,” the iPhone 15 Plus.

I expected the new Plus to be close to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but we’re looking at a difference of 2 hours and 38 minutes. If you want battery life the most out of the iPhone, the iPhone 15 Plus would be the handset to go this year.

iPhone 13 Pro Main
iPhone 13 Pro display. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

I will point out that the Plus model does have an advantage over the Pro Max: More internal space. After all, the Pro Max has three cameras on the back. But for the iPhone 15 series, Apple made the Pro Max thicker than the corresponding Plus. On the same note, the iPhone 15 should feature a slightly larger battery pack than the iPhone 15 Pro. The same space constraints apply.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max also continues to surprise pleasantly, as its battery life is almost on par with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Then again, last year’s iPhone 14 battery life test from the same YouTuber hinted that the iPhone 13 Pro Max would beat the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The iPhone 15 Pro is at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to surprises. I’d have expected it to outlast the iPhone 15, but I’d have been wrong.

That said, Mrwhosetheboss points out these are great battery life results for these iPhones. Most of them should last you through the day, depending on how heavy a user you are. But if you want multi-day battery life, you have to get a Plus or Pro Max.

You can check out the battery life test below in full to see how the iPhones fared during the various apps they ran. You’ll see that the iPhone 15 Plus wasn’t the leader of the pack at all times.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.