iPhone Uses More Power Than a Fridge
While ICT takes 10% of global electricity: report
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2013 3:55 PM CDT
A salesperson at a mobile phone shop displays an Apple iPhone 4 to a customer in New Delhi. U.S.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)

(Newser) – Is your iPhone running? Better shut it off, because that device is using more energy than your refrigerator. A new report says that a fridge uses just 322 kWh per year, compared with the 361 kWh for an iPhone, if you include its wireless connections, data usage, and battery charges, the Breakthrough Institute reports. But that's nothing compared to information and communications technology worldwide, which uses 10% of global electricity—and that's a low estimate. New trends like wireless broadband could make the figure even higher.

The information sector relies heavily on coal power, and differs from other energy leeches because the cloud is never turned off, making it hard to reduce electricity use and carbon emissions. The study, sponsored by the coal and mining industry, notes that change is unlikely in the near future. But the Breakthrough Institute notes we badly need cleaner alternatives, and Bryan Walsh at Time agrees: "We already have a gigantic digital cloud, and it's only going to get bigger," he writes. "What we need is a cleaner one."

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Showing 3 of 26 comments
Tsoho
Aug 16, 2013 5:32 PM CDT
Reality Check. In order for your phone to use 361kWh per year, it would have to be using 41Watts continuously all year. Simple experiment ... Touch a 40W light bulb sometime. Now, imagine walking around with that 40W bulb in your pocket all day or pressing it up against your ear while you talk. Something is wrong with this report!
Scott603
Aug 16, 2013 4:32 PM CDT
The way they arrived at the iPhone using more power than the fridge is by including the power used by cell towers, data centers, the manufacturing plants that made the phone, its components, and the recycle center when you eventually toss it. But the headline implies otherwise.
jcranford
Aug 16, 2013 1:10 PM CDT
whose business is it how much power we use? cities and governments everywhere leave all types of devices on all the time, especially lights at night. entire streets where businesses close by 9 pm are lit up like daylight all night long. i deliver papers along many of these streets. i wonder how people would react if they knew the nickel and cadmium in that battery in that EV car was strip mined? that the majority of the rest of the car, being made of plastic, is a product of the oil industry? unfortunately, this story starts out with the false premise that the cause of climate change is man-made carbon emissions.