iOS 7 (battery empty 001)

Contrary to popular belief, the Apple Watch has a pretty remarkable battery, a notion driven home by even the toughest of critics and reviewers.

Now that first shipments have arrived into the hands of consumers, and people have spent a day or two with their device, reports are coming in that the wearable device is in some cases dramatically draining the battery of an iPhone it’s paired to.

Our own Oliver Haslam has underscored the phenomenon in his hands-on with the Watch based on his first 24 hours with the device, as did others including former Engadget editor Ryan Block. What gives?

As you know, Watch apps execute on the iPhone as WatchKit extensions, streaming the user interface assets and a storyboard back to the Watch. In addition, the Apple Watch uses the GPS and Wi-Fi in your iPhone, putting an additional strain on the smartphone’s battery life.

Interesting enough, as the screenshot below that Block tweeted out attests, the culprit could be the iPhone’s Apple Watch companion app.

Apple Watch app battery drain iPhone screenshot

I’m sure you’ll agree that such a huge battery drain seems abnormal for what should be a paired device that just sends quick bursts of data.

At any rate, his finding was echoed by John Byrne, who suggested that force-quitting the app seemed to help alleviate the issue at least a little bit.

To do so, double-press the iPhone’s Home button to bring up the task switcher and flick the Apple Watch companion app out of view.

Apple Watch app battery drain iPhone screenshot 002

A discussion thread on MacRumors’ forums provides similarly mixed results. One MacRumors poster noted that checking email on their Apple Watch resulted in a significant battery drain on the iPhone.

“Pre-Apple Watch I would routinely see my iPhone 6 go through a day’s use without charging,” iDownloadBlog’s Oliver Haslam wrote in his Apple Watch hands-on.

“Since I got the Apple Watch, that has dramatically reduced. The first day of Apple Watch usage saw my iPhone die after just 13 hours. That’s with neither the watch nor the iPhone being used for a solid 3 or so hours because I was at a football game, too.”

Hopefully, Apple will address this in a future iOS/Apple Watch OS firmware update. Moreover, Apple said that native Watch apps will be allowed later this year. These apps will supposedly run on the device itself, meaning the Watch and phone shouldn’t need to talk to each other quite so much, thus saving battery.

What’s your experience with the Apple Watch in terms of the iPhone battery drain? Has your iPhone’s battery improved, worsen or stayed the same as a result of your Apple Watch use? Did force-quitting the Apple Watch companion app help?

Sound off in the comment section below.

Source: Ryan BlockJohn Byrne, MacRumors forums

  • WaterTrooper

    Glad I didn’t get one.

    • Tavish

      Glad you didn’t too so mine will hopefully ship faster.

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        This! lol

    • rfow

      This is the guy who checks every moment for an opportunity to be that rebel who didn’t buy the newest Apple product.

      • WaterTrooper

        Glad you guys have $350 to spend on a phone accessory. That takes 30% of the battery and you have to charge during the day. Enjoy.

      • Gregg

        We will. Thanks.

      • FrankJL

        Idiots around every corner and the worst thing about it – they are so stuck in their ways they don’t want to listen to reason or logic. APPLE BANKS of that!

        So now they have to buy a battery charger + battery case for their phone to be able to keep up with a 350 battery gussler that does EXACTLY the same thing your phone does with a smaller screen. hahahaha

        So hard to reach into your pocket and view your phone screen – i know

      • This Guy

        Bro why are you even here? Go troll somewhere else.

  • Hi

    I don’t have an apple watch. And I need one

  • Tommy Gumbs

    Pretty remarkable battery life, compared to what? I wonder if you read this stuff out loud? You should. If this watch has remarkable battery life, then others has steller.

    And basicaly this needs watch needs an iphone, but it drains the iPhone battery as well? Wow……that sucks.

    • I thought the same thing. Having to charge the damn thing everyday doesn’t sound remarkable at all. By the end of the night there’s not enough plugs for all the stupid things that need to be charged up.

      • Manuel Molina

        Sounds like the first 2 iPhones when they came out.

      • The iPhones of today still have to be charged daily.

      • Gregg

        Do that while you’re sleeping. Or you don’t sleep?

      • Between my kids, work, and nursing school I don’t get much sleep. But it’s still annoying having to plug so many things in.

      • Manuel Molina

        My 6 plus with tethering 3 netflix shows, phone calls, texting, emails and 2 youtube videos still gets me 40 % left through to the next day.

      • Manuel Molina

        I’m grateful to say the iPhone 6 Plus rarely needs to be charged daily on my end to the point I forget to charge it sometimes.

      • Yeah I bet the six plus is doing well battery-wise as my six lasts longer than any other iPhone ive had this far.

  • Jeff Maxwell

    I’ve read quite a few people noting dramatically IMPROVED battery life in their phone – presumably because they weren’t using it as much. I don’t doubt that some people are taking a battery hit but it seems pretty inconsistent.

  • :[

    When they say 13 hours what do they mean? 13 hours of usage? because i have never got more than 7 hpurs of usage from any iphone lol I’m shocked how they get that much. I do use my phone A LOT though i consider myself a power user. My phone usually get 5-7 hours of usage.

    • TeddyBearStand

      If you wake up at 8am and go to sleep around 12am, thats 16hrs.

      They’re talking about standby time (usage+sleep).

  • White Michael Jackson

    That means all you need to do is shell another 100 dollars for a battery case. Easy fix.

  • M L

    If I can get out of ‘processing hell’ on any of my 3 watches, I would have a better opinion on this.

    • Chris Coleman

      Same here, the temptation to cancel my order is growing…..£299 just laying dormant in my account

  • yo

    I thought having an apple watch will conserve my iPhone battery because you know ill be checking more the watch than the iPhone.

    • Bluetooth will always drain your battery faster than not having it on.

  • rfow

    I don’t get it, my battery is barely affected when I have my Watch connected… For hours too.

  • socrates

    It seems biased coming from people who are just getting their devices and adapting to a new OS.

    Most things will take more time, and you have to account for the fact that most of these reviewers aren’t using their device the way they would on an average day.

  • 5723alex .

    My Pebble smartwatch is connected to my iPhone6 using GPS, BT, BTLE,… and doesn’t drain iPhone’s battery at all.

    • Edward Roth

      And at the end of the day you have a $4itty Pebble

  • jalexcarter

    wouldve had mine friday but had to leave town. going to pick it up in an hour and a half! need my lunch break to come sooner!

  • Chocolate Norris

    No impact on the iPhone’s battery here!
    Plus Applewatch battery lasts unexpected very long,
    1 Full charge in 3days
    Happy camper !!!!

    • Benedict

      you have to turn it on… 🙂

      • Chocolate Norris

        Sure did 😉
        Apple Watch app 2% in the last 24 Hours

    • Fanboy 

      Yup, same here. 1 charge lasted me the last 2 days and when I got home at 2am last night I still had 6% left

    • Romonaga Wowshister

      Did you actually turn it on?

  • Sounds like wall hugging just got squared…such premium wall huggers we’ll be seeing around.

    • Chocolate Norris

      Haters gonna Hate!

  • gaucho

    this would be the logical device is the new buyer will want all the time to explore its features, it is logical that the battery will run out quickly

  • MacGuru96

    Mine will be here tomorrow! Needless to say, I am immensely excited. 🙂

  • B Goddard

    Got my Apple Watch two days ago.. First full day of use was yesterday.. Drains the battery of my I Phone 6 Plus at alarming pace. Anybody got any ideas of what I can do – besides turn it off and leave it at home??

  • Affrae

    I actually found it wasn’t the Apple Watch app itself, but it was the Runkeeper app draining the iPhone battery – look out for other apps as well. Just because it isn’t the Apple Watch app coming up on the list does not mean it isn’t something else talking to your watch.

    In my case the Runkeeper app somehow changed it’s location updating to be “Always”, instead of “While Using” – I know I didn’t do it directly, but I may have said yes to something else for the watch to cause that to happen…

    D.

  • Dee

    I have an iPhone 5. My battery is draining VERY quickly and I do not even have the Apple Watch companion app open. I used to keep location services off but it seems that to do so now would be counterproductive to the needs of the watch. What else can be done?

  • Rose Nobles

    I absolutely love my Apple Watch. With so many kids and all the running I do, digging through my purse to find my phone is a pain and carrying it around in my hand or pocket never works cause I end up dropping it and shattering it or it end’s up in the toilet cause it’s in my back pocket. So with that being said it has been a great convenience in that aspect and I may save some money from not having to make so many insurance claims. On the other hand the battery life on my phone is no where near as good as it was just a few days ago. When the watch sucks the battery life out of my phone then nither one works and I am left with no phone because of course the watch does not work as a phone unless your phone is on and close to you. It a love hate sort of things. If I can figure out how to save my battery life on my phone I would be extremely happy with my purchase and have no other complaints.

  • Jason Hendry

    I’m no apple fan and I’m aslso not gona get a smart watch from aNY MANUFACTORER UNTILL I CAN GET THE TIME ON ALWAYS AND 3 -5 DAYS BATTERY LIFE, BUT HELL THE APPLE WATCH IS SEXY, LOOKES BETER THAN I TOHUGH IT WOULKD AND YEH IM A LITTLE JELLY. BUT FOR ME NOT REALLY INTO WATCHES YET.

  • Branden Horiuchi

    I had this issue and after some digging on forums I tried removing all of my “profiles” from my iphone 6 and restarted the watch. now no issues with iphone battery draining abnormally. I suppose this doesnt help corporate email users with good, mobileiron, etc…

  • I used Cookoo and pebble smart watch before using the Apple Watch, I agree with the post that Apple Watch is eating more power than all other devices. With pebble iphone5s bettary lasts for at least a day, with Apple Watch it is reduced to 4 hours max