iPhone 13 battery might be smaller than iPhone 12, but with a vital charge feature

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max (Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPhone 12 has only just been released and we're already hearing reports on its successor, the iPhone 13. We've heard two new rumors on future iPhones, though only one is explicitly linked to this 2021-model Apple smartphone.

This first piece of news relates to the iPhone 13 battery capacity - as reported by 9to5mac - Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected analyst and Apple leaker, stated "we predict that iPhone 13 will be the first iPhone model to adopt battery soft board technology, which will help save internal space and reduce costs."

Soft board technology for the battery is generally smaller than what's currently used in iPhones, which could help Apple in its quest to keep putting out small smartphones like the iPhone 12 mini, or just make the batteries higher capacity than what's currently in use. 

Either way, this means if Apple was to keep the same battery capacity between its iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, the actual physical battery would end up smaller.

The second piece of news comes from Patently Apple, who spotted a patent by - you guessed it - Apple.

This patent details a 'protective charging' mode for iPhones which would stop the phone charging to full if you left it plugged in. Typically if you over-charge smartphones you can reduce the ability of the battery to keep charge, and over time this results in the battery life getting shorter and shorter. Protective charging would delay charging the phone to full, until a time you chose for it.

This sounds a lot like a similar feature in Sony Xperia phones - with it, you tell the phone when you normally wake up, and the device charges in order to reach 100% at that exact time, so you can power up your device overnight without worrying about damage to the device.

Since this is a patent, it's not certain we'll see this feature in future handsets, but it'd certainly be useful for those who have had poor experiences with iPhone battery life in the past. 

We also don't know if this will be a feature which requires new hardware, and thus the launch of a new iPhone, or something that can be enabled via an iOS software update. If the latter is the case, it may mean existing iPhone users will be able to benefit from the technology in the future.

Regarding both of these leaks, we'll have to wait and see if they turn out to be true, but they sound pretty good for the future of iPhone batteries.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.