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Limiting iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max Refresh Rate to 60Hz Increases Battery Life Slightly

Many smartphone users consider battery life to be a crucial factor when choosing a device. After all, the most advanced features won’t matter if your battery is dead. Apple did not prioritize battery life for some time, leading rival Samsung to mock iPhone users as “wallhuggers” who must stay close to a charger. However, with the release of the iPhone 11 Pro Max in 2019, Apple shifted its focus to battery life, especially with the top-of-the-line iPhone model. Last year, when Apple replaced the iPhone mini with the larger iPhone Plus model, it featured the largest battery ever placed inside an iPhone at that time. This year, the iPhone 15 Pro Max takes the crown with its 4422mAh capacity cell, topping the 4383mAh battery on the iPhone 15 Plus.

The iPhone 15 Plus has outperformed the iPhone 15 Pro Max in several tests, and one potential reason is the 120Hz refresh rate used on the iPhone Pro models. The ProMotion display refreshes the screen depending on the content, consuming more battery life. By allowing the screen to refresh at lower rates when appropriate, the iPhone 15 Plus might offer slightly longer battery life than the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Macworld tested this theory on both iPhone 15 Pro models using the Geekbench 4 battery life test and discovered that limiting the refresh rate to 60Hz resulted in only a 5%-6% improvement in battery life. If gaining an extra 5% battery life is more important than the smooth scrolling and animations of a 120Hz refresh rate, users can limit the refresh rate to 60Hz on their iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max, or iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max by going to Settings > Accessibility > Motion and toggling on Limit Frame Rate.

Additionally, Macworld discovered that turning off auto-brightness and setting the screen to the lowest comfortable level can extend battery life on any phone. However, gaming enthusiasts should note that certain titles support high refresh rates, so the decision to limit the refresh rate may ultimately depend on personal preferences and specific use cases.

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