How to make Apple Watch battery last longer

How to make the Apple Watch battery last longer, and the battery of the iPhone it's connected to. Plus how long the Apple Watch's battery will last.

by


  • Running out of power 1
  • Battery life 2
  • Battery remaining 3
  • Best iWatch faces 4
  • Accessibility 5
  • Wrist Raise 6
  • Watch beeping 7
  • Digital Touch 8
  • Notifications 9
  • Mail Notifications 10
  • Activity 11
  • Power Saving iWatch 12
  • Force Quit apps 13
  • Maps 14
  • Remove apps 15
  • More power 16
  • Black and white 17
  • Do Not Disturb 18
  • AirPlane Mode 19
  • Bluetooth 20
  • Power Reserve 21
  • Reset Apple Watch 22
  • More stories
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Tip 1 of 22: How to make Apple Watch battery last longer

Our first day with the Apple Watch was disappointing. By 6.15pm our iPhone had run out of battery, and just half an hour later the Apple Watch gave up the ghost. Perhaps our first day’s use had been a little excessive – we’d been checking out the apps and messing around with settings, but it’s not as if we had run a marathon.

This poor experience has been shared by many new Apple Watch owners. Apple says that the Watch will offer an “all day battery life” – that’s up to 18 hours of normal use which it describes as: “90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.” We made it to almost 11 hours on the Watch, not that it was much use to us after our iPhone died.

There have been a lot of suggestions about what is eating up both the Watch and the iPhone battery. One suggestion was that the companion app on the iPhone is particularly power hungry – with one post showing that the app was responsible for 31 percent of the power usage on the phone (this wasn’t the case for us though, ours was 4 percent). It won’t hurt to quit the Apple Watch companion on your iPhone when you aren’t using it – double tap the home button on your iPhone and swipe up on the Watch app to quit it.

We think it is likely that there is a lot of background processing going on, and various communications between the Watch and the iPhone that are hogging power. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy to close an app once open on the Apple Watch, we discovered that you need to open the app in question on the Watch, press and hold the side button (below the Digital Crown) until you see the Power Off screen, and then press and hold it again to quit the app and return to the home screen. However, it struck us that it is difficult to see what apps are actually running in the background. We assumed that Glances show the running apps, but it appears that certain apps will always run in Glances.

Luckily you can remove apps from Glances in the iPhone app. Go to My Watch > Glances, tap on the red circle next to the app you wish to remove from Glances and tap Remove. We removed Maps and Heartbeat as we assumed that both could be a bit power hungry. Perhaps Activity would be another one to lose from Glances, but we aren’t quite ready to give that up yet.

Fetching Mails to the Apple Watch is also, apparently, pretty power intensive. We had set it to notify us of any VIP emails, but we decided to switch off that and stop showing email alerts, presuming that this would stop the Watch from constantly pinging the iPhone for details of new email.

We’ll keep tweaking the Apple Watch settings until we come up with the best case scenario for maximum battery life while still being able to enjoy the Watch features, and hopefully we will eventually be able to get through a whole day without running out of power.

Here are our top tips for saving battery life on the Apple Watch (and iPhone).

Read our iPhone battery life tips here: 33 tips to help boost iPhone battery life

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Our first day with the Apple Watch was disappointing. By 6.15pm our iPhone had run out of battery, and just half an hour later the Apple Watch gave up the ghost. Perhaps our first day’s use had been a little excessive – we’d been checking out the apps and messing around with settings, but it’s not as if we had run a marathon.

This poor experience has been shared by many new Apple Watch owners. Apple says that the Watch will offer an “all day battery life” – that’s up to 18 hours of normal use which it describes as: “90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.” We made it to almost 11 hours on the Watch, not that it was much use to us after our iPhone died.

There have been a lot of suggestions about what is eating up both the Watch and the iPhone battery. One suggestion was that the companion app on the iPhone is particularly power hungry – with one post showing that the app was responsible for 31 percent of the power usage on the phone (this wasn’t the case for us though, ours was 4 percent). It won’t hurt to quit the Apple Watch companion on your iPhone when you aren’t using it – double tap the home button on your iPhone and swipe up on the Watch app to quit it.

We think it is likely that there is a lot of background processing going on, and various communications between the Watch and the iPhone that are hogging power. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy to close an app once open on the Apple Watch, we discovered that you need to open the app in question on the Watch, press and hold the side button (below the Digital Crown) until you see the Power Off screen, and then press and hold it again to quit the app and return to the home screen. However, it struck us that it is difficult to see what apps are actually running in the background. We assumed that Glances show the running apps, but it appears that certain apps will always run in Glances.

Luckily you can remove apps from Glances in the iPhone app. Go to My Watch > Glances, tap on the red circle next to the app you wish to remove from Glances and tap Remove. We removed Maps and Heartbeat as we assumed that both could be a bit power hungry. Perhaps Activity would be another one to lose from Glances, but we aren’t quite ready to give that up yet.

Fetching Mails to the Apple Watch is also, apparently, pretty power intensive. We had set it to notify us of any VIP emails, but we decided to switch off that and stop showing email alerts, presuming that this would stop the Watch from constantly pinging the iPhone for details of new email.

We’ll keep tweaking the Apple Watch settings until we come up with the best case scenario for maximum battery life while still being able to enjoy the Watch features, and hopefully we will eventually be able to get through a whole day without running out of power.

Here are our top tips for saving battery life on the Apple Watch (and iPhone).

Read our iPhone battery life tips here: 33 tips to help boost iPhone battery life

 

Step 2 of 22: How long will the Apple Watch battery last?

Apple says that in general use the Apple Watch will last around 18 hours between charges. This figure was arrived at from tests conducted in March this year, in which an Apple Watch was paired with an iPhone and used for a variety of typical uses: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth.

Until we can properly test out the Apple Watch over a period of weeks and months, we are reliant on Apple's own quoted tests. But it is worth pointing out that Apple traditionally underclaims battery life, in order to manage expectations. So we would expect that it is being honest in its claims.

However, our experience so far suggests that the battery may not last a day, and in this article we will share some ways in which you might be able to increase battery life if you are finding that to be the case.

Whatever your typical usage, you can expect to have to charge your Apple Watch overnight every day. Unless you really limit what you do with it.

For instance, in Apple's own tests when it used the Apple Watch only as a watch, it lasted for 48 hours. If you have a ‘dumb watch’ you will probably go for decades without needing to changing the battery, but the point is that limiting your use of the Apple Watch will elongate its battery life. And in circumstances within which you need to eak out the juice, that may make sense. After all, Apple says that if your Apple Watch battery gets too low the device automatically switches into Power Reserve mode so you can continue to see the time for up to 72 hours. Read our review of the Apple Watch.

 

Step 3 of 22: Find the iPhone & iWatch battery usage

Wondering what your battery usage is like on your Apple Watch and iPhone? Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to General > Usage to see battery usage.

Here you can see how many hours of usage your Watch has been subject to since you last charged it – if you think that number looks higher than it should be chances are something is grabbing battery life while you aren’t actually using the Watch.

To see how much battery has been used up on the Watch itself open Glances by swiping up on the clock face, and look for Power Reserve. Here you can see what percentage use the battery is on.

Curious about your iPhone’s power usage, go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage and see how power hungry the Watch app is being. After a morning of accessing various settings in the Watch app our Battery Usage indicated the Watch app had used 14 percent of our battery and our phone was down to 49 percent battery while the Watch had 76 percent remaining.

 

Step 4 of 22: Best iWatch faces for battery life

Pick the most minimal watch face you can – the more black the less power hungry. We quickly ditched the pretty butterflies for the X-Large clock face in purple, but the least detailed and colourful ‘Simple’ clock face would probably be the most battery efficient option.

Read: How to change watch faces on the Apple Watch

 

Step 5 of 22: Apple Watch Accessibility features

In a similar vein you can use certain accessibility features to improve the battery life of your iWatch.

In the Apple Watch app go to General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and turn of Motion, this will limit animation and automatic resizing of the Apple Watch user interface on the Home screen when you open and close apps.

 

Step 6 of 22: How to turn off Wrist Raise on Apple Watch

Are you the kind of person who is often raising your arm? Perhaps you drink a lot of tea, or when you talk you wave your arms around gesticulating. If that sounds like you, you would be wise to turn off Activate on Wrist Raise.

You can stop your Watch switching on when you raise your wrist in the Watch App on your iPhone. Tapping General and sliding off Wrist Detection will stop the watch from showing you the time and your alerts when you raise it. If you turn it off you will find that some activity measurements won’t be available and your watch may not lock or unlock automatically, so you need to be sure that this is the best option for you.

Alternatively, you can turn Wrist Activation off on the Apple Watch itself. Tap the Settings icon > General > Activate on Wrist Raise, and switch the slider to off. Now if you wish to activate the screen you will have to tap it.

 

Step 7 of 22: How to stop Apple Watch beeping

Another way to preserve a little bit of power is to stop your Watch beeping when you receive notifications.

Go to the Apple Watch app on your phone, choose Sound & Haptics and mute Alert Volume.

 

Step 8 of 22: Digital Touch and battery life

Another way to avoid an excessive amount of haptic notifications is to not get caught up in a Digital Touch interaction with another Watch user.

We were tapping away and sending drawings and heart beats and both we and the recipient noticed that battery life seemed to suffer.

Read: How to use Digital Touch on Apple Watch

 

Step 9 of 22: Turn off Notifications on Apple Watch

Just as with your iPhone, don’t sign up for every Notification going if you want to save battery life.

In order to get Notifications on your Apple Watch the device has to be in almost constant communication with your phone, so be choosy about what you actually need to be notified of.

You can use the Apple Watch app on your phone turn off any Notifications you don’t need. Go to Notifications and go through each of the apps listed that can send notifications to your Watch and adjust the settings.

Learn more about Notifications in iOS 8 here.

 

Step 10 of 22: Turn off Mail Notifications on the iWatch

Of the Notifications there is one that you should pay particular attention to: Mail.

If you choose to see Alerts from Mail then expect your battery to run out quicker as the Watch will be constantly pinging the iPhone to see if you have any emails to be alerted to.

If you desperately need to be alerted to an email then leave alerts on – you can even fine-tune it to alert you if one of your VIPs (set up in Mail) emails you. But for the best battery life we recommend turning Mail alerts off.

 

Step 11 of 22: Turn off Activity related notifications on Apple Watch

You could also switch notifications off for the Activity app. For example, you can switch off Stand Reminders, so that your Watch doesn’t remind you every hour to stand up, although we can’t imagine this is particularly battery intensive.

You could similarly turn off the other Activity related notifications, but in all honesty it may be better to stop the Watch from Activity monitoring.

Unfortunately this doesn’t appear to be possible though. (You’ll see the same options for adjusting Activity if you go to the Apple Watch app, and scroll down to Activity.) Read: How to use the Apple Watch Activity app.

 

Step 12 of 22: Turn on Apple Watch Power Saving mode

While you can’t turn off Activity monitoring as such, you can turn on a Power Saving mode that makes the Apple Watch conserve battery life by disabling the heart rate sensor during walking and running workouts.

If you do this the calorie burn calculations won’t be accurate though.

To switch on Power Saving Mode go to the Watch app, scroll down to Workout, and select Power Saving Mode. Read: How to use the Apple Watch Workout app

 

Step 13 of 22: How to Force Quit apps on the Apple Watch

If you suspect an app is using too much power, you can force quit it.

Force quitting an app is not as obvious as it is on the iPhone, however. To quit a Watch app, open the app, hold down the side button until you see the power off message, and then hold the side button again until you return to home screen.

Because you can’t see what apps are open on the Watch you can’t be sure that it has really closed, but we are assured that this will quit any open apps.

We tried it out in Maps and sure enough when we re opened the app it had to load up again, although the route we’d planned was still there. Read: How to use Maps on Apple Watch

 

Step 14 of 22: Turn Off Maps on the Apple Watch

Speaking of Maps, once you have planned a route make sure you Stop Directions when you are finished with the route plan.

To do so hard press on the Map app and tap on the cross labelled Stop Directions.

 

Step 15 of 22: How to remove apps from iWatch

Another tip is to get rid of apps on your iWatch that you don’t need.

Apple says that there were 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch at launch, but we certainly don’t recommend that you install all of them. This is because each app will be moving info between your iPhone and iWatch. So be choosy about what apps you add to your Watch, just because there is a Apple Watch version of an app you use on your iPhone doesn’t mean you should add it to your Watch.

You can only remove third party apps, however. If you want to remove apps from your iWatch go the the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, scroll down to the app you wish to remove, and toggle toe Show App on Apple Watch to off. You can also remove them from Glances here.

 

Step 16 of 22: Get more Apple Watch power

What about those desperate times when you really need to squeeze the last bit of power out of the battery?

There are various last minute tweaks to extend the battery in the Watch a little further.

 

Step 17 of 22: How to Grayscale Apple Watch

If you were really desperate to stretch out battery power go to Accessibility and turn on Grayscale and remove any colour from your life.

 

Step 18 of 22: How to turn on Do Not Disturb on Apple Watch

Turn on Do Not Disturb to prevent Notifications causing your watch to light up, tap your wrist, or beep at you.

The simplest way to turn on Do Not Disturb is to swipe up on the Clock Face to enter Glances, and swipe along until you reach the Connected screen, then tap on the crescent moon icon.

 

Step 19 of 22: How to turn on AirPlane Mode on Apple Watch

You can also turn on Airplane Mode on the Connected screen, which means that any communication between your Watch and iPhone will be bared.  

 

Step 20 of 22: Apple Watch and Bluetooth

When it comes to saving the power on your iPhone you may be inclined to turn off Bluetooth.

Bluetooth is required for your iWatch and iPhone to communicate, and without Bluetooth the Watch will not offer much in the way of functionality. For example, you won’t be able to load up your latest emails without switching on Bluetooth on the iPhone and you won’t receive any text or call alerts.

If you need any more convincing, Apple actually states that in order to maximise battery life on the Watch you should keep Bluetooth enabled on the iPhone as it enables “more efficient communications”.

 

Step 21 of 22: Turn on Power Reserve Mode on iWatch

Your final port of call is to turn on Power Reserve Mode.

To do so, press and hold the side button and when power off screen comes up choose power reserve. Or you can swipe up on the clock face to see the Power Reserve glance and turn it on there.

From this point on your Watch will only work as a clock. When you want to go back to using the iWatch normally, hold the side button again.

The Apple Watch will always give you the option to switch into this Power Reserve Mode when it is close to running out of battery and Apple says you should get a couple of days use as a clock in this mode.

 

Step 22 of 22: How to reset Apple Watch

Done all the above and convinced that something is wrong with your Watch? Some have suggested that a hard reboot will fix things. To reboot your Watch, hold down Digital Crown and side button until screen goes dark.

Now read: How to repair a scratched, smashed or broken Apple Watch

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