Battery life

Smaller battery surprises with better battery life, but the difference is not radical.

With all the talk about battery life all around, you’d expect Apple to bring a bigger battery in the iPhone 6s.

It didn’t.

In fact, the iPhone 6s has a smaller battery cell: 1715mAh vs 1800mAh on the iPhone 6.

Why? The main reason seems to be that 3D Touch required extra space and weight, so in order to keep the iPhone at the same impressive thinness and to not make it too heavy, Apple had to use a slightly smaller battery. Not only that, though: with the new, more power-efficient silicon, Apple is able to squeeze comparable real-life battery life of the 6s as on the 6, if not better.

In order to test the difference, we run our custom battery life test: screens pre-set at 200 nits, running a script that emulates typical phone use with no screen off time. There is a big improvement here: the iPhone 6s gest 8 hours and 15 minutes on this test, a more than 50% better showing than that of the iPhone 6, which has 5 hours and 22 minutes.

In real-life, we’re seeing slightly better results with the 6s as well, but don’t expect it to last more than two days with heavier usage – you’d still have to go to the charger every night.

Apple also introduces a Low Power Mode in iOS 9. A reminder to turn on Low Power Mode automatically appears when your battery reaches below 20% – when you turn it on, you can tell by the color of the battery indicator – the icon turns yellow and percentage points appear. You can also enable this new mode anytime manually via the Settings if you want to squeeze the most out of the iPhone. What this new mode does is basically turn down background app refresh (you have to manually check for new email rather than get it pushed to you) and animations. Low Power Mode in iOS 9 on both the 6s and the 6 is nothing like the radical Ultra Power Saving Mode on Samsung phones: it brings much more subtle change and much more subtle gains in battery life.

Charging times are depressingly slow on both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6. It’s still beyond us how it takes two hours and a half on both latest iPhones to fully charge their batteries. Apple has something to learn here: rival products like the Galaxy S6 charge a much bigger battery in half the time.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6s 8h 15 min (Average)
Apple iPhone 6 5h 22 min (Poor)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6s 150
Apple iPhone 6 147


If you’ve read everything so far, you probably know the answer to the ultimate question that we ask ourselves in the conclusion: is it worth upgrading to the iPhone 6s from the iPhone 6?

It’s hard to see a convincing reason to do so right now: 3D Touch is nice, but a limited number of third-party apps are supporting it and even some apps by Apple don’t support it yet, the new system chip is faster, but the perceived improvement is very minimal and the same goes for the new cameras. Real-life battery life is also just slightly better and both iPhones have equally great-looking displays.

From a purely practical perspective, we’re – – most impressed with 3D Touch and all the potential that comes with it, but also with Live Photos and 4K video, which looks a lot better than 1080p. If money is not an issue, these are indeed meaningful improvements across the board with the iPhone 6s, so you have a good enough reason to upgrade from the 6. Gamers should also be excited about the A9 and 3D Touch in games. For all the rest that are looking for a more practical reason to upgrade (rose gold does not count) and are more or less on budget, we'd say you'll be perfectly OK if you just stick with the iPhone 6 for another year.

Apple iPhone 6s


  • Future proof with amazing spec sheet
  • Apple A9 is a monster for games and demanding tasks
  • New rose gold color is dope
  • 3D Touch shows the way for the future
  • Great looking 4K video
  • Improved battery life

Apple iPhone 6


  • Lower price
  • Still excellent performance
  • Still great camera, on par with the 6s

New reasons to get excited every week

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