watchOS 9 rumored to bring the iPhone’s low-power mode to your wrist

watchOS 9 may bring a new Apple Watch low-power mode this fall (not to be confused with the current power reserve mode) for improved battery performance.

An image showing a red power icon in the middle, set against a dark-patterned, slightly distorted background
  • A new report alleges that the watchOS 9 update includes a low-power mode
  • It’s unclear if it’ll supplant the existing power reserve mode feature
  • Low-power mode is also available on the iPhone, iPad and Mac

Apple Watch rumored to get low-power mode

Some Apple devices support low-power mode which kills certain system features to prolong battery life. Surprisingly, the low-power mode is unsupported on the Apple Watch even though the wearable device has a tiny battery that doesn’t even last 24 hours. The company could fix the omission by adding a low-power mode to the upcoming watchOS 9 software. Read: How to save battery on the Apple Watch

For watchOS 9, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has it, Apple is planning a new low-power mode “that is designed to let its smartwatch run some apps and features without using as much battery life.” Read: 40+ ways to save battery life on your iPhone

Gurman doesn’t clarify whether this new feature would be in addition to the power reserve feature or supplant it. Power reserve mode has been present in watchOS since the first Apple Watch model. When in power reserve mode, your watch can only display the time and nothing else. The Apple Watch prompts you to turn on power reserve mode when it’s low on battery power.

Featured image with two iPhone 12 Pro Max screenshots set against a dark-re gradient background. The screenshots show a lock screen message which informs the user that Apple's Power Reserve feature lets their device remains findable after power off
Power reserve on iPhone lets you find the device even after it’s powered off

You can also manually invoke power reserve mode: Swipe up from the bottom of the watch face screen, tap the battery indicator, hit “Power Reserve” and then choose “Proceed.” Moreover, the power reserve mode is available on the iPhone 12 and later as well. On the iPhone, power reserve lets you locate the device in Find My (and use certain other features) even after the battery charge drops down to zero percent. Read: What is the power reserve feature on Apple devices? How does it work?

watchOS 9 is rumored to add other useful new features to your wrist, including significant updates to health and activity tracking, new features in the Health app and other improvements and under-the-hood tweaks. The rumored blood pressure monitoring and glucose tracking sensors have apparently hit development snags, however, and won’t be added to the watch until at least 2024.

When is watchOS 9 launching?

At the time of writing, watchOS 9 wasn’t announced. Apple will preview watchOS 9 alongside other software updates for its devices at its annual developer conference, which starts on June 6. Following the June 6 keynote, Apple will release inaugural builds of the new software for developers to test. The general public will have a chance to get its hands on Apple’s prerelease software a few weeks later. We will get a few more beta releases as Apple squishes bugs and continues developing features throughout the summer until, ultimately, the updates launch to the public this fall.