12 Ways to Save Apple Watch Battery Life (Updated for WatchOS 8)

Users have complained about Apple Watch's battery life since its initial release, and those complaints are not unwarranted. The new Apple Watch 7, for example, rates about the same expected battery life as the Apple Watch 6 and the Apple Watch 3, and none of them can go more than about a day without being charged. While we'd have loved to see some improvements on battery life with the release of the Apple Watch 7, we're at least excited that there are ways to improve the battery life on the Apple Watch, and most of the improvements won't cause too much disruption to your daily use of the gadget. We've put together a set of tips for those who want to optimize their Apple Watch battery life, and we've also included guidance on how to properly charge your Apple Watch to preserve its battery lifespan in the long run. 

Related: iOS 14 Draining Your iPhone Battery Life? 13 Ways to Save Battery on Your iPhone

What's in This Article:

How Long Does an Apple Watch Battery Last?

The Apple Watch 6 is rated for about 18 hours of battery life, which is about the same as the battery life of the Apple Watch 5 and the series 3 as well. This Apple Watch battery life rating is based on several factors, including pairing with an iPhone and a standard number of notifications and tracked activities. Apple contends that within that 18-hour timeframe, your Apple Watch can perform 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 60-minute workout including Bluetooth music playback. Sounds like a lot, right? It's really not. Most of us eclipse that in a day, by some combination of those and other activities. If you use Family Sharing on your new Apple Watch SE or Watch 6, you'll likely experience a shorter battery life.

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Compared to other wearables and fitness trackers, the Apple Watch has considerably less battery life, and it's certainly nowhere close to the average every-fifth-day charging schedule seen in comparable watches. That said, some users see considerably more battery life, and others experience a faster rate of Apple Watch battery drain. It all depends on how much you depend on your Apple Watch for notifications and daily activity assistance which, of course, is kind of the point of an Apple Watch. For most of us, our watch needs to be recharged daily.

How to Make Your Apple Watch Battery Last Longer

First and foremost, make sure you’ve downloaded and installed the latest watchOS. We’ll be using watchOS 7 for this article, and some of the updates can help optimize your watch's battery use. However, if you choose not to upgrade, most (if not all) of the tips below should work with older operating systems, although the way to find each setting might be slightly different.

Regardless of the device, we all want to save as much battery life as possible. Unfortunately, the features that make the Apple Watch so popular are often the ones that drain your watch's battery life the most. As such, these tips will certainly improve your Apple Watch battery life, but some of the tips will require more sacrifice of features than others. For example, it might not be worth disabling Fall Detection just to save some battery life We’ll start with the battery-saving tips that you’ll notice the least, and move on down to the settings you’ll only change if you’re really dedicated to that longer battery life. Let’s get started.

    1. Remove Unused Apps to Increase Apple Watch Battery Life

    Most apps you have on the Apple Watch have to communicate with your iPhone. It takes power for information to go back and forth, not to mention the time spent in the apps that drains your battery life. Look at the list of apps you have on your Apple Watch and decide which ones you really need and want to keep. Even if you think you already have it down to the basics, try to get rid of a couple more. Only keep the apps you use on a daily (or at least, weekly) basis. To do this:

    1. On the iPhone, open the Watch app and make sure you're in the My Watch tab.
    2. Scroll down to the bottom where the installed apps list is, and select an app you want to remove.

      Open the Watch appTap on the app you'd like to remove from your Apple Watch
    3. Toggle off Show App on Apple Watch.

      Tap the toggleThe toggle will turn gray, indicating that the app won't appear on your Apple Watch

    It is even faster to delete apps directly on your Apple Watch.

    Pro Tip: Apple Watch games are fun, but they can be a significant drain on your battery. If you find yourself no longer playing a game, consider deleting it to protect your battery life. You can always download it again in the future.

    2. Reduce Mirror iPhone Notifications on Your Apple Watch

    While you may only have a few third-party apps left on your Apple Watch, your watch can still receive notifications from lots of other apps. This is a nice feature to have because it allows you to receive notifications from any app that’s on your iPhone without having that app on your Apple Watch too. However, there’s sure to be some mirrored iPhone alerts that you just don’t need on your Apple Watch. So let’s turn those off. Here’s how:

    1. Open the Watch app and make sure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap Notifications.

      Open Watch app to reduce mirror iPhone notificationsTap notifications
    3. Scroll down to the section labeled Mirror iPhone Alerts From.
    4. Look through the apps and toggle off alerts from any apps you don’t need notifications from.

      Scroll down to Mirror iPhone Alerts From sectionToggle off the alerts you don't want to mirror from your iPhone

    The less your iPhone has to search for notifications from these apps, the more battery you’ll save.

    3. Turn Off Apple Watch Activity Reminders

    Apple Watch activity reminders are a big battery drain, though they are often helpful. If you can do without the reminders, turning them off can very much help your overall Apple Watch battery life. Here's how to activity reminders:

    1. Open the Watch app and make sure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap Activity.

      Tap on Activity to change Activity reminders to conserve Apple Watch battery
    3. Tap Notifications Off to turn off all notifications, if that's your preference.
    4. If you still want some notifications but not others, you can scroll down and toggle off other reminders as you see fit.

      Turn off all activity notifications to save Apple Watch batterySelect which reminders to toggle off or leave on

    4. Disable “Hey Siri” on Your Apple Watch

    “Hey Siri” is a great hands-free feature that can easily play music or answer your questions. When your watch face is on, your Apple Watch is listening for "Hey Siri." That means it is using a little extra battery power each time you look at your watch. To give your Apple Watch battery a little more life, try turning off this feature on the watch and just stick to “Hey Siri” on your iPhone.

    1. Open Settings on your Apple Watch, or open the Watch app on your iPhone.

      Open Apple Watch settingsOpen the Watch app
    2. Tap Siri.
    3. Turn off Listen for “Hey Siri” by tapping the toggle to change it from green to gray.

      Tap on SiriToggle off Listen for Hey Siri

    5. Turn Off Background App Refresh to Save Apple Watch Battery

    This tip is a no-brainer. Background App Refresh automatically refreshes apps that are in the background so that the most recent information is displayed immediately when the app is opened. But having this function on means that any apps you have open in the background are draining your Apple Watch battery life. When you turn this off, only the apps used in the complications of your watch face will continue to refresh in the background. To do this:

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and make sure you're in the My Watch tab.
    2. Select General.

      Tap on General
    3. Tap Background App Refresh.
    4. Toggle off Background App Refresh.

      Tap on Background App RefreshToggle off Background App Refresh
    5. You can also selectively turn off Background App Refresh for specific apps if you don’t want to turn it off altogether.

      Or you can choose to toggle off background app refresh for individual apps

    6. Make Your Apple Watch Battery Last Longer: Turn Off Automatic Downloads

    When you download an app on your iPhone, it automatically downloads to Apple Watch if there’s an Apple Watch version of the app. This communication between devices takes up battery power. Turn off this automatic downloads to save battery power and instead manually add apps you want to see on Apple Watch within the My Watch tab instead. To turn off automatic downloads on Apple Watch:

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and ensure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap General.

    3. Toggle off Automatic App Install.


    7. Turn Off Haptic Alerts to Optimize Battery Use

    A major power drain on the Apple Watch is haptic feedback. Your Apple Watch will play a haptic alert (a vibration) to let you know a notification has come through. Believe it or not, vibrations on almost any device actually use a ton of battery. However, you can turn off these prominent haptics to reduce how often your Apple Watch plays them, thereby reducing the amount of power haptic feedback uses. To do this:

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and ensure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap on Sounds & Haptics.

      Open Watch app to reduce mirror iPhone notificationsTap on Sounds & Haptics
    3. Toggle off Haptic Alerts.

      Tap on the Haptic Alerts toggle to turn it offThe toggle is off when it turns gray

    8. Save Watch Battery: Turn Off Wake on Wrist Raise

    When you lift your wrist, the Apple Watch screen automatically lights up so you can glance at the time, notification, or complications. However, this function constantly wakes the Apple Watch up, even when we don’t intend to view the screen. You can, instead, turn off Raise to Wake and simply tap the screen when you want to view it. This will certainly help you save battery life over the course of the day. To do this:

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and ensure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap General.

      Open the Watch appTap on General
    3. Tap Wake Screen.
    4. Toggle off Wake on Wrist Raise.

      Tap on Wake ScreenToggle off Wake on Wrist Raise
    5. Toggling off the other toggles, Wake on Crown Up and Auto-launch Audio Apps, may also save on battery.

    Pro tip: You can also save iPhone battery by taking a look at your phone's raise to wake settings.

    9. Reduce Transparency & Motion on Your Apple Watch

    On iPhone, you can turn on Reduce Motion to save battery life. Doing so turns off the transitional animations you see when moving from screen to screen. Similarly, you can reduce transparency and motion on Apple Watch in order to improve your battery life. This will change some of the look and feel of using your Apple Watch, so you may want to try it out and see if the additional battery life is worth the changes. If you decide it isn’t, it’s easy to turn back off. To turn on Reduce Transparency and Reduce Motion on Apple Watch:

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and ensure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap Accessibility.

      Open Watch app to reduce mirror iPhone notificationsTap on Accessibility
    3. Tap on Reduce Motion.
    4. Toggle on Reduce Motion.

      Tap on Reduce MotionToggle on Reduce Motion
    5. Toggle off Auto-Play Message Effects.
    6. Return to previous screen and toggle on Reduce Transparency.

      Toggle off Auto-Play Message EffectsGo back one screen and toggle on Reduce Transparency

    10. Use a Simple Watch Face to Save Apple Watch Battery

    The simpler your watch face, the less power it uses. And black pixels on Apple Watch require less power than white or color pixels do. This means that choosing a watch face such as the Numerals, Utility, or Simple faces and not using complications can work to save a decent amount of battery life, especially if you’re unwilling to turn off Raise to Wake. Of course, not using complications removes some of the functionality of the Apple Watch, which is why this tip is further down on the list. It comes down to what’s more important: extra battery life, or using a prettier watch face with complications? You decide. If you want to change your watch face, you can do so from your iPhone. To do this:

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and ensure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap the Face Gallery tab at the bottom of the screen.

      Open Watch app to reduce mirror iPhone notificationsTap on the Face Gallery tab at the bottom center of your screen
    3. Here you can scroll through your various options for watch faces.
    4. Tap on one of the simple watch faces to edit.
    5. Customize your watch face by selecting the colors and other settings you prefer.

      Select a simple watch face to customizeChoose color and font options to customize your watch face
    6. Scroll down to the Complications section and tap on a section there. If the section, in this case Bottom, says "Activity" or another setting, as seen here, you'll want to tap on it to change it. If the section says "Off," then complications are already off and you can skip to Step 9.
    7. Tap on Off at the top to turn off Complications.

      Scroll down to the complications menu and select a setting there to turn offTap on Off at the top of the screen to turn off complications and save Apple Watch battery life
    8. Go back one screen by tapping the < Numerals button in the top-left corner.
    9. Tap Add to set the watch face.

      Tap on the word Numerals in the top-left corner to go backTap Add to finalize the watch face

    11. Turn on Grayscale to Reduce Battery Use

    This tip is not something I imagine most people will want to do. That said, it’s a great way to save on battery life, because all those pretty colors take power. Black uses the least amount of power on Apple Watch, so it follows that Grayscale would use at least a bit less than white and color. So it’s up to you. If you do want to turn on Grayscale, here’s how:

    1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and ensure you're on the My Watch tab.
    2. Tap Accessibility.

      Open Watch app to reduce mirror iPhone notificationsTap on Accessibility to turn on grayscale
    3. Tap the Grayscale toggle to turn it on.
    4. Grayscale is turned on when the toggle is green.

      Tap on the Grayscale toggle to turn it onGrayscale is on when the toggle is green

    12. Last Resort: Use Apple Watch Power Reserve 

    Most people know that their Apple Watch has Power Reserve. But it’s not like Low Power Mode on iPhone. When you activate Power Reserve, your Apple Watch becomes a watch. You know, the kind that can only tell time. So it’ll help to preserve your Apple Watch battery life, but is anyone using their Apple Watch as merely a timepiece? Who knows. If you want or need to put your Apple Watch in Power Reserve to save battery life, this is how:

    1. From your watch face on the Apple Watch, swipe up to open your Control Center.
    2. Tap the percentage, which shows how much battery you have left.

      Swipe up on your Apple Watch face to access the Control CenterTap on the Battery Percentage
    3. Swipe right on Power Reserve at the bottom.
    4. Tap Proceed if you're ready to enable Power Reserve.

      Swipe right on Power ReserveTap Proceed to confirm that you want to use Power Reserve
    5. To turn Power Reserve off, press and hold the side button on the Apple Watch, which will cause your watch to restart (restarting is the only way to turn Power Reserve off).

    Pro Tip: You can change the location of the Power Reserve button in your Control Center. Read this to learn how to customize your Apple Watch Control Center.

    The Best Way to Charge an Apple Watch to Preserve Battery Lifespan

    Apple is pretty clear on this: Lithium-ion batteries should be cared for, and can last a long time if you follow some simple steps.

    • Be careful about which chargers and cables you use. Using cables or adapters that aren't rated as safe and effective for Apple products is one of the fastest ways to ruin your Apple Watch battery.
    • Follow Apple's recommendations for Apple Watch battery lifespan.
    • Take note of the general best practices for maximizing your Lithium-ion battery (some of these resources discuss iPhone batteries, but Lithium-ion batteries are present in both iPhones and Apple Watches, so battery care applies to both).

    Pro Tip: The new Apple Watch 7 can charge faster, learn how to do it. Unfortunately, this is only possible on the newest Apple Watch.

    Next, learn how to know if your Apple Watch is charging or how to check your Apple Watch battery life from your iPhone!

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    Author Details

    Conner Carey's picture

    Author Details

    Conner Carey

    Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.