Choose the Right iPhone Battery Backup So You Can Shoot All Day

Don't lose the power in your Apple iPhone 5

It doesn't matter how many cool photography or video apps you have on your phone. if your phone isn't charged, you are not going to be able to use any of them. Here are 6 products to keep you in power.

I shoot with the iPhone 5 every day and when I'm out and about one of my biggest concerns is my iPhone battery life. The IOS battery drain can be terrible when shooting for an extended time. I like to have the phone in my hand with my favorite camera app open at all times. I use the iPhone screen as a visual viewfinder or as a virtual third eye as I'm walking about. I like that I can grab a shot, shoot some video, or highlight a story at a moment's notice. But my iPhone 5 battery loses juice too fast.

For more practical and inspirational iPhone photography articles, visit the Adorama Learning Center iPhoneography department.


My process isn't the most energy-efficient, and I tend to zip through the battery life very quickly. I get about 3-4 hours of usage before my iPhone 5 needs to be recharged. Check out this article for ways to manage and optimize your iPhone IOS battery usage.

Backup Battery

Shooting video and photos are both power hungry tasks and quick battery drain is to be expected. The iPhone battery is not swappable, so a backup battery is an important piece of gear that will extend your shooting day. A portable battery backup, also known as a battery extender, battery pack or battery case, is used to provide additional power to the iPhone when it is running low on power. The battery supplies power to the phone and recharges it when it is attached. It will alllow you to shoot longer and you don't have to worry about finding a place to recharge the phone.

Portable battery packs come in many difference shapes and sizes, and have various options for charging and powering. Some battery packs weigh a few ounces while others can be as big as a laptop battery, weigh over a pound, and charge multiple devices. Battery packs are square, retangular, round, or are even build into form fitting cases. Depending on the device you choose, the iPhone can be powered via a USB port with a USB-Lighting cable or a case with the lighting adapter build in. The batteries can be plugged in and recharged themselves; there are varied connectors that include micro usb, built-in wall charger, car charger, solar power, or hand crank. There's a solution for practically any situation.

  1. Top Left- Eton BoostBloc 2000 - 2000mAh  
  2. Top middle - Mophie Juice Pack PowerStation Mini - 2000mAh 
  3. Top right - Lenmar Meridian iPhone 5 Battery Case - 2200mAh
  4. Bottom left - Macsense Just Mobile Gum Pro- 4400mAh
  5. Bottom middle - Eton BoostTurbine 2000 - 3600mAh
  6. Bottom right - Veho VCC-A010-PROXT Pebble Pro - 13,200mAh


No two iPhone photographers will shoot and process pictures the same way. Which means, everyone has a different process, and a different level of  battery consumption over time.  I know that I get three hours of continued use when I'm using the most power-hungry apps on my iPhone 5. To extend my shooting, I need an additional backup which I know will last me a full day, and that means recharging on the fly, multiple times a day.

Each portable battery backup has a power rating measured in milliamp hours (mAh) & the iPhone internal battery has a capacity of 1440 mAh. Therefore, If you want to double your shooting time, you will need a backup battery capacity that is at least 1440 mAh but in reality it should be about 20% bigger to cover power delivery.

There is currently no way to determine how much power a photo or video app consumes so you will have to use your best judgement based on usage and experience to determine how quickly your battery depletes. The smallest battery I would need to shoot for a long day is 5,184mAh (3x1440 =4,320mAh + 864mAh to cover the loss in power deliver) I need to be using a battery big enough to recharge my phone at least 3 times during the day. Your mileage may vary.

This sizing chart should help you size the backup battery for your specific needs. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last.



As a smple rule of thumb, a 2,000 mAh battery will double the battery life of your iPhone 5. If you normally get 3 hours of usage then a 2,000mAh battery would extend the usage to 6 hours.

Casual users.

If you are not a big user of photo and video apps then a small capacity battery should suffice. It will come in handy for those weekend photowalks or the 365 photo projects that you've been planning to start. Smaller capacity backup batteries can save you in a pinch and they are relatively inexpensive. Expect to spend anywhere between $25 -$99 depending on the form factor and capacity.  I'd recommended gettting a 2,000 mAh. device. The Eton BoostBloc 2000- 2000mAh is perfectly fine for $40 but you will need to use your own Apple lightning to USB Cable to connect.  A similar capacity battery case from Lenmar will cost $89 when it become available in the next few weeks.

iPhone  Photographers & Videoographers

From my expereince, I noticed that many of the latest photo and video apps consume way more battery power. I dont expect this trend to change. Last year, I would have said that a 2,2000 mAh battery case would be enough to get you through the day but i dont think thats the case anymore.  I've started to measure my battery life in hours, and as I mentioned earlier I have seen my battery deplete in just over three hours. I'd recomment that you choose the battery capacity that meets your shooting style and usage habits. Its  something you'll have to test and work out for yourself but you should really consider a large capacity battery somewheree between 5-7,000 mAh. I'm a big fan of the Mophie Juice Pack Universal PowerStation Duo - 6000 mAh. At $99 its about the same price as a battery case but with 3x the power. Its slim and lightweigh and it has two ports to charge two devides at the same time. 


Be sure to visit the Adorama iPhone Toolshed for all your iPhone needs—including back-up batteries and chargers! For more practical and inspirational iPhone photography articles, visit the Adorama Learning Center iPhoneography department.


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