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Here's how Apple can improve iPhone battery life

Key Points
  • We all want better battery life from our iPhones, so how can Apple improve it?
  • Adding larger battery packs should help, and it appears Apple has a way.
  • It can also focus on other areas that are known battery drains.
Customers check the new iPhone X in London.
Getty Images

If there's one thing people want most out of their iPhones, it's longer battery life.

Apple, likely in an effort to keep its phones nice and thin, offers much smaller batteries than its competitors, including the Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8. As a result, its phones' battery life typically don't last as long.

Consumer Reports, which recently ranked the iPhone X below the iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung's new phones, specifically called out the iPhone X's relatively poor battery life. It lasted 19.5 hours in Consumer Reports' tests, compared with 26 hours from the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. What can Apple do to improve battery life?

Use higher-capacity batteries

Apple needs to work to try to squeeze higher-capacity batteries into its smartphones. In layman's words, this just means batteries with more juice to offer. The trouble is that, currently, doing so typically increases the size of the iPhone, often making it thicker than desired. Apple apparently has one solution: that, unlike a rectangular pack, will allow them to take up more space inside the iPhone body, and providing more juice.

Focus on low-power components

Apple's processors seem to do a good job managing power consumption, especially by cutting out background tasks and offloading cores that don't need to be used, but improvements can always be made. This is particularly important during times when users put strain on the processor, like while gaming or watching movies. Have you ever noticed, for example, how quick a battery drains while you're gaming for an hour? It's nuts. The more it can manage power there, the longer battery life we'll get. That's going to come down to processor improvements, so we'll see what Apple does with next year's chip.

Better cellular radio management

This is a tough one, but it would help. When a phone can't grab on to a wireless signal, it often pumps up the juice of the radios in an effort to reach out as hard as it can to catch on to a network. That's why, if you're ever riding on a subway, you'll notice that the battery drains much faster than if you had a cellular connection. Perhaps Apple can make the iPhone recognize when a cellular signal just isn't available, like in these situations, and turn off the wireless network momentarily. A user could currently do this on his own, but it's something most people don't know to do.

Improve quick charging

Apple's iPhones can charge quicker if you use larger power packs, like the one from your iPad (that's a pro tip if you haven't used it yet). Apple should include these larger packs inside the box of new iPhones, since it means folks won't be sitting at the outlet as long waiting for their iPhones to charge up. This could also be applied to wireless charging, which is still slow even after Apple's fast wireless charging update.

Stick to new OLED panels

Apple did a good job switching to OLED panels and all signs suggest it's going to continue to do so. They suck less juice from the battery than LCD panels in most cases, unless you have the brightness turned all the way up. Continuing to use these panels, and future displays that will require even less power, will also help improve battery life in the long run.