How much power does my phone consume?

Did you ever think how much power does your cell phone consume? Yes, we know it will be negligible but once the number of consumers has grown to a very high number all around the world, the power being consumed as a whole may be significant?

Let’s do some simple maths and we are not getting into any fancy tools here. It’s simple arithmetic. You will need to find three numbers about your phone before you start this calculation. The numbers are:

  1. The battery capacity in mAh (milli-Ampere-hour)
  2. The voltage output of the battery ( volts )
  3. Total Talk time
  4. Total Standby Time (optional)


Battery capacity and voltage

Battery capacity and voltage

How to find the battery capacity:

Pull the phone out of your pocket now, remove the battery cover and look for a label on your battery. See what is the capacity of the battery. You can find that typically in mAh right on the battery itself. If not, search around the manufacturer’s web site or hit, search your phone model and pull up the battery capacity. GsmArena always lists it. Most smartphone batteries today have a typical capacity between 1000mAh and 2000mAh.

How to find the battery voltage:

That will be on your battary too. This should most certainly be 3.7v but make sure you get the right number for your battery. You may also find that on your phone manufacturer’s website if not written on the battery itself.

Total Talk Time

This one’s simple too. always lists it for almost all the phone. If you don’t find your phone, see your device’s users manual’s specification section or just look for it on the device manufacturer’s website.

Total Standby Time

Wherever you see Total Talk Time, you’ll find Total Standby time too. We need this to calculate the least power consumption when the phone is not in use.

The Calculation

Once you have all these numbers, we need to understand the fact that the phone consumes very low power (watts or VA) when in sleepย  mode and it takes comparatively higher power when making calls, using GPRS or when using WIFI for example. It depends what feature of your phone is energy intensive, for example some phones have high resolution video cameras and recording videos can be very battery intensive in such phones.

Keeping that in mind, lets calculate the power your phone takes when you are talking on the phone. The basic calculation will be:

Power = Capacity x Voltage / Talk Time x 1000

I’m assuming we’ll plug Capacity in mAh, Voltage in volts and talk time in hours. For example my BlackBerry 9700’s battery capacity is 1500 mAh, Talk time is 6 hours and battery voltage is 3.7 volts (and we divide it by 1000 to convert mA into A). The power consumption will be:

1500 x 3.7 / 6 x 1000 = 0.925 watts ( or VA)

Similarly, if the phone is not doing much, the standby time is 408 hours given in the specifications of the phone, the same formula will give us the power consumption during standby mode:

1500 x 3.7 / 408 x 1000 = 0.01360 watts

Very tiny numbers. Lets look at it at a very high level view. Total cell phone subscribers all around the world are more than 4.2 billion today. Assuming average power consumption of their phones is 0.01 watts when on standby, this world is consuming 42 megawatt of power just to keep their phones switched on ๐Ÿ™‚

And in case all the users worldwide turn off their phones when they go to sleep, we will be saving more than 10 megawatt of power consumption all the time.


Turn off your cellphone when not needed.

On a second thought, you can ignore above advice, as I never switch it off ๐Ÿ˜‰

p.s: Also read “Cellphones are better than computers“. They consume very less power and can do pretty much everything laptops can do.

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  25. akshay mohan says:

    Hi , i found your formula very useful bu what i want to know is how much power the phone consumes for 1 min talktime … how can i do that ….. is the power shown in the example for total talk time or just i minย 

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