iPhone 12 battery life is dramatically worse than iPhone 11: Here's how to fix it

(Image credit: Apple)

The first wave of iPhone 12 reviews has arrived and overall it seems like Apple has another winner on its hands with the new design and displays receiving high marks across the board. There has, however, been one consistent concern showing up in virtually every review: below-average battery life.

Apple reduced the size of the batteries in the iPhone 12 models, and while this alone wouldn't be a problem due to the superior power efficiency of the A14 Bionic processor, new 5G radios are causing the battery life Jenga tower to come crashing down.

This isn't shocking; it's a problem we saw during the initial transition to 4G ten years ago and a problem Android phones have contended with as they moved to 5G over the last couple of years. The answer for most Android manufacturers has been to simply throw in larger batteries, but Apple chose not to go that route.

Before you dismiss this as possibly a minor drop in battery life, based on the testing of our sister site Tom's Guide, it can cost you two hours or more. The iPhone 12 Pro saw a 2 hour and 18-minute drop when using 5G (9:06) vs. 4G (11:24) and the iPhone 12 saw a 1 hour and 58-minute drop on 5G (8:25) vs. 4G (10:23).

The good news is that there is a simple solution to this problem. You just need to change a single setting on your iPhone 12 to turn off 5G. While Apple needed to add the feature from a marketing perspective, the simple truth is that, for most users, 5G isn't very useful today. However, having an extra two hours or more of battery life is definitely going to have a serious impact on your day-to-day usage.

How to turn off 5G on your iPhone 12

Settings may vary slightly depending on your carrier, but if you follow these steps, you should be able to find the appropriate options to switch to LTE-only on your iPhone 12.

  • Open Settings
  • Navigate to Cellular or Cellular Data
  • Select Cellular Data Options
  • Tap on Voice & Data and select LTE
Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.