Apple Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6S review: Apple’s answer to iPhone battery life: Slap a case on it
Apple has responded to concerns over the iPhone’s battery life with this Lightning-ready case.
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
- Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
The iPhone 6S is great, but its battery life was never its strong suit. I said that in my review, and I felt the same way about the iPhone 6. too. I pair multiple fitness bands and smartwatches, stream music and generally wear out my iPhone so that it always needs a top-off charge by 4 p.m.
Apple Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6S
The Apple Smart Battery Case’s one-piece design feels comfortable and is sleeker than some competitors. Its Lightning port can charge up the case and iPhone together.
It’s expensive, and its 1,877 mAh battery capacity isn’t as high as some other case options. It makes the headphone jack inaccessible to some headphones, and its bulbous design isn’t all that attractive.
The Bottom Line
Apple’s own iPhone 6 and 6S-compatible battery case is compact, comfortable and works with Lightning cables, but other cases exist that cost less and deliver more power.
Apple has danced around the battery limitations on the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone, adding a low-power mode in iOS 9 (which stretches battery life a bit) and pushing power-hungry users to the larger, more capacious 5.5-inch Plus phones.- whether or not they preferred its jumbo size. Third-party accessories have long addressed the battery issue, meanwhile, with everything from able battery dongles to form-fitting battery cases.
Now, Apple has officially unveiled its very own iPhone Smart Battery Case, too. But at 99 in the US, £79 in the UK and AU165 in Australia, it’s more expensive than competing models. For that price, you could pick up the similarly sized Mophie Juice Pack Reserve (60) and Anker’s Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case (40), which is well-loved on Amazon.
The Smart Battery Case promises up to 18 hours of 4G LTE Web browsing, up from 10 hours for the iPhone 6S on its own.- an 80 percent boost (the specific battery capacity is 1,877 mAh). It’s compatible with the iPhone 6 as well.
13 battery cases and power packs for your iPhone 6 or 6S
I’ve been using Apple’s new Smart Battery Case with the iPhone 6S over the weekend, and it’s good. Is it all that much better than existing battery cases? Not really.
The Smart Battery Case looks a little unattractive in photos, and even in person: the back of the case has a odd bulge where the battery pack lives, making it seem like a normal iPhone case somehow ate a battery for lunch. It’s actually pretty comfortable to hold, though. The soft-touch rubbery silicone case is made of the same material as Apple’s Smart Covers and cases, and slip-on iPhone accessories, lined with soft microfiber on the inside. It’s available in two colors: charcoal gray (shown here) and white.
Apple’s case has a few advantages: it has a Lightning cable pass-through, which means it can be charged using your default cable, while nearly all other such battery cases require a Micro-USB cable. If it’s charged with one of Apple’s 10- or 12-watt iPad power bricks, it can charge the iPhone and case simultaneously for faster top-off.
It’s a one-piece case design, which is another plus. The soft case bends back at the top, letting the iPhone slide in and dock with a Lightning port. It’s a tight squeeze, but I prefer this to the two-part snap-on designs I’ve used on other iPhone battery cases.- I’ve had some of the plastic parts break on me. And the soft interior feels gentle on the iPhone’s finish.
But it also has one of the same problems that Mophie’s recent cases have suffered: the headphone port pass-through at the bottom won’t fit all headphone cords. Apple suggests a separately sold extension connector; there isn’t one included in the case. Mophie throws one in with its battery cases.
A full charge with the iPhone 6S inside lasted me all day through a Jets-Giants game at the Meadowlands: by 11:30 p.m. the case’s battery was expended, but the iPhone still had 65 percent charge left. Normally I wouldn’t even be able to make it till dinner.
The case doesn’t have an on/off button, though. It just starts charging the iPhone the moment it’s attached, draining to zero before the iPhone begins drawing off its internal battery. It doesn’t have a battery-life indicator either. Instead, a simple pull-down on the iPhone Notifications menu shows the case’s remaining battery life along with other paired accessories.
Apple’s iPhone case really isn’t that much better than anything else on the market, although it feels snug and sturdy. If it weren’t for its higher price, I’d recommend it as one of my favorites.
But it indicates, more than ever, that the smaller iPhone should have had better battery life all along. The alternatives for power users are clear: buy a separate battery case, or go big with a Plus-size phone. I’m still not thrilled with either option. But Apple’s Smart Battery Case at least acknowledges the need for solutions.
Apple’s new iPhone case will give you about an extra day of battery life, but it’s quite bulky
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers a keynote during the European Union’s privacy conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium October 24, 2018.
Apple on Friday began selling its new Smart battery case for the iPhone. I’ve had one for a couple of days and have been testing it with my iPhone XS Max.
The accessory, which costs 129, is also available for the smaller iPhone XS and the more affordable iPhone XR.
Apple’s Smart battery case is good if you’re ever in a bind and need to quickly juice up your iPhone, particularly if you’re away from an outlet. Assuming the case itself is charged, I was able to get about an extra day of battery life from the iPhone XS Max, which already lasts me a day or longer.
It’s easy to use. You just slide your iPhone into the case and into the Lightning port built into the bottom of it. You can charge your iPhone and the case by plugging them into a wall together: the case is Smart enough to charge your iPhone first before it begins filling its own tank. You can also just drop it on a wireless charger, which is convenient, but I found it takes longer to fully charge the case that way.
I recommend using a high power charger, like one included with you iPad, to fill both your iPhone and the case quickly.
It’s expensive for what amounts to a clunky way to extend your iPhone’s battery life. There are other companies, such as Anker, that sell good battery packs you can keep in your bag. These external packs are cheaper, hold more power and can recharge your iPhone battery multiple times. Anker sells a 50 pack that holds more than 10 charges. But it’s not as convenient as a case that’s always on your phone.
Apple’s case feels heavy, almost comically so, and I’m often very forgiving when it comes to oversized phones. You might end up wanting to leave it in your bag, but that takes away the point.
And — this is pretty obvious — but it’s not water-resistant. So if you like that your new iPhone XS can be dropped in a pool and survive, that’s not an option when you put on the case.
Should you buy it?
Sure, if you value convenience and reliability over all else. I really like knowing that I won’t run out of battery and that it works with wireless chargers. It’s great if you’re going to get on a plane and don’t want to fumble around looking for your battery pack and a cable to make sure you have enough juice until you land.
But it’s expensive and there are plenty of cheaper options. Mophie sells a similar pack that’s 10 less, though I haven’t tested it. And if you really want extra life without the cost, just get buy a power bank on Amazon.
In the end, the case is great if you’re going to spend a day or two away from an outlet and could use the extra peace of mind.
Doubles your iPhone’s battery life
Unlike other battery cases which use micro USB or USB-C, Apple’s charges with a Lightning cable. Credit: ZLATA IVELEVA/MASHABLE
At the end the end of the day, a battery case is a battery case and all of them add bulk, so aesthetics are secondary to function.
And from my two weeks of usage, Apple’s battery cases are top notch. I don’t recall feeling much (if any) heat coming from the battery cases when connected to my iPhones. Most importantly, with a case on, my iPhones lasted days. I easily got up to two days of battery life with a Smart Battery Case connected to my iPhone XS and XS Max.
impressive was the iPhone XR paired with a Smart Battery Case. As I said in our review of the XR, the phone has the longest battery life of any iPhone, and with the battery case on, I went up to three days before needing to reach for the outlet. That’s mighty impressive and the best combination if you care more about battery life than, say, display technology or resolution.
Below are Apple’s quoted battery life extensions for each iPhone with the Smart Battery Case on. Mixed usage will vary and I didn’t go about measuring any precise hours, but as I already said, you’re gonna at least double your iPhone’s battery life.
If you’re a lighter iPhone user, you’re gonna see even more impressive battery life with the case on. But then you should be asking yourself why you’d need this battery case.
iPhone XS Max
One thing worth noting: Apple doesn’t sell a Smart Battery Case for the iPhone X. Popping an iPhone X into the battery case designed for the iPhone XS will work, but there are some imperfections. Namely, the iPhone X’s rear dual camera bump doesn’t fit snug because it’s a hair larger on the iPhone XS and the speaker grilles don’t align with the perforations on the battery case because the iPhone XS’s grilles are asymmetric.
Make sure you have a fast charger or you’ll be waiting all day to charge up the Smart Battery Cases. Credit: zlata iveleva/mashable
Another important thing to be aware of with the Smart Battery Cases is how they charge. Turns out the type of power charger you use matters a lot.
Here’s the simple breakdown:
- A 5-watt charger (the one that comes with iPhones) charges your iPhone first and then the battery case
- A 10-watt or 12-watt charger charges both the iPhone and case at the same time at a constant surge of 5-watts
- An 18-watt charger fast charges up your iPhone and then the case
- Any power adapter with 30-watts or higher fast charges both the iPhone and battery case at the same time
Why the convoluted charging? Apple says this Smart Charging helps preserve the health of both the iPhone’s battery and the Smart Battery Cases’s battery.
So make sure you have the right adapter and right cable for the job or you might find charging up the Smart Battery Case to be painfully slow.
Wireless charging also isn’t very quick and I wouldn’t recommend using this method unless you leave it on overnight.
The best alternatives
Moment’s iPhone Battery Photo Case is a cheaper and more versatile alternative if you’re a big mobile shooter. Credit: ZLATA IVELEVA/MASHABLE
The 129 price tag is a bit steep, though. It’s 30 more than the ones for the iPhone 6/6S and iPhone 7.
My pick for best alternative battery case is Moment’s iPhone Battery Photo Case. It’s got a similar design with a nice speckled design, works with Moment’s excellent mobile photography lenses of which I’m a huge fan of, speaker grilles that redirect the sound forwards, and a physical shutter button for use with Moment’s own camera app. The battery case is designed for the iPhone X, but it worked perfectly with my iPhone XS; the only cons are the misaligned speaker grilles and no wireless charging support, but I can live without both. It’s also cheaper at 99.99.
Mophie’s Juice Pack Access is similarly priced at 99.95, but hasn’t been released at the time of this writing so I can’t say if it’s any good. But its features do look well-rounded with an on/off switch, battery level indicator, wireless charging, USB-C charging port along with Lightning port access, colors other than black such as blue, red, and gold. Mophie’s track record is also solid, so it’s likely the Juice Pack Access will be a good product.
Most people will not need Apple’s Smart Battery Case. It’s not for everyone, but they power power users. It’s perfect for vacations in my opinion. Regardless, if you’re always nearly drained, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s battery case.
Apple Smart Battery Case for Apple iPhone XS. Black (MRXK2LL/A)
The Official Apple Smart Battery Case for Apple iPhone XS Smartphones. Black version. Model: (MRXK2LL/A).
Engineered for iPhone XS, the Smart Battery Case gives you even longer battery life while offering great protection. Inside, a soft microfiber lining helps protect your iPhone. And on the outside, the silky, soft-touch finish of the silicone exterior feels great in your hand. A soft elastomer hinge design makes it easy to put the case on and take it off.
The Smart Battery Case is compatible with Qi-certified chargers. You can charge your iPhone and battery case simultaneously for increased talk time up to 33 hours, Internet use up to 21 hours, and even longer audio and video playback. With the Smart Battery Case on, the intelligent battery status is displayed on the iPhone Lock screen and in Notification Center, so you know exactly how much charge you have left.
The case can be charged even faster with USB-PD compatible chargers. It also supports Lightning accessories, such as the EarPods with Lightning Connector (included with your iPhone), or the Lightning Digital AV Adapter (sold separately).
Features:- Designed by Apple- Talk time up to 33 hours- Internet use up to 21 hours- Video playback up to 25 hoursModel Number: MRXK2LL/A
Brand new item in unopened retail packaging. Backed by our no hassle, free 30-days return policy.
Like New Device in perfect working and cosmetic condition. Retail packaging will be missing, worn, or previously opened. Backed by our no hassle, free 30-days return policy and a 90 day warranty against any manufacturer defects.
Devices have passed all functional tests performed and may exhibit some minor cosmetic blemishes. Backed by our no hassle, free 30-days return policy and a 90 day warranty against and manufacturer defects.
Check to see if your iPhone battery is degrading normally.
We’ve previously covered what a “normal” rate of battery degradation is for the average iPhone user. If you don’t have time to read our piece on it, the general takeaway is that it can vary widely between average users.
Because battery degradation varies, users may actually find that their iPhone’s battery capacity does indeed degrade after using a Smart Battery Case. But that doesn’t mean it’s the Smart Battery Case that’s causing it. Correlation doesn’t equal causation.
All lithium-ion batteries will degrade normally over time. The rate of degradation depends on how often you use your smartphone, how fast you drain the battery, and how often you charge it.
And, contrary to popular belief, charging your iPhone overnight or leaving it on a charger when it’s fully charged isn’t bad for it. Similarly, having a Smart Battery case on a charged iPhone won’t kill its battery.
That’s because, as we’ve covered, a battery’s degradation all comes down to how many “charge” cycles you put it through.
Don’t let your Smart Battery Case overheat.
But, on the other end of the spectrum, a Smart Battery Case could theoretically cause battery damage — but not for the reasons that you think. It comes down to overheating, which definitely can damage a battery and reduce its overall capacity faster than normal.
Fast charging or using wireless charging can cause a smartphone to get warmer than it would be through a conventional cable and adapter setup.
And that’s not all, having any kind of case on your iPhone could cause problems, too. Leaving a case on a charging smartphone could inhibit its ability to cool off naturally.
Apple itself recommends that users remove any case on their iPhone before charging.
Also, keep in mind that the capacity indicator in the iOS Battery Health menu is just an estimate — and it can be inaccurate at times. So don’t overthink it.
Tips to keep your iPhone battery safe.
If you’re still concerned about your Smart Battery case, here are a few tips to keep your iPhone’s battery safe.
- Try to avoid using the Smart Battery Case in direct sunlight or when the ambient temperature is really high.
- Don’t use the Smart Battery Case while playing graphically intensive games or when using other CPU-draining apps.
- Only use MFi-certified chargers and charging accessories from a manufacturer that you trust.
- Charge the iPhone and the Smart Battery Case separately, without the case on the actual device during the charging process.
- If you notice your iPhone or Smart Battery Case getting unusually hot during use, take the case off.
What are your thoughts around this issue? Have you already bought Apple’s Smart Battery Case and started using it with your new iPhone XR/iPhone XS? We would love to hear your thoughts.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.
Show 9 Комментарии и мнения владельцев
“Exposing the battery to high temperature and dwelling in a full state-of-charge for an extended time can be more stressful than cycling.” And that’s what the Apple Smart battery case does, keeps your phone at full charge. Yes, it gives you more juice, but killing your internal battery in return. There is very simple solution, the battery case just needs to provide the power to the iPhone electronics instead of charging the internal battery. Why it is not implemented? Are the Apple engineers so dumb? They are very Smart actually, if it was implemented, your phone would last 5 years, now it lasts 1-2.
I have the Smart case for my XR. I don’t know if it’s constantly charging or what. But if I have the case on there’s always the lightning bolt over my battery as if it’s in charging mode. And my question is. is there power being pushed into my battery even though it’s at 100% ? Right now my battery is at 100% but still shows the lightning bolt over the battery. I wish there was a power button on the case so I could choose when I want my phone to charge.
Does the fact that the phone battery being always on 100% if one doesn’t deplete the Smart case. is bad for the battery itself ?
I have the iPhone XS with the Apple battery pack and I’ve noticed that my iPhone’s internal battery health is dropping rapidly despite the fact that the external battery is connected all the time and I use that battery up only half each day leaving my internal iPhone battery at full charge every day. In other words, the internal iPhone battery isn’t being discharged at all, yet the health of the internal battery is dropping rapidly. This seems to indicate to me that the external battery pack is either damaging the internal battery of the iPhone or the health rating of the battery is independent of anything connected to it and it is simply Apple’s model of timed obsolescence that drains the battery health meter regardless of whether you discharge the battery or not.
I just when to the Apple store to find a fix on my i phone X mas that I bought less that an year ago, and at the moment of the purchase I t was a good idea to get the extra battery case from Apple and get it with all the warranties, and few day ago my iPhone while been in the battery case was connecting and disconnecting from the case, and I tough was the case getting wear out or the connection and only do it while the phone battery was discharged and the battery case was Pushing up power to the phone but of the phone battery was strong enough to sustain the phone, the issue will not happen, then I try while the phone battery was discharged and the connected to my car charger and will do the same connect and disconnect effect l, showing on the screen on and off and with the battery logo connected and disconnected, but I try that in to the wall charger and did not happen, all this using the Apple cables with the exemption of the car charger because Apple do not produce one, so I ending taking my iPhone and the battery case to and Apple store and get a full diagnosis on the items, and they did the first test and they did not find anything wrong and they lady try to send me home with the issue, then I reply and pointed at her on the iPhone option where show the battery health show that the day before the battery show the low and parameters and she still skeptical to my complaints and the I ask for the manager of the store, I then I repeat my complaints and he was more carefully and putting detailed attention to my issues and how they show on the phone, then he suggests a different test where they check the amount of power goes in to the lightning connector and then bing the test fail immediately, and the only explanation that they have is that since my phone was in the battery case since I bough it for about 7 to 8 months and I never get out was some type of damage to the hardware of the phone connection do to be all ways subject to recharge all the time and at the end they remplace the phone and but now with the new phone I don’t To out them inside case like before
I’ve been using Apple’s battery case for more than two years now, and it’s hands down the best investment I’ve ever made. Through 3 different phones (two 7s and a 6s), it has worked perfectly. While some of the rubber peeled off after some time, usability is still incredible. I have NEVER run out of battery in one day since I got this case, and that is really valuable to someone like me who’s 23 and uses his phone all the time. Because this is all positive, I feel it’s appropriate to mention that I have no affiliation with Apple, and don’t stand to gain anything from this. I just value this case VERY highly. Also never cracked a screen with the case on, even though it doesn’t seem very sturdy.
Sorry but this advice to charge Apple Smartcase saparetelly from the phone is very strange, once Apple itself designed the device to be charged together.