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iPhone 5 Costs Roughly $0.41 Per Year to Charge

Energy efficiency company Opower today released a study calculating the annual energy cost for charging the iPhone 5 at just $0.41. While any user's actual cost would vary based on use and electricity rates in their areas, Opower's estimate assumes a full charge once per day at a U.S. average of 11.8 cents per kWh.

But while an individual iPhone 5 uses a minuscule amount of energy, the massive popularity of Apple's devices results in significant energy demand in aggregate.
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.
Still, the study notes that smartphones use significantly less energy than other entertainment devices, and a shift from more traditional entertainment sources to smartphones can result in an overall benefit to energy consumption.


The explosion in smartphone usage is of course just one part of a surge in consumer electronics, which now represent approximately 13% of U.S. household energy usage. That growth, which comes even as the efficiency of appliances and other devices has significantly improved, has been driven by a massive increase in the kinds and numbers of devices being used in homes, from televisions to gaming systems to computers.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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26 months ago
Because this is what I worry about when I am dropping hundreds of dollars on a product...
Rating: 31 Votes
26 months ago
iPhone 4 is cheaper, might as well buy that instead.
Rating: 27 Votes
26 months ago
If we translate that over to Australian energy prices I believe the iPhone 5 costs $685.76 AUD to charge per year.
Rating: 15 Votes
26 months ago

Because this is what I worry about when I am dropping hundreds of dollars on a product...


The environmentalists worry about it...green is better.
Rating: 11 Votes
26 months ago
I knew I felt guilty for charging my phone at work!!! I am stealing. :( I will apologize to my boss and put down a few $1s to cover my cellular charging for the last few years.
Rating: 10 Votes
26 months ago
Unless you use the airport charger, then it's $3 for 30 minutes.

Rating: 10 Votes
26 months ago
What is the cost of leaving the charger plugged in when not charging?
Rating: 8 Votes
26 months ago

The environmentalists worry about it...green is better.


Ha! I am sure the environmentalists are tweeting their anger about the carbon footprint electronic devices use as we speak!!
Rating: 8 Votes
26 months ago

Probably the most useless and irrelavent article I've read in a while. My drive to work (12 miles) in one day uses more "energy" than my iphone will ever use. Is this trying to make me feel bad that we have iphones?


No. I just thought it was an interesting comparison that most people never think about. As we've seen already in this thread, people are surprised how small the number is.

And of course larger devices use more electricity than smaller ones. But would I have guessed that an Xbox 360 used 100x more energy if I had ever really thought about it? Probably not.

Take it for what it is...a quick look at how little energy a smartphone uses and how that compares to some other stuff you have around the house. It's not good or bad unless you want to make it so.
Rating: 8 Votes
26 months ago

The environmentalists worry about it...green is better.


We should buy phones without screens, because really, phones are where we waste most energy. Right?
Rating: 7 Votes

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