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Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max battery life: all good except for this one thing


There are two big reasons why you might want the iPhone 12 Pro Max over the other new iPhones: the bigger display and the bigger battery.

And indeed, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery cell inside, the biggest of all new iPhones. In fact, here is how the iPhone 12 Max battery size compares to the size of batteries on the other iPhones in the family:

  • iPhone 12 Mini battery capacity: 2227 mAh
  • iPhone 12 / 12 Pro battery capacity: 2815 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max battery capacity: 3687 mAh

Such a huge battery (for iPhone standards) should result in excellent real-world battery life results, but there is no way to know this without testing. And testing we did! We ran a bunch of in-depth battery tests so you understand exactly what you can expect of the Pro Max and its bigger battery.

iPhone 12 Pro Max: YouTube Video Streaming Battery Test

Watching videos on YouTube is a favorite pastime for many, and YouTube can easily replace TV for some people, so this test is a very good indication about the battery life you can expect out of the new iPhone 12 Pro Max in real life.

So how long does it last? The 12 Pro Max scored 8 hours and 37 minutes on our YouTube video streaming battery test, just a bit less than last year’s iPhone 11 Pro Max, which scored 8 hours and 58 minutes on the very same test. And that really is no surprise, after all, the new 12 Pro Max happens to have a smaller battery cell than its predecessor.

iPhones are traditionally not very good performers on this test, but recently some Android phones have lost ground. For example, the Note 20 Ultra did surprisingly poorly on this test, scoring just 7 hours, less than the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The earlier S20 Ultra model, however, had the iPhone beat with a score of 10 hours and 29 minutes. Don’t forget that you can also add your favorite phone to this chart and see how it performed on this test, chances are high that we have tested it!

iPhone 12 Pro Max: Web Browsing Battery Test

Despite the smaller-sized battery compared to last year’s iPhone 11 Pro Max, the new 12 Pro Max managed to outlast it by a small, but not insignificant margin. The new 12 Pro Max lasted an impressive 14 hours and 6 minutes on our web browsing test. This test is the lightest one that we run and it’s a good representation of how your phone will hold up for just basic everyday tasks like browsing the web and scrolling around.

Interestingly, despite many Android phones having much larger batteries (the S20 Ultra features a 5,000mAh cell), the iPhone 12 Pro Max is well optimized for this kind of use and it actually lasts longer than all of those. So if you read a lot on the web and do mostly lighter workloads, the 12 Pro Max will easily impress you with its longevity.

iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3D Gaming Battery Test

If you’ve read our iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro battery test, as well as our iPhone 12 Mini battery test, you already know that the lastest iPhones fail our 3D gaming battery benchmark spectacularly, so it won’t be a surprise for you to know that the iPhone 12 Pro Max did just as poorly as the rest of the phones. The phone started to heat up unlike any other phone we have tested and the battery was melting as fast as pistachio ice cream in the summer heat. Yes, the Pro Max lasts a big longer than the other three new iPhones simply because it has a larger battery, but its score is abnormally low.

Naturally, we had to investigate! We reached out to our superhero cape and gaming gear, it was gametime! We started playing various games and we noticed the same issue replicate in some games. For example, Minecraft was melting the battery, while other games seemed unaffected by it. The popular Call of Duty Mobile ran just fine without the phone heating up and with a battery drain to the tune of about 15% an hour. That is much more reasonable, and would give the iPhone 12 Pro Max a 3D gaming battery life of more than 6 hours.

So, investigation complete: it seems that certain games are not optimized for the all-powerful new Apple A14 chip inside and run wild and free, not putting any caps on the chip and it drains the battery incredibly quickly. Fortunately, this doesn’t affect all games.

Final words

If you are not a gamer, chances are that you will be impressed with the battery life on the 12 Pro Max. And if you are, you will still be fine unless you stumble upon one of those problematic games that drain the battery abnormally.

What are your impressions with the iPhone 12 Pro Max? How long does its battery last you?

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