Samsung chip might be ruining your iPhone 6s’ battery life

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The new Low Battery Mode in iOS 9 means your device will last even longer than before.
The new Low Battery Mode in iOS 9 means your device will last even longer than before.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A new controversy is brewing online after it’s been revealed that not all iPhone 6s units get the same amount of battery life. The apparent culprit? The new A9 processors, which power Apple’s latest iPhones and were sourced by two chip manufacturers.

Apple dual-sourced A9 production from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung. While it was discovered earlier that the two chips aren’t the same size (the smaller Samsung A9 processors use a 14-nanometer processor while TSMC used a 16-nanometer process), some early testing has revealed that Samsung’s A9 chip has much worse battery performance than TSMC’s A9.

One redditor who has two iPhone 6s Pluses — one with a Samsung A9 processor and one with a TSMC processor — found that while you’d expect battery life to be better on the smaller Samsung processor, the iPhones with a TSMC A9 chip gets up to two hours more battery life.

Check out the two battery test results:

tsmc-vs-samsung

“Ran this test a couple times and results were consistent,” wrote Raydizzle on Reddit. “Always about a 2 hour difference in duration. Both phones were tested using the same backup, same settings. Also tried testing them as new phones and results were similar.”

Based on some early metrics, it appears that nearly 70 percent of iPhone 6s Pluses have a TSMC processor, while only 40 percent of iPhone 6s units have the TSMC A9. Apple’s website claims that iPhone 6s users can expect 14 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 11 hours of video playback. However, it fails to mention that your battery experience could be radically different based on which processor you randomly receive.

There’s no way to tell if you’re buying a Samsung A9 processor or a TSMC A9 processor when you purchase your new device online or in stores. However, if you want to know which chip your iPhone 6s is packing, you can download the free app Lirum Device Info Lite to discover which processor you’re packing.

Simply open the app after downloading and look under “Model” on the main page. If your model is N66MAP or N71MAP, you’ve got a TSMC chip. N66AP and N71AP models contain a Samsung chip.

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  • David Kaplan 

    I’m going to try and return mine for a TSMC chip.

    • Shawn

      LOL.

    • Host129

      seriously? XD

      • David Kaplan 

        yeah why not… I paid $900 for a phone I want the one that has the battery that I was promised. Also I hate Samsung, they’re the devil. This is Cult of Mac.

      • David Karasek

        Good luck! “Yeah, I read an article on the internet and it tells me you are all bullshit. Give me a free replacement!!!” Going to go realll well for you.

      • David Kaplan 

        You do understand that within 2 weeks it doesn’t matter right…. not to mention I didn’t learn about this from some internet article… Clown

      • QwertyJuan

        Where did ya learn it then? Clown.

      • David Kaplan 

        from running tests on my phone vs. a friend’s with the TSMC chip.

      • Nanamo

        This has to be the dumbest thing I have ever read.
        All chips, YES EVERY SINGLE CHIP EVER MADE from the intel 8088 to the latest super computer all use Chips that vary from one another despite being the Same exact tray, quality, size, and origin.
        This article is a prime example of goading the stupid
        If 1,000,000 iPhones have Samsung, and 10,000,000 has TSMC ( FOR EXAMPLE)
        and 40% of those are experiencing issues BASED <—-Meaning, NOT FACTUAL
        That's still a minor minor margin of error that is allowed, nay required for any type of microprocessor and is within reasonable ranges. Like mentioned below people with TSMC despite being "Better" <—(Maybe / not likely) will still get poor battery life than advertised as it's within margin.
        I greatly advise taking some type of information technology course so you don't look dumb walking into any retail store and demand that.
        As a former mobile industry manager, Sure we'll do it for you once. Don't get what you want? We're NOT going to do it again.

        and yes, a smartphone is a computer only smaller.
        RAM+CPU+MB = Computer.
        P.S, take a networking course and you'll learn the magic of Smartphone wireless networks and how they also dramatically alter battery life depending on location and situation.
        P.P.S You're 900 dollars means absolutely nothing to a major retailer, we piss more away in about an hour on office supplies.

      • David Kaplan 

        Relevance?… I’m a customer and it’s within 2 weeks.

      • leimeisei

        There’s no way to tell from the packaging which chip it has, so you could return your phone and get another Samsung chipset. This article is bullshit. I have two iPhone 6s’s (work + personal), and I ran this test today with identical settings on each phone (turned off all notifications and background app usage) and the Samsung came out 40 minutes over the TSMC.

        As Nanamo said please familiarize yourself with basic computer engineering concepts before jumping to a BS assumption such as this

      • 5723alex .

        Samsung’s chip not only brings less battery time but also is much hotter than TSMC chip according to tests. That is probably the reason why some iPhone 6s overheat and have overheating home buttons.

      • False. Not only the Samsung’s bio doesn’t consistently brings less battery life, some tests show less on Samsung’s version, some others show the contrary, but the “sudden shutdown with overheating home button” issue does happen in both Samsung and TSMC version.

        So both of your assumptions are false. In the reality, both Samsung and TSMC version have comparable battery life, but you can’t run a test that is scientifically perfect to show that, because a smartphone is a very complex machine and even with exact same settings and software, two devices will not do exactly the same things and so results will vary.

      • Stanley Fot

        Man it’s a pity, you are truly retarded !!!!!!

      • Stef80

        You paid $900 for a phone : Here’s the mistake :)

      • Ben Kenon

        You know that Samsung makes much of your iPhone, right? Apple doesn’t even make or design the vaunted iPhone camera sensor; that would be Sony. Apple doesn’t actually *make* anything.

        Also, Apple decided that the Samsung chips were good enough. Get mad at Apple for that, and realize while you do so that the only parts of these companies that actually dislike each other seem to be Legal and Marketing. Behind the scenes you couldn’t be closer to someone than Apple is to Samsung.

      • Josh Morland

        “Also I hate Samsung, they’re the devil.” I don’t know where to begin with that statement…Sheesh.

  • WGFinley

    Don’t know, I have a TSMC and battery has been less than stellar for me thus far compared to what I was used to on my 6 Plus.

    • nytimes

      keep TSMC ..don’t come to any conclusion based on these reports. 6s/plus demands more battery juice due to robust internals like 3d touch,etc. Why don’t you turn on 3d touch,etc and compare 6s with 6?

  • Wayne Reid

    I have a TSMC chip in my 6s plus and the battery life is really great .

  • Carson

    BATTERYGATE™ I said it first!!!

    • Helles99

      Samsung Gate, get it right lol

      • jonathanober

        #SamsunGate…at least make it a cool hashtag :P

  • HBTonly

    I have the Samsung chip, and you guessed it, HORRIBLE battery life. I don’t even use the phone yet. It’s set up, sitting in airplane mode, and it drains like mad without any use.

    • Patrick David Shepherd

      Same here… i just thought it was the new phone having a smaller battery.

    • Jkdem85

      Then you have a problem, mine last days on airplane mode

  • PMB01

    I have the TSMC chip in my 6S. Score!

  • RobertPerez1

    This is probably bogus. I have the Samsung chip and I haven’t noticed anything. Maybe the screen on one of those iPhones was too bright or consuming more power. It could just as easily be a component spec off in the cell radio, wifi radio, etc.

    • Luke Pruitt

      Same here, I have the Samsung chip in the 6S and it beats the crap out of my Nexus 6.

  • inis

    Nice! Leave it to Buster to find the most interesting story and the coolest App!! BTW Ive got the TSMC Woohoo! Bravo Good Sir ;-P

    • Jkdem85

      Every site has this story

  • David Karasek

    This is obviously a BS article to sell the app mentioned.

    • Daniel Hertlein

      The article plainly says it’s a free app, genius. What’s wrong with you? First you cast shade on David Kaplan’s plan to do what any normal person with the wrong processor and return his phone, Now you’re unable to read four-letter words. Are you a Samsung employee or just a devoted fan?

  • simon

    Samsung also making the 6s Touch ID fire hot, randomly shutting phone down because of heat, and making the flash too hot to work. The display will randomly dim, great feature… Samsung Strategy code named “fire-iPiss”

  • Tom Mack

    Coming from the 6+, my Samsung chipped 6s battery life is terrible. I use it far less than I did the 6+ and expected more. Maybe it’s the Apple Watch draining battery or a bug but it’s good to know I’m not the only one griping about battery power.

    • Ben Kenon

      If the 6s is anything like the 6 (it is), get used to it. My 6 had battery life on par with the 5 despite the bigger battery. My 6+ has been pretty awesome in that area though.

  • Michial Brown

    I’ve got the Samsung and my wife has the other. We both use our phones the same. I see no difference. The battery is good enough.

  • Theo

    Yeah, I have the TMSC chip (n71). Battery life is very good, though I feel compared to my old iPhone 5, the iPhone 5 has a better battery running ime.

  • Gal5

    One has SIM inserted, one does not. maybe, just maybe, the tests were not under the same conditions?

    I do not know what lack of SIM does to the iphone phone component. maybe it causes strong transmission, in an attempt to reach all possible providers?

  • TrickyDickie

    I love the way you are laying the blame solely on Samsung here. It’s not like apple keep driving the price down, or get to test the chips beforehand and pass them though their own quality control, is it…?

  • Screwauger

    One has a SIM, the other doesn’t, hmmmmmmm

  • Diver Buoy

    The app sited in the article, Lirum Device Info Lite, doesn’t work. It shows data for things apple basics already tell you. All of the rest of the entries show hyphens instead of values. I’ve clicked every available button, what’s the trick here? The paid version doesn’t add anything related to the article that the free version supposedly doesn’t already provide but it doesn’t work.

  • Ben Kenon

    Oh give me a break. All this hand-wringing over this. It’s not like carrying a cable/battery pack is anything new for you.

  • acidraid

    There are such huge differences between batteries between two identical phones. You should rather look into whether your batteries make a difference. For a fair test, you should swap the batteries around between the two phones and make sure both are not running unnecessary software. Are on the same network, or even have the same reception. This is just BS in my book as it is here.

  • Lee

    Based on some early metrics, it appears that nearly 70% of iPhone 6s Pluses have a TSMC processor, while only 40% of iPhone 6s units have the TSMC A9 processor inside. !!!! 70% + 40% = !!!!!!

    • mindbomb2000

      They are comparing two different phones.
      “70% of iPhone 6s Pluses have a TSMC processor” (30% have the samsung)
      “while only 40% of iPhone 6s units have the TSMC A9 processor” (60% have the samsung)

  • Rob Tippenhauer

    Did anyone notice that the Samsung photo had No Sim? Not exactly identical setup.

  • Daniel Radcliff

    You are all the saddest bunch of iOS fucks ever

  • joeinlaguna

    The app has been pulled by Apple!

  • Ledsteplin

    I have no idea which processor I have in my 6s Plus. There’s not enough difference in them to get bent out of shape over. Return yours to exchange? Lol Like they’re going to even know what your replacement will have or care. Move on along, nothing to see here.

  • MarkDeMaio

    The app has been pulled but i can tell you I have an iPhone 6S Plus and on 100% charge i never get more than 10 hours talk time, brought my phone back because i thought there was something wrong, got a new phone and same exact thing, The batter on my 6Plus was astonishing in how much talk time I got. The phone is a marvel, lightning fast and 3D touch is a revolution but…the battery is a complete fail.

  • jetscreamer01

    I am furious that Apple would allow an inferior chip to run their latest phone. I paid full price for the sim-free model and it was the Samsung chip. Are you kidding me Apple? Why would they pull a fast one on their loyal customers? I will return it to an Apple store and demand a replacement unit with a TSMC chip. I urge all consumers who got the bad chip to do the same. And I am rooting for you David Kaplan.

  • Jimny1

    Wow Samsung is smart, they know how to ruffle them wool hides. Go straight to the heart of the iphone. Gota give credit where credit is due.