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The battery saga & the iPhone15 Pro Max

Another day another story

iPhone 15 Pro Max in Titanium White being held in London's Picadilly Circus

It’s been an odd week for me and my iPhone 15 Pro Max.

For me – well I’ve ventured out twice this week! I’m not trying to paint myself as some kind of a hermit but by nature, I am a loner which is why this content creation lark is perfect for me. You get to spend an awful lot of time by yourself writing and editing – but it also breeds this habit of staying put. I realised I’d not ventured too far away from the studio this year, so this week I decided to change that and shake things up a bit.

The days out were centred around content and would heavily lean into my iPhone 15 Pro Max. You’ll know, if you read me regularly that I was thinking of buying the Samsung S24 Ultra. I was vaguely intrigued by it but I was more tempted by it because I needed content!

Then it dawned on me – focus on what I have and what I enjoy most – my iPhone 15 Pro Max.

I mean, having looked at and used Android last year I knew it wasn’t good enough for me to switch – I’m an iPhone user through and through. I also happen to think this iPhone, overall, is about the best I’ve ever used and owned – I’ve been banging the drum for it constantly – so this week after nearly 6 months I decided to put in some yards with it.

It’s seen me in Windsor, Eton and Battersea earlier this week and today – well, today I am just back from London’s West End. It was a great day spent trekking around the streets of my capital city and one that saw me visit two Apple Stores as well – Apple Regent Street and Apple Knightsbridge.

iPhone 15 Pro Max – is it Pro?

The thought behind today’s trip was to properly focus on the battery life.

The battery became the story by accident earlier this week. I set out that day just to capture some great video and shots – which I think I did. But spending eight hours away from home and using the phone as it was intended – took its toll. I got home in the red – I only had 20% battery left.

This is the Pro Max – meaning it has the biggest battery of any iPhone and is called a Pro – meaning it should be up to carrying out pro work.

I wondered if I just got unlucky earlier in the week – so today I wanted to check it out again. Was it a one-off or is this the norm – is this the performance we should come to expect from the iPhone 15 Pro Max?

More of the same

After I wrote about my last trip someone suggested I should look at the battery data which was a great shout – thank you!

The heaviest data users were the camera (no surprise there!) at 25%, photos at 20% (I guess where I was checking and looking at the shots I’d just taken) and oddly the Home & Lock Screen at 14%. I may be saying something very dumb…but how does the Lock Screen draw on the battery – I guess it’s because I have the always-on display toggled on…

I left home at a little before 11 am with 99% battery – surely today I’d have better results…

So close

I always forget just how close London is to where I live.

It only took me an hour down the motorway and I was amongst the most exciting, vibrant and alive city.

As soon as I was out of the car I started shooting on the iPhone – looking in the Photos app on my Mac – it looks as if I shot somewhere close to 200 photos and videos today. Everywhere I looked there was another photo opportunity.

Getting to work

I was going to be trying out all the focal lengths on the main wide-angle 24mm lens. I started looking into them earlier in the week – but with all the sights of London to see I figured I could truly enjoy & push the camera.

There are a couple of pictures below of the famous Piccadilly Circus billboard. The first one is shot at 1x 24mm and the second at 5x 120mm. Even when I take the images up to 200% there is still a lot of definition – the dot is remarkably sharp.

Just over 4 hours since leaving home and the battery was holding its own at 54%. But from what I learned earlier in the week – this is the critical cross-over point. It seems to do well until around 50% and then tanks. I’d be keeping my eye on it today like a hawk.

Until this week I’d never been a heavy user of the 5x – I guess in my day-to-day life I don’t have much need for it, but damn on a day like today it truly has come into its own. You can get an idea of how far away I was with the first 1x 24mm shot. Just look what a mighty job the 5x did on picking out the crest on the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park – impressive.

Something I forgot to try out in London earlier this week was a digital zoom on the 120mm lens – don’t forget I’m a 5x newbie!

And here is where things start to come undone.

The Apple logo has got some ghosting around it even at 120mm and a shutter speed of 1/100th (ƒ2.8/80 ISO) but zooming in to 400mm it’s bordering on becoming unusable (ƒ2.8/ 50 ISO) – the shutter speed was now 1/148th.

I mentioned it in another story – but it has fascinated me to look at the metadata behind these images to see just how much on-device computational correction is going on in the background on the iPhone. We don’t give it a second thought but it is working out the correct configs for us every single time we shoot a picture and on the whole, the results are great – the three focal lengths on the main 24mm camera are particularly impressive.

Today I even remembered to finally play with the long exposure setting as well. It doesn’t look as if you have much control over it – what you get is all you get but I can see me having some fun with this. Oh, and you can even turn it into a loop video which gives a super cool effect…

Final thoughts

I am so glad that I have taken the time to start to really explore my iPhone 15 Pro Max. Rather than just seeking quick, cheap clicks by buying the S24 Ultra I have doubled down on what I already have.

It’s been fun – not only getting out and about but also pushing myself as a creator. Until this week I hated recording in public but I am now starting to think it’s part of the job.

It’s also been fun finding out more and more about the iPhone as well. It’s been in my pocket for 6 months and only now does it feel as if I’m starting to explore it and find out what it is capable of. How can there be so much I didn’t know about it?

But…for all that good, there are still concerns over how well it lasted. Twice last week I pushed the Pro Max and on both occasions, it barely made it through the day. That 50% problem looks to be real. As you can see in a little over 2 hours it dropped from 54% to 17%. And for some of that time, the iPhone was in the car doing no more than streaming music.

Battery issues to one side though – now I feel that I feel as if I’m starting to really get the most out of my 15 Pro Max and I am loving it.

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