How much does it cost to charge your iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III?

Samsung's Galaxy S III (left) and Apple's iPhone 5 (Bloomberg)

Samsung's Galaxy S III (left) and Apple's iPhone 5 (Bloomberg)

Owners of Apple’s new iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III don’t mind singing the praises of their smartphones or talking down their rival’s.

Researchers at Outlier, however, say both sides have something big in common: The annual cost of keeping their phones charged is minuscule.

It’ll cost about 41 cents to charge the iPhone 5 and 53 cents to charge the Galaxy S III, Outlier said. The cost for juicing the Galaxy is larger because it has a larger battery.

Outlier measured how much electricity it took to charge each phone from 0 percent to 100 percent full. The iPhone 5 used 3.5 kilowatt hours of energy while the Galaxy S III used 4.9 kWh.

Outlier paints a much different picture about power consumption, however, when you consider the “power of multiplication.”


Even if we consider just the 170 million iPhone 5’s that are projected to be sold globally in the next year, their aggregate electricity requirements are nothing to sneeze at. The collective annual electricity consumption of the iPhone 5’s sold within 12 months will be equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 54,000 US households (roughly equivalent to the size of Cedar Rapids – the second largest city in Iowa). That’s just for one smartphone model over one year.

Just think, as Outlier points out, global smartphone shipments, including upgrades to newer phones, will reach 567 million devices just this year and by 2016, 1 billion people worldwide will own smartphones.

That’s a lot of juice.

15 comments Add your comment

Don't Tread

September 29th, 2012
2:27 pm

Hope nobody’s charging these things in their cars…they might need some new alternators and batteries…


September 29th, 2012
2:35 pm

How much power are smart phones saving by having less giant computer screens and TV’s running?


September 29th, 2012
2:52 pm

3.5Kwh is enough to power two hairdryers at full power for an hour. An iPhone would be a melted mess if it was dissipating that much power.

Either the units are wrong here or they’re talking about a full year of charging.


September 29th, 2012
2:56 pm

@andro All year man


September 29th, 2012
2:59 pm

It IS annual cost – the original article on Outlier is more clear about that.

[...] post: How much does it cost to charge your iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III? – Atlanta Journal Constitution … :apple, apple-insider, battery-life, cents-per, charge-your, iphone, keeping-their, [...]


September 29th, 2012
3:11 pm

Agreed, Brian. This article is pointless. If everyone stopped using their phones to interact and feel connected, what then? Laptops? PCs? Drive to the cafe or library? Dear god, yesterday’s news from the paper? Please.
Social illness that it is aside, these phones (smart phones in general) are among the most convenient and energy efficient solutions for our need to feel connected to the world.
Also, the original article makes no mention of how often these phones NEED to be recharged, they simply assume that every one will need a full 0 to 100 % charge 365 times a year ~ and *that* is crap science or as I call it ~ hype.


September 29th, 2012
3:23 pm

I don’t have the stats to back it up, but I would guess that the energy and time saved from people not getting lost due to having a GPS on their person more than makes up for the high cost of charging.

Atlanta Mom

September 29th, 2012
4:46 pm

I must say, I didn’t think 41 cents a day was any bargain. But 41 cents a year, that’s a bargain. Thanks for the clarification.

Nerdy Nerdson

September 29th, 2012
5:43 pm

I call shenanigans! An S3 battery delivers a voltage of 4.3 and holds 2300 mAh … That’s 10 watt-hours compared with the 4900 watt-hours this article claims a charging uses. That would mean a charging uses several hundred times as much energy as a fully charged battery holds! No charger/battery combo in use today, is that inefficient!


September 29th, 2012
6:06 pm

I suspect many of the people who are in love with their iPhones and who expect electrity on demand to recharge their phones, laptops, and eco-cars and power their latte machines are the same ones who rail against Georgia Power whenever it tries try to add generating capacity.


September 29th, 2012
6:22 pm

This sounds like something Clark Howard and his listeners would care about. I can’t believe the AJC devoted space to this crap.

[...] reading here: How much does it cost to charge your iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III? – Atlanta Journal Constitution … Share/Bookmark This entry was posted in Business, Technology and tagged atlanta-journal, [...]

The Endangered Grammarian

September 30th, 2012
12:37 am

Here’s a question: How much does it cost to spell-check your blog entries? It’s minuscule, not miniscule.

The Endangered Grandma

September 30th, 2012
6:55 am

……………… much power does that charger cord left plugged in use? Yes, it’s still drawing current. Vampire power, ghost electricity, phantom load, whatever you want to call it………..