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iPhone 15 just got a big battery upgrade that might impact your next iPhone purchase

Published Feb 21st, 2024 6:50AM EST
iPhone 15 Pro on a table.
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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 If you’ve bought one of the four iPhone 15 models that Apple launched in September, you should know that Apple quietly upgraded your battery without actually doing anything to the phone. Apple published a support document explaining that the iPhone 15 series might have double the lifespan of its predecessors. 

That is, your iPhone 15 flavor might last for 1,000 complete cycles, compared to 500 cycles for its predecessors. This upgrade is terrific news if you’re the kind of iPhone owner who purchases a new model every three to four years or longer.

Battery life isn’t the only thing I care about when it comes to my iPhone. Battery health is also an important aspect. As long as the battery health tops 80%, performance won’t degrade. Though, yes, you will lose battery life with each percentage loss. Battery health measures the maximum charge your battery can hold. The information appears in the Settings app in the Battery menu. 

Apple updated a support document with new information about battery cycles for its iPhones. That’s where the iPhone 15 battery health upgrade comes from: 

Batteries of iPhone 14 models and earlier are designed to retain 80 percent of their original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles under ideal conditions.* 

Batteries of iPhone 15 models are designed to retain 80 percent of their original capacity at 1000 complete charge cycles under ideal conditions.* 

With all models, the exact capacity percentage depends on how the devices are regularly used and charged.

There’s a footprint there, so I’ll mention it as well, as it’s an important disclaimer: 

When you use your iPhone, its battery goes through charge cycles. You complete one charge cycle when you’ve used an amount that represents 100 percent of your battery’s capacity. A complete charge cycle is normalized between 80 percent and 100 percent of original capacity to account for expected diminishing battery capacity over time.

How to fast charge iPhone 15 Pro
An iPhone 15 Pro charging with a USB-C cable. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

A cycle represents the discharge of 100% of your battery capacity, as Apple explains in a different support document. But a cycle doesn’t have to be a complete discharge from 100% to 0%. Remember that the iPhone 15 models also let you stop charging at 80% to improve battery health. A cycle is the use of 100% of your battery capacity: 

For instance, you might use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, you will have discharged a total of 100%, and the two days will add up to one charge cycle. It could take several days to complete a cycle.

I will say that I’ve used the iPhone X for five years after getting it on launch day in 2017. I never expected it to last this long, but it did. It went through nearly 1,700 cycles before the battery dropped under 80%. My iPhone 14 Pro, which I bought on its launch date, has gone through 349 cycles in almost 18 months, and battery health is 89%.

What I’m getting at is that the iPhone 15 might last well over 1,000 cycles if you take care of it. 

I’ll also remind you that the iPhone 15 Pro Max and 15 Plus offer amazing battery life, especially the latter. It’ll be quite a while until you go through those 1,000 cycles. 

The iPhone 15 and 15 Pro have smaller batteries, so battery life might not be as good. But there are ways to improve the iPhone 15 Pro’s battery life. José Adorno and I both have found that turning off the Always On display boosts battery life on our iPhone 15 Pro and 14 Pro, respectively.

Furthermore, while testing the phone in its early days, I also turned off ProMotion on my iPhone 14 Pro and forgot to reenable it. That might be why my iPhone 14 Pro battery life has been so good when others complained. There are plenty of iPhone battery tips you can use to further improve battery life.

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.