With the iPhone 13 mini, Apple addressed the biggest complaint people had with its predecessor: battery life. The iPhone 12 mini combined the same high-end hardware as its bigger siblings with a much smaller battery and, as expected, struggled to last even into the night. The iPhone 13 mini is therefore equipped with a battery that is 10% larger (2,406 mAh) than that (2,227 mAh) on the iPhone 12 mini.
Apple says the improved endurance provides up to an hour and a half more runtime on a single charge. The iPhone 13 mini also lasts three hours longer if you stream a video online. But how does the increased battery actually perform in the real world?
After testing the iPhone 13 mini for nearly a month, the short answer is that the latest improvements are enough to stop worrying about your tiny iPhone dying in the middle of the day.
When I got the . assessed iPhone 12 mini after weeks of use I came to the conclusion that while the battery life is adequate for people like me who don’t watch a lot of movies on their phones or play games, it’s a deal breaker for those who do. The iPhone 13 mini strikes a balance in that equation in a way I didn’t expect from a 10% battery capacity.
At one time, the iPhone 13 mini can comfortably run for more than a day with energy to spare. I usually plug in my phone every day around 9am and by that time the iPhone 13 mini had clocked in over four hours of screen time. That’s largely identical to the iPhone 12 mini.
What’s different is that the 13 mini still has almost 20-30% of juice left even after 24 hours of use, which in my case means a few hours of calling, social media, web browsing and YouTube streaming. Pushing the 13 mini to zero brought the screen to nearly five o’clock on time — roughly in line with Apple’s own claims.
While the larger battery size takes most of the credit for the mini iPhone’s longer endurance this year, there’s another factor at play: the A15 Bionic chip. It’s more efficient at optimizing how much of your phone’s power apps can access and when. This means that even when you’re engaged in a labor-intensive activity, such as turn-by-turn navigation or streaming movies, the iPhone 13 mini’s battery capacity doesn’t drop dramatically. This is especially true for Apple’s internal services and apps.
So watching a 35-minute episode on the Apple TV+ app with Bluetooth headphones takes only a measly 4% battery charge. Likewise, on a recent road trip, I actively used Google Maps, but the 13 mini still managed to get to that five o’clock screen in time. I also took hundreds of photos and cinematic videos during the trip and surprisingly the camera app only took about 9% of the battery life.
When you switch to a third-party app like Disney+, the power consumption doubles. Streaming a one-hour documentary on Disney+, for example, netted 20% off available juice. The only realistic way to kill this phone before the end of the day is to play a high resolution game for hours on end. One full PUBG match (30 minutes), in my testing, consumed 15% of the battery.
Even if the iPhone 13 mini’s battery is low, it doesn’t take long to recharge it. Since the battery is still quite small, the 13 mini only takes 90 minutes to go from zero to 100% with a 20W adapter.
This year’s slightly thicker case has also allowed Apple to make way for a higher MagSafe wireless charging speed on its mini model. Unlike the 12 mini, which is limited to 12 watts, the 13 mini supports 15 watt MagSafe chargers and can be fully charged wirelessly in just over two hours.
When I bought the iPhone 12 mini, I had developed a habit of carrying a pocket-sized power bank with me every time I went out. With the iPhone 13 mini, I never had to reach for that. It delivers on Apple’s promises: it lasts much longer than its predecessor, is compatible with maximum MagSafe charging speeds, and does all that without compromising the mini form factor. So if you’re looking for a small phone that lasts longer, the iPhone 13 mini is definitely the way to go.