Apple Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6S review: ​Apple's answer to iPhone battery life: Slap a case on it

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MSRP: $99.00

The Good The Apple Smart Battery Case's one-piece design feels comfortable and is sleeker than some competitors. Its Lightning port can charge up the case and iPhone together.

The Bad It's expensive, and its 1,877 mAh battery capacity isn't as high as some other case options. It makes the headphone jack inaccessible to some headphones, and its bulbous design isn't all that attractive.

The Bottom Line Apple's own iPhone 6 and 6S-compatible battery case is compact, comfortable and works with Lightning cables, but other cases exist that cost less and deliver more power.

Visit for details.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

The iPhone 6S is great, but its battery life was never its strong suit. I said that in my review, and I felt the same way about the iPhone 6, too. I pair multiple fitness bands and smartwatches, stream music and generally wear out my iPhone so that it always needs a top-off charge by 4 p.m.

Apple has danced around the battery limitations on the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone, adding a low-power mode in iOS 9 (which stretches battery life a bit) and pushing power-hungry users to the larger, more capacious 5.5-inch Plus phones -- whether or not they preferred its jumbo size. Third-party accessories have long addressed the battery issue, meanwhile, with everything from pocketable battery dongles to form-fitting battery cases.

Now, Apple has officially unveiled its very own iPhone Smart Battery Case, too. But at $99 in the US, £79 in the UK and AU$165 in Australia, it's more expensive than competing models. For that price, you could pick up the similarly sized Mophie Juice Pack Reserve ($60) and Anker's Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case ($40), which is well-loved on Amazon.


Apple's case fits snugly, but there's a bulge in the back.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Smart Battery Case promises up to 18 hours of 4G LTE Web browsing, up from 10 hours for the iPhone 6S on its own -- an 80 percent boost (the specific battery capacity is 1,877 mAh). It's compatible with the iPhone 6 as well.

I've been using Apple's new Smart Battery Case with the iPhone 6S over the weekend, and it's good. Is it all that much better than existing battery cases? Not really.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Smart Battery Case looks a little unattractive in photos, and even in person: the back of the case has a odd bulge where the battery pack lives, making it seem like a normal iPhone case somehow ate a battery for lunch. It's actually pretty comfortable to hold, though. The soft-touch rubbery silicone case is made of the same material as Apple's Smart Covers and cases, and slip-on iPhone accessories, lined with soft microfiber on the inside. It's available in two colors: charcoal gray (shown here) and white.


It's about as thick as Mophie's thinnest case.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's case has a few advantages: it has a Lightning cable pass-through, which means it can be charged using your default cable, while nearly all other such battery cases require a Micro-USB cable. If it's charged with one of Apple's 10- or 12-watt iPad power bricks, it can charge the iPhone and case simultaneously for faster top-off.