A study conducted by consumer group Which? has revealed that smartphone battery lives suffer by as much as three hours following the arrival of new OS updates, despite claims by firms that such updates facilitate greater power saving and low battery consumption. However, subsequent fixes and patches do restore the original battery lives in smartphones over a period of time.
The consumer group studied performances of several smartphones after they were updated with new operating system updates. It was observed that the iPhone 6 lost as much as 38 minutes of battery life after it was updated with iOS 10 and at the same time, the Google Nexus 6P's battery life crashed from 12 hours to just 9 hours after it received the new Android 7.0 Nougat update.
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What this means is that until OS-makers release new fixes, phone owners have to contend with compromised battery lives which directly affect their productivity. According to Which?, new operating systems often eat up internal storages of devices as well which may impact their optimal usage. The firm observed that a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 lap-tab lost as much as 30GB of internal storage when it was updated to the latest version of Windows 10.
"Our latest research shows that, while upgrades are meant to boost the performance of our phones and tablets, the opposite can actually prove to be true. Given how much we rely on mobile devices, companies should do more to tell us about the possible downsides of updates, as well as the benefits," said Richard Headland, Editor at Which? magazine.
The story isn't as bad with every device. Which? noted that the Apple iPad Air and a Samsung Galaxy tablet showed improvements in their battery lives by as much as two hours and four and a half hours respectively after they were updated with new OS versions.
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While we've spoken about how operating systems impact battery lives in devices before, a number of new technologies are being researched around the globe which can significantly enhance battery lives of smartphones and tablets. In August, researchers at MIT-funded SolidEnergy Systems introduced a new hybrid electrolyte solution inside batteries which works well with Lithium cathodes. Lithium cathodes contain more ions than generally-used graphite ones but react with electrolyte solutions and degrade quickly, causing overheating and depletion of battery life.
Thanks to the new electrolyte solution, Lithium foil cathodes used in batteries can now boast twice the capacities compared to graphite cathodes in your smartphone battery. If a similar-sized battery with a Lithium cathode is placed inside your phone, it will make the phone last twice as long on a single charge compared to existing batteries.