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My iPhone 8 is about a year old. I've run this test several times on it, recently, and months ago. I'm getting the same results I got on my old iPhone 6s. In my testing, I've used Apple Music, Simple Radio (an internet radio streaming program that's very simple - no buffering, just straight streaming), and Pandora.

I found that Pandora uses power at about 1% a minute. If I start at 88% at 2:00, then at 2:45, I have about 43% power, give or take a few percentage points. With Simple Radio, if I start at 2:45 with 43% power, I still have 43% power 5 minutes later. In fact, today when I was watching, by 2:55, I still had 42%. So it's using 1-2% every 10 minutes. Apple Music is about the same as Simple Radio: 1-2% every 10 minutes.

When I do longer trails, Apple Music does seem to use a little more music than just streaming with Simple Radio. (And, interestingly, using TuneIn for testing, if I recall, it used more power than Simple Radio, but maybe because it buffers content and that may take more CPU resources to handle.)

So Pandora can drain my battery in under 2 hours. If I'm not taking calls, Simple Radio would take about 500 minutes, or over 8 hours, to drain my battery. Apple Music would take about the same length of time. This seems about right, since I'm often out 6-8 hours during the winter and 10-12 hours during the summer, when I have more daylight. During the summer, on long days, I have to stop streaming after a while. During the winter, I get down to 20% or even 10% on sme longer days.

I've also tested these programs while working on my tractor, with my cell phone in a cradle, and hooked up to the tractor's cigarette lighter with a lightning cable. With Simple Radio and Apple Music, the iPhone would charge up at about the rate of 1% a minute. With Pandora, it could take 5 minutes or more before I see the charge start to go up as much as 1%. (I forgot just what the amp rating of the adapter I was using at the time was.)

I think this proves that Pandora just burns through battery power.

  1. Any idea why Pandora uses so much power? I would think it might be due to the need to decrypt the stream, but doesn't Apple Music use an encrypted stream, too?
  2. Is there anything I can do to reduce Pandora's hunger for power? Any settings I can change that would help with this?
  • While I doubt there's much you can do, it is interesting that Pandora uses so much power! I wonder if this is consistent across hardware, and how it compares to other streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, etc. – Wowfunhappy Feb 20 at 4:18
  • @Wowfunhappy: I've used Spotify for a short time. There were things about it that irritated me, but probably don't bother most people. So I'm not likely to test Spotify. I used to have Android devices (now I have one, but I don't use it often). It's not likely I'll be testing it on there. I cannot figure out why Pandora would need that much power when Apple Music does not. (More in next comment.) – Tango Feb 20 at 4:48
  • Today I added a lightning cable (inside by a corrugated hose) that runs from the cigarette lighter on my tractor, under the deck, up through the battery compartment and out the dash, where I have a cell phone holder. (The alternative, if I wanted to charge the cell phone while it was there was a cable I'd find myself tripping over every time I got on or off the tractor.) Now that it's tested and working, I can plug it in while I'm using my tractor (I listen through noise cancelling headphones). I can finally listen to Pandora again while working - but it's a shame it needs so much power! – Tango Feb 20 at 4:52

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