The iPhone 12 mini was rated at 15 hours of battery life by Apple. Given its size, this wasn’t to be sniffed at, but it soon became the main talking point of virtually every review.
The Verge placed the battery performance of Apple’s new, ultra-compact smartphone firmly in their ‘Bad Stuff’ category, suggesting that it was “below average”.
But it wasn’t long before reports of less than below-average battery life began to surface, following long-term tests by the tech press and owners.
Clearly, as lovely and desirable a device as the iPhone 12 mini was, it was simply too small for the ridiculously powerful tech it housed.
I’ve always found iPhone batteries to be fairly run-of-the-mill unless you go for the trouser-incompatible Max models. They’ll get you through a day, sure, but you’ll always have a sneaky eye on that battery percentage and the availability of a charging point.
The iPhone 13 mini is rather different. In fact, I’m genuinely surprised by how it performs.
My typical day
My first test for the iPhone 13 mini battery wasn’t exactly atypical. It featured a 1,000-foot hike up the tallest mountain in Wales and over 24-hours away from a charging point.
Regardless, it fared pretty well.
Since then, I’ve started using the iPhone 13 mini normally (I don’t hike up mountains every weekend, after all). And this is where it starts to get interesting.
The only Apple device of which I really test the limits is my 16GB M1 Mac mini. It’s my main video editing rig and gets pummelled with 4K video editing every single week. Every other device receives what I call ‘normal’ use.
The iPhone 13 mini is no different. Last week, I averaged nearly four hours of screen time and picked my phone up an average of 177 times per day.
Safari is my most used app, followed by WhatsApp, YouTube Studio, and Instagram. Throw in a bit of email work in Spark, a few listening sessions on Spotify, some channel management on Notion, and a good dose of YouTube, and you get the idea.
I don’t shoot 4K video very often, I never play games, and I rarely if ever trigger the LiDAR sensor.
How it performs
The iPhone 13 mini has a brilliant battery. There you go; I said it.
I never experienced the iPhone 12 mini’s battery performance. Therefore, I can’t comment on whether or not my use case would have resulted in the same poor results that others have experienced.
Regardless, whatever Apple has done this year to their tiniest smartphone appears to have worked wonders.
I’m not going to show you my battery performance results according to iOS. This is because I don’t understand them and the numbers they provide don’t appear to bear any relation to my day-to-day experiences with the phone.
Put simply, the iPhone 13 mini sails easily through a day. There are fluctuations in its performance, of course. Last night, for instance, I received the 20% battery warning at around 10 pm. But the night before that, I headed to bed with nearly 30% battery life remaining.
I can live with that, and that’s all you need to know about the iPhone 13 mini battery.
The iPhone 13 mini has a larger battery than its predecessor and one can assume that there must be increasingly smart software trickery going on behind the scenes to squeeze every last drop out of it. This is why Apple made such a big play for battery performance during their California Streaming event last month.
I feel like I’ve had this phone long enough to form a rounded opinion of how its battery life fares in normal, everyday life. And this is what has surprised me: it’s completely, totally normal.
Having read the reviews of the iPhone 12 mini, I was genuinely concerned that I’d have to give up the 13 mini at some stage due to poor battery performance.
Not so. The biggest selling point of this iPhone is definitely its size, but the biggest surprise is that the battery really is no big deal at all.