iPhone always-on battery drain: How much is it?

Since Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro landed with the company’s first-ever always-on display, a lingering question has been how much battery the feature drains. In a detailed new test, PhoneBuff has compared how much the iPhone always-on display drains battery with and without a background compared to turning the feature completely off.

Apple originally launched its take on the always-on display for iPhone 14 Pro with colored backgrounds showing up which felt it’s a bit much for some people.

With iOS 16.2, Apple pleased those looking for customization as you can opt to disable the wallpaper and notifications for the always-on display. That results in a more subtle – and Android-like – always-on experience.

iPhone 14 Pro always-on battery drain results

As it turns out, after 24 hours of testing, the iPhone 14 Pro always-on really doesn’t use much battery.

  • Always-on with wallpaper = 0.8% more battery drain per hour
  • Always-on without wallpaper = 0.6% more battery drain per hour

An important detail to remember is that it would only be the case if always-on was truly always on, which it isn’t. Your screen still goes fully dark when:

  • Your iPhone is lying face down
  • Your iPhone is in your pocket or bag
  • Sleep Focus is on
  • Low Power Mode is on
  • Your iPhone is connected to CarPlay
  • You’re using Continuity Camera
  • You haven’t used your iPhone for a while (your iPhone learns your activity patterns and turns the display off and on accordingly, including if you set up an alarm or sleep schedule)
  • Your iPhone detects that you moved away from it with a paired Apple Watch (Always-On display will turn on when your Apple Watch is close to your iPhone again)

But in the worst-case scenario, always-on could use up 20% battery in 24 hours if it was on the whole time.

Another interesting comparison was the iPhone 14 Pro vs the Galaxy S22 Ultra for always-on drain and they both ended the 24-hour test with 84% charge after starting with 100%. Check out PhoneBuff’s full video for all the details:

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