7 Apple Watch tips to improve battery life

Apple upgrades the capabilities of the Apple Watch with each generation, but there’s one thing that rarely gets any better: battery life. All Apple Watch models get all-day battery life estimates, with the Apple Watch Ultra going the extra mile. Specifically, Apple says you get 18 hours of battery life for the Apple Watch SE and Series 9, and 36 hours of battery life for the Apple Watch Ultra 2. The same estimates apply to their predecessors.

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However, there are things you can do to extend the battery life of your Apple Watch, and I’ll show you a few of them below.

Don’t disable health features to save battery life

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 offer double the battery life in Low Power Mode. But that’s something I’d advise you to avoid at all costs. This isn’t like the iPhone’s Low Power Mode, which is actually useful.

Low Power Mode kills the heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch, which is a must-have feature on a wearable device. Monitoring your heart isn’t just good for improving your form during workouts. It can help catch early signs of heart disease. You won’t want to disable the sensor to save battery life.

The same goes for the other health-tracking features of the Apple Watch. You’ll benefit more from the Watch tracking your health than prolonging battery life.

I’ll also point out that the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra support fast charging, which means they’ll take less time to recharge. That way, you can use these watches for longer during the day. The fast-charging mode is especially helpful if you want to track your sleep.

I use my Apple Watch for health and fitness monitoring. That includes sleep tracking. Notifications take a back seat to all of that, and most are silenced.

With that in mind, the following tips apply to watchOS 10, so make sure you upgrade to Apple’s latest operating system to use these features.

Keep your Apple Watch on mute

Speaking of silencing notifications, I also keep the Apple Watch on mute. The Apple Watch makes no sounds whenever it relays information. Whether it’s alarms, calls, notifications, or health-related data. The watch vibrates, which is more than good enough to grab my attention.

Tap the Side button to bring up the Control Center on your Apple Watch. In there, look for the mute toggle.

Turn off Siri

Speaking of audio, you can turn off Siri on the Apple Watch. Just tap the Digital Crown, look for the Settings app, go to Siri, and turn off the assistant.

You probably have an iPhone with you at all times, so you don’t need the Apple Watch to keep listening for your “Hey Siri” / “Siri” commands. And this can save some energy.

Turn off the Always-on display

If you’ve read any of my pieces about how my iPhone 14 Pro battery health is still great after a year, you probably know I turned off the Always-on display. I think it’s overkill on the iPhone since a Face ID unlock gets me inside the handset anyway.

The same goes for the Apple Watch. I would not enable it, as it doesn’t make a difference whether I can see the time without moving my hand or tapping the display.

I don’t have the feature enabled as I’m rocking an Apple Watch SE, which does not support it. But I’d keep it disabled on a Series 9 or Ultra device. The screen might be dimmed to 1Hz, but it still consumes energy. The good news is you can disable it. Go to the same Settings, Display and Brightness, and Always On to turn off the feature.

Do Not Disturb and Theater modes

The Do Not Disturb mode (the moon symbol) from the same Control Center will turn off the screen temporarily and block notifications. The Watch will not wake up when these come in, either. You might want to have it enabled to save battery life.

Theater mode will achieve the same purpose as Do Not Disturb, with the added benefit that the screen won’t accidentally turn on when you move your hand. You’ll find it in the same Control Center menu (the masks).

Turn off most notifications

Apple Watch only works with the iPhone, so you always have an iPhone close by. That’s where most notifications should go. You don’t need your watch to constantly ring and/or vibrate. Instead, you should ensure that only vital notifications make it to your Apple Watch. Like calls and texts from family members and friends, and home alarm warnings.

Everything else can be silenced on the Apple Watch and handled on the iPhone. Even those annoying fitness notifications. If you’re exercising regularly, you don’t need the Watch to remind you about it. You’ll do it naturally.

To customize your Apple Watch notifications experience, you’ll want to open the Watch app on your iPhone and select Notifications. Scroll to find all the Apple apps installed on the device, as well as third-party apps. This is where you can turn off iPhone notifications mirroring. In turn, this will save you precious battery life.

Turn off background app refresh for most apps

Like notifications, background app refreshes can consume energy. You don’t need all the apps installed on your Apple Watch to refresh in the background constantly. Like with notifications, you can pick and choose which stay on.

Go to the Settings app on your Apple Watch, General, and then Background App Refresh. That’s where you can toggle off background app refresh for the apps you don’t need.

Do not install apps you don’t need

By default, your Apple Watch might automatically install all iPhone apps with Watch components. On the iPhone, head to Settings, General, and toggle off the Automatic App Install option.

How does this save battery life? Well, it doesn’t do it directly. But it teaches you to only install apps on the Apple Watch that you really need. And it reduces the number of times you need to check notifications and background app refresh.

Think about it: with each app installed on the Apple Watch, you’ll need to consider whether you want notifications and background refresh working. It’s much easier to only install those Apple Watch apps you really want to take advantage of.

Other things to consider

You can enable Low Power Mode in situations where battery life is critical. But that would stop heart rate monitoring, so I don’t advise it unless you have no other choice.

Similarly, you could turn off the heart rate monitor completely. Do the same with the blood oxygen sensor, the temperature sensor, and the noise monitoring, and you’ll get more battery life out of the Apple Watch. But I think the health benefits outweigh the extra minutes of battery life you get. Without them, your wearable will only relay notifications.

If you don’t want your sleep tracked, you’ll probably want to recharge the Apple Watch at night. In that case, you should enable the Optimized Battery Charging feature to safeguard your battery health. The predictable charging pattern will help the Apple Watch stop the charging process at 80% and resume it before you wake up.

I prefer to charge the Apple Watch when the battery dies, and I usually use it overnight. Since I can’t take advantage of Optimized Battery Charging, I pay attention to the iPhone, which will notify me when the Apple Watch finishes charging.

Finally, if the Apple Watch battery health drops under 80%, you’ll want to replace it. Any Apple Watch model should last at least a few years before that happens, though.

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