How Low Power Mode Works on Apple Watch (watchOS 9)

Find out how Low Power Mode works on the Apple Watch when running watchOS 9 or higher.

The Apple Watch has had a Power Reserve Mode for a while now, but the latest version of watchOS replaced it with a Low Power Mode that works more effectively. This feature allows you to continue using your watch while turning off nonessential functions to save as much battery as possible. We’ll go over how this mode works, how it differs from Power Reserve, and how to switch it on and off.

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What Does Low Power Mode Do on Apple Watch?

Low Power Mode disables background heart rate and blood oxygen readings, heart rate alerts, workout reminders, and, if your Apple Watch has it, Always On Display. With these passive functions turned off, your device can preserve as much battery as possible, while still allowing you to use your watch as normal. 

How Does Low Power Mode Differ from Power Reserve Mode?

While it functions similarly to Low Power Mode, the Apple Watch’s Power Reserve Mode is an entirely different feature. It has been completely replaced by Low Power Mode in watchOS 9. In previous software versions, Power Reserve Mode disabled everything that makes the Apple Watch a smart device, effectively turning it into an ordinary watch. Tapping the screen or pressing either the Digital Crown or the side button would briefly display the current time. Other than that, the device couldn’t do anything else while in Power Reserve Mode. With Low Power Mode, you can now continue using your watch as normal while still saving battery life.

How to Enable & Disable Apple Watch Low Power Mode

To learn more about your Apple Watch features, sign up for our free Tip of the Day Newsletter. When your Apple Watch battery life falls below 10 percent, you’ll automatically be prompted to turn on Low Power Mode. However, if you would like to turn it on manually, there are two very simple ways to do this. Here's how to enable and disable the Apple Watch Low Power Mode:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.

    Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Scroll down and tap Battery.

    Scroll down and tap Battery.
  3. Scroll down and tap the Low Power Mode toggle.

    Scroll down and tap the toggle next to Low Power Mode.
  4. A brief description of Low Power Mode will appear. Scroll down and tap Turn On. With this method, Low Power Mode will automatically turn off when the battery is charged to 80 percent.

    Scroll down and tap Turn On to turn it on.
  5. If you want to enable Low Power Mode for a set duration, tap Turn On For.

    Tap Turn On For… if you would like to turn on Low Power Mode for a set duration.
  6. Select whether to keep Low Power Mode on for one, two, or three days, whether your device is charged to 80 percent or not.

    Select whether to keep Low Power Mode on for 1, 2, or 3 days, whether your device is charged to 80% or not.
  7. You’ll see a yellow circle at the top of the display to indicate that Low Power Mode is on.

    You’ll see a yellow circle at the top of the display to indicate that Low Power Mode is on.
  8. To turn off Low Power Mode, tap the Low Power Mode toggle.

    To turn off Low Power Mode, simply tap the toggle again.
  9. A quicker way to access the Low Power Mode toggle is to swipe up on your watch face to bring up the Control Center.

    A quicker way to access the Low Power Mode toggle is to swipe up on your watch face to bring up the Control Center.
  10. Tap the battery percentage.

    Tap the battery percentage.
  11. You can toggle Low Power Mode on and off from here instead of navigating through the Settings app every time.

    You can toggle Low Power Mode on and off from here instead of navigating through the Settings app every time.

Now that you know how Low Power Mode works on the Apple Watch, you can start saving your device’s battery life by enabling this feature when running low on power. Do you often use your Apple Watch to track your daily step count? If so, you might also be interested in learning how to enable this hidden setting so you can see steps on your Apple Watch face

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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a passionate writer and Apple enthusiast. When he’s not drafting iPhone Life articles, he prefers to spend his free time gaming with friends, watching anime with his wife, or playing with his three cats.