Does the battery of your Apple Watch always run out quickly? We give you a few tips on how to extend the life of your smartwatch.
Switch off the always-on display
It is certainly one of the top features of the current Apple Watches: the always-on display that shows information such as time or date, even when the wrist is down. The function is available on the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6. However, the always-on display is also a small drain on the battery, although Apple is already working with tricks such as lowering the refresh rate. So if you have problems with the runtime of the Smartwatch, you should switch off the function activated by default. There are two ways to do this:
- On the iPhone: "Watch app> My Watch> Display & brightness> Always on> Deactivate using the slider"
- On the Apple Watch: "Settings app> Display & brightness> Always on> Deactivate using the slider"
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Use a dark face and reduce the brightness
Our second tip also relates to the display of the Apple Watch – after all, like the smartphone, the screen is the biggest drain on the battery when using the smartwatch. To get a few more percent out of the battery, you can use a rather dark dial, where the OLED display does not have to turn on as many pixels. A dark dial should use less energy than a very light or colorful dial. The clock face is changed as follows:
- On the iPhone: "Watch app> My watch> My watch faces> Edit". Download new watch faces under "Watch app> watch faces> select watch face> add"
- On Apple Watch: swipe left on the watch face to choose a different design. Download new watch faces under "Press and hold on the current watch face> Swipe left to 'New'> Tap the plus symbol> Select another watch face"
On the other hand, you can simply lower the brightness of the Apple Watch … unlike something the iPhone does, the Smartwatch does not do this automatically. There are two ways to turn the brightness down:
- On the iPhone: "Watch app> My watch> Display & brightness> Set brightness using the slider"
- On the Apple Watch: "Settings app> Display & brightness> Control brightness with a tip or digital crown"
Not every app has to be allowed to display notifications on the Apple Watch. Picture:
The Apple Watch is so practical because you can read notifications on it without having to constantly take your iPhone out of your pocket. However, the constant receipt of push notifications (and the lighting up of the smartwatch display) can also be a real battery eater.
This is where you can start if the Apple Watch battery should run out quickly. By default, the Apple Watch mirrors all notifications received on your iPhone. However, we recommend reducing the notifications on the smartwatch to the most important information. You have to do this:
- Open the Watch app on the iPhone and navigate to "My Watch> Notifications".
- In the list that appears, you can now specify how the notifications from the apps installed on the Apple Watch (for example, activity or breathing) should be handled.
- Below is the list of third-party apps installed on the iPhone.
- Here you can simply switch off with the slider whether messages from these applications should be mirrored on the Apple Watch.
Avoid phone calls or walkie-talkie conversations
Walkie-talkie calls on the Apple Watch are unusually heavy on the watch's battery. Image: © Apple 2018
In order to save battery power on your Apple Watch, you should refrain from making calls or walkie-talkie calls directly via the smartwatch. Such phone calls with the watch are a cool and futuristic feature, but they drain the Apple Watch's energy storage device very quickly. Longer conversations in particular should therefore be better conducted using the iPhone. By the way: Incoming calls on the Apple Watch can be rejected very easily by covering the screen with the palm of your hand.
Don't use media player on Apple Watch
Music streaming with Spotify and Co. consumes a lot of energy. Picture:
If you want, you can sync your music between iPhone and Apple Watch and even listen to songs without a smartphone with compatible headphones. However, an active media player on the Apple Watch sucks on the battery, especially when you're running a training session at the same time. The energy consumption is even greater if you stream songs via Apple Music or Spotify with an Apple Watch with a cellular connection.
Change display activation
Especially owners of an Apple Watch 4 or older who do not yet have an always-on display, could improve the battery life by changing the display activation. Usually the screen always lights up as soon as you lift your arm. However, you can also deactivate this feature and thus save energy. For example, the display only comes on when you press the crown or tap the screen.
- On the iPhone: "Watch app> My watch> General> Activate display> Raise your arm> Switch off using the slider"
- On the Apple Watch: "Settings> General> Activate display> Activate by raising your arm> Switch off using the slider"
Use fewer complications
The more complications that are displayed, the higher the battery consumption can be. Picture:
The more information, in addition to the time, is displayed on the Apple Watch screen with complications, the more energy is consumed. The reason: The Apple Watch has to query information such as the weather, Google Maps and the like from other apps, which uses battery. Complications that are rarely needed should therefore be deactivated.
- On the iPhone: "Watch app> My watch> My watch faces> Tap the watch face> Complications> Off"
- On the Apple Watch: "Long press on the watch face> Edit> swipe left to 'Complications'> select complication> Off"
Turn off background updates for apps
Similar to the iPhone, the Apple Watch also has a background update for apps by default, so that the applications always have the latest content when they start. However, if the Apple Watch battery runs out quickly, you should deactivate this option. Warning: Apps with complications on the watch face will continue to be updated even if the background update is actually switched off.
- On the iPhone: "Watch app> My watch> General> Background update> Deactivate using the slider (for individual apps)
- On the Apple Watch: "Settings> General> Deactivate background update via slider (for individual apps)"
Pay attention to the Bluetooth connection
WLAN and Bluetooth are active and glow blue. Image: © Screenshot / Apple 2017
The Apple Watch should ideally be connected to the iPhone via Bluetooth (Low Energy). Therefore, make sure that Bluetooth is activated on your Apple smartphone. This can be checked in the control center or under "Settings> Bluetooth". If Bluetooth is switched off, the Apple Watch will connect via WLAN, which, however, consumes significantly more energy.
Use power saving mode during exercise
Many users may not even know a clever battery-saving feature of the Apple Watch: the power-saving mode during training. This deactivates the integrated heart rate sensor during walking and running training, which can significantly extend the running time of the smartwatch. However, this can make some calculations for energy consumption during exercise less precise. By the way: external heart rate monitors connected via Bluetooth are not affected by the power-saving mode.
- On the iPhone: "Watch app> My watch> Training> Energy saving mode> Switch on using the slider"
- On the Apple Watch: "Settings> Training> Energy saving mode> Switch on using the slider"
Switch off unneeded features
You can also turn off the following not really essential functions to save some battery life. Deactivated individually, there will hardly be a difference. However, if you switch off several, this can certainly extend the duration. However, you should weigh up whether you are not sacrificing too many functions. You could try the following features:
- Pay attention to "Hey Siri": Deactivate via "Watch app> My Watch> Siri" (iPhone) or "Settings> Siri" (Apple Watch)
- Haptic note: Deactivate via "Watch app> My watch> Tones & haptics" (iPhone) or "Settings> Tones & haptics" (Apple Watch)
- Ambient noise measurements : Deactivate via "Watch app> My Watch> Noise" (iPhone) or "Settings> Noise" (Apple Watch)
- Hand washing: Deactivate via "Watch app> My watch> Hand washing> Timer for hand washing" (iPhone) or "Settings> Hand washing> Timer for hand washing"
- Activate silent mode (bell icon), theater mode (mask icon) or do not disturb mode (moon icon)
For emergencies only: use power reserve
Thanks to the power reserve, the Apple Watch only shows the time. Image: © Apple 2021
If the Apple Watch is running out of battery, you can also turn on the power reserve in an emergency. By default, the smartwatch will automatically ask you if you want to activate the option when the battery level is 10 percent. If the battery life is too short, the power reserve is switched on automatically.
In this mode, the Apple Watch is reduced to the essentials: the display of the time by pressing the side button. Otherwise the Smartwatch and the iPhone will no longer communicate with each other and you will not be able to use any other functions of the Apple Watch.
If you wish, you can also switch the power reserve on manually by opening the control center on the Apple Watch by swiping upwards, tapping the percentage display, moving the slider to the right and finally confirming with "Next". To switch off the power reserve again, you have to press the side button for a long time until the Apple logo appears on the display and the smartwatch restarts.