My 11-month-old iPhone 14 Pro has a big battery life problem

iPhone 14 Pro Max lying on a table, showing the Battery section of the Settings app.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Apple launched the iPhone 14 Pro almost a year ago. Hard to believe, right? It had some decent upgrades from its predecessor by having an always-on display (AOD), the Dynamic Island, a 48MP main camera, and the faster A16 Bionic chip. All-in-all, it was a pretty exciting upgrade.

The iPhone 14 Pro was also supposed to have better battery life than the iPhone 13 Pro, but after nearly a year of use, I haven’t felt that is the case — and I’m not alone. Other people in the industry have also been saying that it feels like the iPhone 14 Pro has had noticeably worse battery life compared to previous generations, despite Apple’s claims.

On top of that, battery degradation with the iPhone 14 Pro is worse compared to previous years. I have a launch day iPhone 14 Pro, and as of this writing, it is sitting at 93% maximum capacity — a few days ago, this number was at 94%, so it continues to drop at a steady pace.

This isn’t a new thing with the iPhone, but it feels like it’s noticeably worse this time around. And with the iPhone 15 around the corner, this is an issue that Apple needs to address sooner rather than later.

Some history of Apple’s battery woes

iPhone 14 Pro showing battery charge levels.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

In 2016, Apple faced the “batterygate” controversy. This was when people accused Apple of deliberately slowing down older model iPhones ahead of the launch of a new iPhone — basically planned obsolescence. Apple had argued that this was to prevent devices with degraded batteries from shutting down under high loads. But batterygate really exploded when people began seeing unexpected shutdowns on their iPhones once the battery percentage reached around 30%.

Since then, Apple added a feature in iOS 11.3 called “Battery Health.” With this feature, users are able to get more insight into how their iPhone battery is doing in terms of capacity.

Lithium-ion batteries, which is what the iPhone uses, chemically age and degrade throughout the life cycle of the device they’re in. As that battery ages, the amount of charge that it holds diminishes. As a result, the time before it needs to be recharged again is shortened.

iPhone 14 Pro showing battery capacity from Settings.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

According to Apple’s claims, iPhone batteries are “designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles when operating under normal conditions.” Apple even implements some safety measures in iOS itself to help users preserve battery lifespans, like Optimized Battery Charging and Clean Energy Charging.

As I write this, I just checked the battery health again on my launch day iPhone 14 Pro. It’s currently at 93%, and I used coconutBattery on my iMac to determine the cycle count: 299.

It doesn’t look like I’m getting the worst of it, though, as there are people who also have launch-day devices and are in the high 80th percentile. Apple typically recommends getting a battery replacement once the maximum capacity is under 80%, but it’s only been 11 months, and people are already reaching that replacement threshold.

Seems a little, I don’t know … bad?

The iPhone 14 Pro has been a big disappointment

iPhone 14 Pro battery life settings.
Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

It’s been a double-edged sword with the battery on my iPhone 14 Pro. The more times I charge it, the shorter the battery life becomes, but with the capacity already degrading so quickly, I have to charge it up sooner each day.

My typical charging routine is to use a cable overnight and typically in the middle of the day when I’m at home. However, when I’m out for an extended period of time and need to charge (i.e. Disneyland), I usually will use my Anker PopSocket MagSafe battery pack. The issue with this is that the battery pack gets unusually warm when it’s charging, and the unbearably hot weather lately hasn’t been helping.

I also have a regular power bank that has integrated cables (convenient) that I use also use, but I prefer MagSafe since it’s wireless. In my car, I also have a MagSafe charging puck that’s attached to my vent.

I absolutely love MagSafe chargers; it’s just so convenient to slap a battery pack on the back of my iPhone 14 Pro that stays in place and charges up the phone. But in my experience, wireless charging makes the iPhone 14 Pro get incredibly warm — to the point where it’s uncomfortable to hold — and those excessive temperatures certainly don’t help the battery lifespan.

Christine Romero-Chan uses her iPhone 14 Pro with an Anker PopSocket battery pack attached.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I recently got in my car in the middle of the day while it was parked in my driveway in 90-degree heat. My iPhone 14 Pro connected wirelessly to my Nexar dashcam, my car’s Bluetooth system, and I pulled up some directions in Apple Maps. In less than five minutes, my phone was overheating, as I got a popup saying, “iPhone needs to cool down,” and my battery took a big dip. And no, my iPhone 14 Pro does not have the iOS 17 beta on it; I’m just running the latest version of iOS 16.6 as of this writing.

The battery life of my iPhone 14 Pro has been a roller coaster — it seemed fine and manageable a few updates ago, but then a new update dropped, and battery life takes a hit. And then it may be slightly better with another update until the whole process repeats itself all over again.

Battery life has been an issue on the iPhone for many years, but it feels particularly worse this time around; my iPhone 13 Pro battery capacity didn’t drop this fast a year after its launch. After playing around with some Android phones with close to 5,000mAh batteries that can last well over a day, it’s made it clear to me how much Apple needs to step up and improve the battery life of future iPhones.

And it’s not just the iPhone 14 Pro either. I’ve spoken with my colleague, Joe Maring, and his iPhone 14 Pro Max with 100% battery health capacity is now ending moderate-use days with around 20% remaining. One of the selling points of the Max models is supposed to be the much superior battery life, but that’s been a harder argument to make as the year’s gone on.

Can the iPhone 15 Pro fix this?

Render of the iPhone 15 Pro in red.

We are just a few weeks away from Apple’s iPhone 15 announcement, which will also include the iPhone 15 Pro. I’m hoping that Apple will make some improvements to the battery with the iPhone 15, especially since it’s rumored to be going to USB-C and even have faster charging speeds.

The addition of USB-C will be a big deal for more convenient charging, but Apple also has to put in the work to make sure those recharges happen less frequently with its latest generation of iPhones. Having one less cable to deal with is a big deal, but so is having battery life you can actually depend on.

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