Dear iPhone 14 owners, don’t get mad over your fellow iPhone 15’s superb battery life – it’s stacked!

Dear iPhone 14 owners, don’t get mad over your fellow iPhone 15’s superb battery life – it’s
Jealous much? I’m addressing iPhone 14 owners. I realize this may sound like I am scoffing at them, but I'm not.

It’s just that in the last couple of days, there’s a thing that might get iPhone 14 owners somewhat irritated and angry. This time, the menace comes from the last place one could expect – from within. See, it’s not about Android or what Google said; the blow comes from Apple itself.

Apple delivers huge post-release iPhone 15 surprise that'll make iPhone 14 users jealous – this is what I’m referring to.

Apple said the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro's battery performance is better than what was initially estimated. Instead of the expected 500 complete charge cycles, after which the phone’s battery should retain 80% of its original capacity, Apple now has updated its estimates for the whole iPhone 15 line – the vanilla iPhone 15, the Xtra Large vanilla iPhone 15 Plus, the regular-sized champion iPhone 15 Pro, and the maxed-out both on the inside and the outside iPhone 15 Pro Max.

All the other older models, however, should expect battery health levels of 80% after 500 charge cycles, according to their official battery guideline that was updated recently.

But can you rely on this suddenly improved performance? That’s the question.

Let’s take a closer look and, also, let’s see if there’s a reason for iPhone 14 owners to be agitated.

What’s the secret with the iPhone 15’s battery?

If asked in September 2023 (right after the iPhone 15’s release) the “What’s the secret with the iPhone 15’s battery?” question would be no less sarcastic than, say, whatever Tyrion Lannister or Dr. House says on a good day.

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That’s because there was a notorious overheating problem with Apple’s latest handset back then – many complained that the phone’s temperature rose “from approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit to over 96 degrees”, thus lowering the battery life by a few percentage points in no time. Apple issued a software fix and put an end to the hot topic.

The iPhone 15 battery does not offer any insane charging speeds – like the Chinese flagships (and mid-rangers) do (some vivo, Realme and Xiaomi models offer charging speeds in the likes of 210W; for reference, the iPhone 15 goes up to 25W) – but there’s something new with the iPhone 15 battery. Apple bumped the battery capacity ever so slightly and did put more efficient processors and displays compared with the iPhone 14 series, but that’s not it.

“Stacked battery” vs “Winding battery”

The iPhone 15 utilizes larger cells via the “stacked” battery production method similar to what is used in electric vehicles. The non-stacked battery method for lithium-ion batteries is produced what’s known as a “winding battery”. Both methods have its own set of advantages and applications.

Let’s not talk about cathodes, anodes, and separators right now – it’s the end of the week!

  • Stacked Battery

Due to the way it’s constructed, the stacked battery method offers a more uniform and stable internal structure, which can potentially enhance the battery's energy density and stability.

On a side note: stacked batteries were expected on some, or all, of the Galaxy S24 devices with rumors stating that throughout 2023, but no such battery technology was announced on the Galaxy Unpacked event. Maybe it’s because the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset is power-efficient. But probably the S25 could get a stacked battery, who knows?

Back to the stacked topic: such batteries are often used in applications where space is limited and high energy density is required, but they’re also used in electric vehicles. The layering in stacked batteries can lead to improved efficiency and thermal management, but the manufacturing process might be more complex and costly compared to winding batteries.

  • Winding Battery (a.k.a. Wound or Spiral-Wound Battery)

This one has its materials folded in a cylindrical or prismatic shape. Wound batteries can be easier and less expensive to manufacture at scale and are generally robust, also they offer good mechanical stability. However, they might have slightly lower energy density compared to stacked batteries due to the space taken up by the winding process.

In short, the pros of using stacked batteries are:

  • They might offer higher energy density due to their efficient use of space.
  • They can potentially offer better temperature regulation because of their uniform internal structure.

The pros of using winding batteries are many, but mainly:

  • They are generally simpler and cheaper to manufacture than the stacked batteries.
  • They are known to be robust and can withstand physical stresses well.

It’s not that clear yet

Apple hasn’t officially stated if this – the usage of stacked batteries – is the reason behind the uplifting iPhone 15 battery announcement, but if this proves to be the case, you can expect other phone makers to announce this technology for their upcoming devices as well.

Before dropping the good news, tests were conducted by Apple: they charged and discharged the battery 1,000 times under specific circumstances representative of “common use cases”. Without going into details, the Cupertino giant said the updated battery components and better power management system are what contribute to battery longevity.

That’s the fine print, though: “common use cases”.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s certainly more than one way to screw up a battery’s health: 

  • High-temperature exposure
  • Deep discharges
  • Overcharging
  • Frequent fast charging
  • Age
  • High screen brightness
  • Background applications
  • Extreme cold exposure
  • Heavy usage
  • Faulty charging equipment
  • Physical damage

That’s not a short list and if something of the above becomes a habit/reality, then no amount of stacked batteries could save your iPhone 15 from getting its battery life degraded.

That’s why it’s mandatory to follow some simple rules for maximizing the battery life and lifespan (“battery life” is the amount of time your device runs before it needs to be recharged; “battery lifespan” is the amount of time your battery lasts until it needs to be replaced).

How can I keep my iPhone 15 battery healthy?

Here are some battery conservation ideas worth trying out:

  • Update software: Ensure your device runs the latest iOS version via Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Optimize settings: To save battery, dim your screen or use Auto-Brightness and keep Wi-Fi on to use less power compared to cellular data.
  • Enable Low Power mode: Activates at 20% or 10% battery level to extend battery life by reducing brightness, performance, and background app activity.
  • View battery usage: Check Settings > Battery to see which apps use the most battery and adjust settings like Background App Refresh and Location Services to improve battery life.
  • Manage notifications and Airplane Mode: Reduce battery drain from notifications and poor cell coverage by adjusting settings and using Airplane mode.
  • Use your head: Don’t leave your phone in the freezer, and don’t leave it on a car’s dashboard on a hot day. Don’t kick your phone with a pair of Doc Martens where the battery is located (don’t kick your phone at all, dude!)...

The iPhone 14 battery uproar

Okay, back to the iPhone 14 users: long before Apple said the iPhone 15 line is now set for enhanced battery performance in the long run, they had to express their frustration with the 14’s battery.

In the summer of 2023 (after less than a year of usage) some iPhone 14 users reported battery health status numbers south of 90%, which was “unacceptable”, as they put it. Reddit has a bunch of similar reports – many of which report problems after updating the iOS 17, although many state that “nothing changes” and that the battery health is not dropping at a faster pace.

It’s crucial to remember that phones, put in different scenarios, will behave differently. As our colleagues form iMore explain:

Is there anything to be bitter about?

If there’s anything iPhone users could be agitated about, it’s one of the following:

  • iPhone 15 owners who see their battery health degrading despite the latest uplifting news;
  • iPhone 14 owners who are of the group reporting battery problems;
  • iPhone 14 owners who bought the iPhone 14 AFTER the iPhone 15 was available*.

*The blame in this case is entirely on Apple. Prior to the iPhone 15 release, there were scarce reports about its stacked battery, but they should’ve been more vocal about it. They should have done those 1000 complete charge cycle tests beforehand, and they should have released the iPhone 15 with its glorious battery life cycle number in September 2023.

This kind of reminds me of Samsung’s major blunder with the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s display: that wasn’t a very bright move on their side, either.

Users who should not be bitter:

  • iPhone 15 owners at iPhone 14 owners for having (allegedly) better batteries (grow up);
  • iPhone 14 owners at iPhone 15 owners: technology evolves, and you can’t expect it to stay the same forever.

This is why my advice is:

Don’t get mad if your iPhriend succeeds

Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success, as the Poet said.

With an “iPhriend’s success”, that is.

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