Apple designed Apple Watch with a battery life expectancy of 18 hours per day, and from my own experience, I can definitely attest that it usually far exceeds that number. But of course, it all depends on your usage. Depending on what you do with it, you might see better or worse battery life.
Below are some simple tips to extend Apple Watch battery life. Some of them are obvious, some of them are less obvious. Unless you want to be an extreme power saver, it would be silly to implement all these tips at once. My advice is to look at them, and pick and choose which one would allow you to enjoy your Apple Watch to the fullest extent while not compromising on the best features the device has to offer.
Apple Watch battery life tips
Keep in mind the goal here is not to disable as many features as possible. The goal is to be aware of the different ways you can save battery depending on your Apple Watch usage.
Adjust screen brightness
The OLED display of Apple Watch provides great black levels with minimal power management, but it still needs power, and the brighter your screen is, the more it will require. One obvious way to remedy this is to lower the brightness of the screen. You can adjust the screen brightness directly from the device or from the companion app by going to Settings > Brightness & Text Size. Note that there are only three levels of brightness.
Use a darker watch face
Black pixels require much less energy than other colors on OLED displays, which probably explains why there is so much black across the Apple Watch user interface. One simple way to save battery life is to use watch faces with as much black as possible. The more black you have, the more battery you can retain. So that cute Mickey Mouse watch face you’ve been showing all your friends, it’s likely costing you a few battery points every day.
Use complications that don’t ping your location or require updates
Some complications (also known as watch face features) may require to ping your location to provide updated data. While the impact is probably minimal, it can add up quickly if you have several of these features on your watch face. Complications that may ping your location are the Moon Phase, Weather, and Sunrise/Sunset. In addition, note that the Stocks complication doesn’t ping your location but pulls updated data from your iPhone, which can also impact your battery life.
Lower or mute sounds
By default, every time you receive a notification, the watch will provide haptic feedback and make a sound. You can adjust the sound level or mute sound entirely by going to Sounds & Haptic from the Settings app on Apple Watch, or directly from the Watch app on iPhone. Additionally, you can fine-tune notification sounds for all stock applications by going to Settings > Notifications, selecting an app, and using custom alerts instead of the default iPhone mirroring option.
Reduce haptic feedback
Just like sounds can take a toll on your Apple Watch battery, the vibration from the Taptic Engine, although minimal, can also contribute to lower battery life at the end of the day. By going to the Sounds & Haptic tab from the Settings app on the watch or from the companion app, you can adjust the haptic strength and turn off prominent haptic.
Be conservative with notifications
Apple Watch is a great way to stay in touch, but it can become a distraction if you have too many notifications set up to be pushed from your iPhone to your wrist. Even worse, these distractions can have a negative impact on your battery. On the Watch app on iPhone, go to the Notifications tab and turn off everything you don’t need. Not only this will improve your battery life, but it will also keep you more focused.
Turn DND on if you don’t need timely alerts
In a meeting or at school? Turn Do Not Disturb on in order to save a little battery by not being pinged with incoming notifications. Not only it will prevent the Taptic Engine to use battery when providing haptic feedback, but you will also save battery life by not raising your wrist and waking the screen to look at notifications.
Turn off Hey Siri
Hey Siri is a great feature that feels like it was made for Apple Watch, but it is also one that is constantly listening to you when the screen is on, one mAh at a time. Some users have reported greatly improved battery simply by turning it off, which can be done from Settings > General > Siri on your Apple Watch. Doing so will seriously amputate the usefulness of your watch, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Turn off wrist raise
Out of the box, your Apple Watch is configured to wake the display when you raise your wrist in front of you, and from my experience, it works fairly well. Sometimes though, the display will accidentally light up when you actually don’t intend to look at it. This is because the watch thought you did. If you want to be more conservative with the frequency the display wakes up, just opt in to wake it manually. To do so, go to Settings > General > Activate on Wrist Raise, and turn off Wrist Raise. To wake the display, you will now have to either tap on it, or press one of the two buttons. Note that this feature can only be accessed from the device’s settings; not from the Watch app.
Delete apps you don’t use
Now that the novelty has worn off, it’s time to do a little Spring cleaning on your Home screen. Take a few minutes to figure out what apps you really need, and those you don’t. Even if you don’t use them that much, there may be data transfer between the apps on iPhone and on the watch, leading to slow battery drain.
Remove Glances you don’t use
Probably an even worse offender than apps, Glances pull data from your iPhone every time you bring them up, accidentally or not. Just like you should do for apps, try to curate the amount of Glances you have set up on your iPhone. You can do so by going the Watch app > Glances, and turning off what you don’t need. Not only will you save battery, you will also avoid seeing stuff you don’t care much about when browsing through your Glances.
Use Power Saving Mode during workouts
During workouts, you can turn on Power Saving Mode to disable the heart rate sensor, which is one of the most power-demanding features on your Apple Watch. To do this, go to the Watch app on your iPhone > Workout, and turn on Power Saving Mode. The downside is that calorie burn calculation may not be as accurate when the heart rate sensor is off.
Stop sending your heart beat
Just like measuring your heart beat during workouts is a power hungry feature, sending your heart beat to your friends can have an impact on your battery level at the end of the day. The fix here is simple: just refrain from sending your heart beat to friends. It’s creepy and it drains your battery.
Disable heart rate and fitness tracking altogether
We’ve established that heart rate monitoring can be demanding on your battery, and so it fitness tracking, the feature that uses your body movements to determine step count and fitness level. The good news is, if you aren’t really using your watch for health and fitness purposes, then you can disable those two features. On your iPhone, go the Watch app > Privacy > Motion & Fitness, then turn off Heart Rate and Fitness Tracking.
Turn off automatic app downloads
By default, every time you download an app that has an Apple Watch component, this app will automatically be installed on your watch. This can be convenient, but it can also slightly diminish your battery without your actual consent. My advice? Go to the companion app, General > Automatic Downloads, and turn the feature off.
In the same way that iOS 7 introduced various animations, Watch OS is packed with subtle motions that aim at improving the visual experience of the software. The problem is all these little animations add up and can take a toll on your battery life in the long run. You can turn this off by going to the Watch app on your iPhone, General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > Off. This setting also has other side effects, such as resizing all your Home screen icons.
Just like various motions were added in iOS 7 and made their way to Watch OS, transparency is also a big part of the overall design language used on Apple watch. And just like motion can decrease your battery, transparency, to a smaller extend, will as well. You can turn that off by going to General > Accessibility > Reduce Transparency > Off on the Watch app on your iPhone.
Avoid playing games
We’re approaching the obvious tips zone here, but it needs to be stated as some sort of reminder. There is a handful of games available for Apple Watch, and these things will just suck the life out of your battery in less time than it takes for you to answer a Trivia Crack question. I’m guilty of it too of course, but I try to limit my usage of games unless I have 3 minutes to myself and let my iPhone on the coffee table. You know, the Trivia Crack emergency.
Take it easy on calls
Still in the obvious category, it should be noted that according to Apple, talk time (aka phone calls) is the best way to deplete your Apple Watch battery. Try to keep you inner Dick Tracy in check, and unless it is absolutely necessary, try placing phone calls directly from your iPhone. This is its primary purpose after all.
Take it easy on music streaming
After phone calls, streaming music via Bluetooth to a wireless headset is the worst thing you can do to your battery, according to Apple. If you have your iPhone handy, simply stream the music over Bluetooth from the phone to the headset. Even doing so, you’ll still be able to control what music is playing from your watch, but it won’t take the battery hit that comes with it.
Get in Power Reserve mode
When everything else fails, and maybe more importantly if your watch must go through the day to tell the time, just turn Power Reserve mode on. This will shut down every feature of your Apple Watch but it will keep telling the time, which I guess is its basic function anyway. On your watch clock screen, swipe up to reveal the Glances, and look for the power one, then tap on Power Reserve. You can also press and hold the side button and drag the Power Reserve slider to the right. To get out of Power Reserve mode, press and hold the side button to restart your watch.
Reboot from time to time
If you’re experiencing what appears to be abnormal battery drain on your Apple Watch, remember that this device is basically a miniature computer, and like every computer out there, it actually helps to sometimes reboot it. Even if you don’t see any battery problem, it’s actually not a bad idea to reboot from time to time. To restart, simply press and hold the side button to power off, then press and hold again to boot it up.
Do you have tips on how to save battery on Apple Watch? Please make sure to share them with us.