Our first day with the Apple Watch was disappointing. By 6.15pm our iPhone had run out of battery, and just half an hour later the Apple Watch gave up the ghost. Perhaps our first day’s use had been a little excessive – we’d been checking out the apps and messing around with settings, but it’s not as if we had run a marathon.
This poor experience has been shared by many new Apple Watch owners. Apple says that the Watch will offer an “all day battery life” – that’s up to 18 hours of normal use which it describes as: “90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.” We made it to almost 11 hours on the Watch, not that it was much use to us after our iPhone died.
There have been a lot of suggestions about what is eating up both the Watch and the iPhone battery. One suggestion was that the companion app on the iPhone is particularly power hungry – with one post showing that the app was responsible for 31 percent of the power usage on the phone (this wasn’t the case for us though, ours was 4 percent). It won’t hurt to quit the Apple Watch companion on your iPhone when you aren’t using it – double tap the home button on your iPhone and swipe up on the Watch app to quit it.
We think it is likely that there is a lot of background processing going on, and various communications between the Watch and the iPhone that are hogging power. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy to close an app once open on the Apple Watch, we discovered that you need to open the app in question on the Watch, press and hold the side button (below the Digital Crown) until you see the Power Off screen, and then press and hold it again to quit the app and return to the home screen. However, it struck us that it is difficult to see what apps are actually running in the background. We assumed that Glances show the running apps, but it appears that certain apps will always run in Glances.
Luckily you can remove apps from Glances in the iPhone app. Go to My Watch > Glances, tap on the red circle next to the app you wish to remove from Glances and tap Remove. We removed Maps and Heartbeat as we assumed that both could be a bit power hungry. Perhaps Activity would be another one to lose from Glances, but we aren’t quite ready to give that up yet.
Fetching Mails to the Apple Watch is also, apparently, pretty power intensive. We had set it to notify us of any VIP emails, but we decided to switch off that and stop showing email alerts, presuming that this would stop the Watch from constantly pinging the iPhone for details of new email.
We’ll keep tweaking the Apple Watch settings until we come up with the best case scenario for maximum battery life while still being able to enjoy the Watch features, and hopefully we will eventually be able to get through a whole day without running out of power.