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How much does it cost to run a smartphone?

It's costing you money every time you plug it in to charge -- but how much? Go on, guess!

The other day I was chatting to someone about my Jackery Solar Generator setup, and the subject got onto how much money you can save.

"I bet you could save a lot of money using that to charge up your iPhone!"

I'd never thought about it, so I decided to run the numbers.

Must read: Jackery Solar Generators: Well-built, tough, and deliver what's promised

The iPhone I'm using is an iPhone 11 Pro Max, and its battery has a capacity of 15.04 watt-hour.

Now let's assume some assumptions. First, the battery has a lifespan of 500 recharge cycles, which means that over that time, it has slurped in 7,500 wh (watt-hours of power), or 7.5 kwh (kilowatt-hours) of power.

Let's now assume that the charging system is 90% efficient, which means that the battery has taken in about 8.3 kwh of power.

In the US, the average cost of 1 kwh of power is about 12 cents, so over its entire lifespan, that iPhone has cost a dollar.

Let's do the same for a MacBook Pro. The latest M1 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 58.2 wh battery and is good for 1,000 recharge cycles.

Again, assuming 90% efficiency in charging, and that power is the average 12 cents, that MacBook Pro will cost (assuming it's running purely on battery power) under $8 to run.

Let's also put this in the context of the average US residential utility customer, who uses about 900 kwh of power per month.