While Apple has made some advances in iPhone battery life, most heavy users of their smartphone will run into that Low Battery warning at some stage of the day. And sadly the same is true of Apple’s iPhone X and newer iPhone XS.
The iPhone X has a Li-Ion battery capacity of 2,716mAh (10.35Wh). According to Apple, this will get you 21 hours of talk time, up to 12 hours browsing the Internet, up to 13 hours watching video, or 60 hours listening to audio – although not all at the same time, of course!
The iPhone XS battery capacity is slightly smaller than the X, at 2,658mAh. While the XS’s A12 Bionic SoC chip should be more efficient, the smaller battery may mean that overall battery life is a bit worse, or at best, the same.
(The iPhone XS Max has a capacity of 3,174mAh, which is considerably larger than the 2,691mAh one found inside the iPhone 8 Plus. There is a version of the Apple Smart Battery Case for the XS Max, but we haven't tested the cheaper battery cases for that model yet.)
Out of the blue, Apple has released its Smart Battery Case for iPhone XS and XS Max, after skipping versions for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. It's not supposed to be compatible with the iPhone X because of the XS's slightly larger camera, but fear not as it fits and works perfectly with the older X, too. There's also a model for the iPhone XR.
Even battery-case market leader Mophie skipped a battery case for the iPhone X, and hasn't bothered with the XS either.
(If you're looking for battery cases for other iPhone models, read our roundups of the best battery cases for iPhone 6/6s and 6/6s Plus, the best battery cases for iPhone and 7 Plus, and best battery cases for the iPhone 8).
With limited - and very expensive - Apple-certified battery case solutions for the iPhone X, users have a choice of the uncertified Chinese-made battery cases. Other than that you can, of course, buy a no-power protective case - see Macworld's round up of the best iPhone X cases. And don't forget Macworld's great tips on improving iPhone battery life.
Although some claim much higher capacities we found most of these maxed out at a full recharge, so the 3,200mAh case did nearly as well as the 5,000mAh cases tested here. Even the Apple battery case (with its apparently meagre 1,369mAh capacity) got us a 90 per cent recharge.
Remember most of these are not Apple certified. Though we tested some of the products reviewed here and they worked fine, Apple recommends using only accessories that it has certified (MFI) and that come with the "Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad" logo.
Some battery cases include extra features, such as the Audiomod case that includes a handy headphone jack.
Apple Smart Battery Case for iPhone XS and XS Max
Compatible with: iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR.
A good few months after the launch of the iPhone XS and XS Max, Apple finally released its own battery case for the new iPhones.
Luckily for owners of the older iPhone X, it fits that model, too - despite the newer iPhone featuring a slightly larger camera at the back.
There are three models: one for the iPhone XS, one for the XS Max, and another for the XR. The XS case fits the iPhone X. Each is available in either Black or White.
We liked the previous versions of the Apple Smart Battery Case not for its looks (it sports something of a humped back) but its intelligent charging routine. Once encased your phone will use up the case's battery charge first, and then fall back to its own - so your iPhone should always be charged.
You don't need to push a button to get to the charge; it's all done automatically. It has the lowest claimed battery capoacity of any of the cases tested here, but that 1,369mAh got a phone at 1% up to 91%, which is resepcatble - and not far off how some of the claimed 5,000mAh cases performed.
There aren't any LED battery indicators on the case (except a charging light inside) as the battery status of both iPhone and Case are displayed on the iPhone Lock screen and in the Notification Centre.
The case offers robust protection from knocks and drops, and it's easy to slip the phone in and out. You can charge the phone and case at the same time; and the case (like the iPhone) is Qi-compatible for wireless charging.
Get over the looks, it's the extra battery power and protection you're after. It's only real downside is the eye-watering £129/$129 price tag, which is certainly steep compared to many of the Chinese cases tested here. But it's the only one that fully Apple Certified if that level of safety is important to you.
If you're going to use it as your main iPhone case, consider investing in the Apple Smart Battery Case. If you want something cheaper or just for emergencies and long-haul travel, then keep reading for less expensive third-party options.
Read Macworld's full Apple Smart Battery Case for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR.
AudioMod Smart Power Reserve
The AudioMod Smart Power Reserve charging case is a battery case for the iPhone X, 7 and 8 that also includes a headphone jack.
Apple did away with the headphone jack when it released the iPhone 7, and many were upset that they were forced to use an ugly adapter in order to keep using their favourite headphones or to buy a set of wireless headphones at great expense.
Audiomod has a solution for wired headphone fans that not only re-introduces the 3.5mm headphone jack but serves as a battery pack that also protects your phone. The headphone port allows for both straight and shorter angled jacks, and works well. It supports the Mic/Volume/Play/Pause/Skip functions.
The case is a two-piece design. You slip the phone into the case and then attach a top part to create the all-round case protection. It feels sturdy and, while not thin, isn't overly bulky. It weighs 115g.
The recharging battery is a decent capacity (4,100Mah) that will boost your fading iPhone by at least a full charge. At the back are the recharge button and a four-LED power indicator. It features the usual cutouts for camera and buttons.
Our only gripe is that the case charges not with a Lightning connector but fiddly MicroUSB, which is a shame as it means keeping a second type of cable with you when you want to charge.
It is available on Amazon UK for around £70, but can be bought from Audiomod direct for $78 plus $8 shipping - around £60. US customers can buy from Audiomod for $78 or at Amazon.com for (at the time of writing) $70.
Cofuture 5000mAh iPhone X Battery Case
Compatible with: iPhone X, iPhone XS.
This battery case from Cofuture promises an additional 150% battery life to your iPhone X. It has a storage capacity of 5000mAh and is designed to prevent your iPhone from overheating and overcharging. Plus a power indicator at the back of the case lets you know how the charge is faring.
In our tests we got a decent full recharge from the case but not 150%, so the 5,000mAh claim doesn't really add up as we found with other 5,000mAh cases tested here.
This battery case also lets you sync to your MacBook or PC with your lightning connector without the tedious task of removing the case.
The case itself is made of the silicone-like material TPU and the ABS plastic, which can withstand high temperatures and is shock and scratch proof. It also has cutouts for easy access to ports and buttons. But it is quite bulky, especially compared to the Peyou iPhone X Battery Case.
You can find this case in red and yellow, although the "red" is definitely on the "pink" side. There is also a red and a black option that costs £23.99 (UK only) with a kickstand that allows landscape viewing. Cofuture offers a 1-year warranty.
Newdry 6000mAh iPhone X Battery Case
Compatible with: iPhone X, iPhone XS.
If you want something a little more powerful, this 6000mAh capacity battery case from Newdery promises 170% more battery life. It's not compatible with wireless charging however, nor does it have a built-in 3.5 audio input, but it does work with Lightning headphones and Airpod headphones and other Bluetooth headphones.
Like Cofuture's case, Newdery's battery case also lets you sync with other devices, like your MacBook or PC, using your lighting cable.
What we like about this case is that it doesn't extend the phone screen, so your iPhone can stay as close to it's original chin-less splendour. Any additional bulk is behind the phone, which is a small price for all the power this charger packs.
EasyAcc Wireless Battery Case for iPhone X
Compatible with: iPhone X, iPhone XS.
With a supposed 5,000mAH extra battery capacity, this really is a beast - and is also monstrous in size, adding a lot of bulk to the normally svelte iPhone X.
But despite the reassuring size, this extra battery power managed to recharge a fading iPhone just the once. We could get the same on a much smaller, lighter case such as the Peyou iPhone X battery case; see above.
Interestingly, the EasyAcc is a wireless case, so you don't need to attach a cable to charge the case up, and it also charges the encased iPhone wirelessly, too, unlike any of the other cases reviewed here. This means the Lightning cable is free to use to sync to a computer, or use with headphones (Lightning or via a Lightning adapter, of course) and Apple CarPlay.
The case can also be charged by cable, but a USB-C one rather than a Lightning. Maybe EasyAcc is preparing for a post Lightning world.
With its enormous bulk it should be able to resist a grenade attack, let alone a drop to the floor, so if you are mountaineering without a rope at least your phone should survive. It's the only case that also ships with a tempered glass screen protector, although you can buy an iPhone X screen protector from Amazon pretty cheaply.
It's difficult to recommend the EasyAcc Wireless Battery Case for iPhone X because of its massive bulk and weight (a hefty 145g, which combined adds 85% to the weight of the naked iPhone), and the fact that it doesn’t live up to its claim of a giant battery, except in size.
If you want to charge a battery case wirelessly then this is the one for you, but the size of the thing is extraordinary.
Runsy 5000mAh iPhone X Battery Case
Compatible with: iPhone X, iPhone XS.
The Runsy battery case packs 5000mAh of power and comes with a nifty power switch that lets you turn the battery on and off as desired.
From a protection standpoint, it has a raised bezel to keep that iPhone X screen scuff and scratch-free. Plus a matte finish adds grip, which is a useful safeguard for unexpected drops.
The Runsy battery case also supports both Apple Lightning wired headphone listening as as well as AirPod wireless listening, which is a nice touch.
BrexLink 6000mAh iPhone X Battery Case
Compatible with: iPhone X.
Here's one more 6000mAh battery case that promises to have your iPhone recharged and rejuvenated in up to 4 hours.
It's built similarly to some of the other battery cases on this list, so you can expect the same sense of protection from TPU and high-grade plastic protection. It does not protect your screen however, so you may be better off with a battery case with a bezel edge (or screen protector – see the best ones here).
A neat feature of this case is that you can also charge your phone and the case at the same time. Like Cofuture's case, BrexLink's case is also designed to prevent your iPhone from overheating and overcharging.