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How to improve battery life on Apple's Watch Ultra & Series 8

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The Apple Watch’s battery life isn’t the best, though the Watch Ultra does have some pretty decent battery life. Especially when compared to other watches that last months or even years on a charge. But as far as smartwatches go, the Apple Watch does quite well on battery life.

However, it could always be better. So today, we’re going to go over a number of ways that you can improve the battery life on the Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 8. These tips will mostly work for other Apple Watches too, though some of these features are not available on the older models.

How much battery life does the Apple Watch get?

Apple touts that the Series models get 18 hours of usage. While the Ultra is double that at 36 hours. Though you’ll often times get a lot more battery life than that. Apple is pretty conservative with its battery life numbers.

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How does Apple get to those numbers? Well, the tests that Apple uses for battery life on the Watch Ultra including performing 180 time checks, 180 notifications, 90 minutes of app use, and a 60 minute workout with music playback from the Apple Watch over Bluetooth. It also assumes that 8 hours are on LTE, while 28 hours are connected to your iPhone.

Meanwhile, on the Apple Watch Series 8 and SE 2, Apple promises up to 18 hours of usage. Which includes 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use and a 60-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch over Bluetooth.

So that should give you a good idea of what kind of battery life you can expect from your Apple Watch. Now, here’s how to squeak out a bit more juice.

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How to improve battery life on your Apple Watch

There are a number of things you can do to improve the battery life on your Apple Watch. Some include turning off features, while others include changing things that you don’t need or use that often. Let’s get started.

Change charging time

The first thing you can do is, adjust when you are charging your Apple Watch. Since it does a great job of tracking your sleep, it’s not possible to charge it overnight if you want sleep tracking. Instead, you can charge it during the day. Luckily, the Series 7 and Series 8 do charge a lot faster. So charging it up to 100% won’t take long.

With the Apple Watch Ultra, it’s a bit easier to change your charging time. Since you can get two to three days on a single charge. I normally charge mine in the morning when I’m at my desk. Keeping it between 50 and 80%. That’s better for the battery, but it also will get me a bit of a buffer if I don’t charge it the next day.

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End your workout

This is going to sound like common sense, but make sure to end your workout when you actually end your workout. Why? Well, tracking a workout is a lot more stressful on the battery. Since it is tracking your heart rate every second, instead of every five or ten minutes. And if you’re on a run, it’s likely using GPS for tracking your run which can also use a lot of battery.

So swipe right on the workout screen, and tap on “End” to end your workout.

Change wake screen time

This is going to sound like common sense, but it’s still needed to be said here. Changing the wake screen time is pretty important.

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You can turn off the Wake on Wrist Raise if you’d like. To do this, go to the Apple Watch app, tap on Display & brightness, and then toggle off Wake to Wrist Raise.

You can also change the wake duration. To do this, go to the Apple Watch app, tap on Display & Brightness, and then tap on Wake duration. You can check Wake on Crown up or Wake for 70 seconds, or Wake for 15 seconds.

Turn off Always-on Display

Since the Series 6, Apple debuted Always-on Display. Though it’s not on the SE models, only the Series and Ultra models. As you might expect, having the display on all the time does eat up a significant part of the battery. But you can turn this off, and conserve some juice. How much juice? Well, it depends on the watch. On the Ultra it can likely get you to three days comfortably, but on the 40mm watches, maybe a few more house.

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To do this, go to the Apple Watch app. Tap on Display & Brightness, then tap on Always On. Hit the toggle to turn it off and that’s it.

Turn off Hey Siri

Like many other smartwatches, the Apple Watch is always listening for “Hey Siri” or even just “Siri”. That, also uses up some battery. While it is likely a fairly small amount of juice, it is still juice you could use later on. And seeing as it does have false positives quite often, it’s a good idea to turn it off.

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To do this, go to the Apple Watch app. Tap on Siri. Then toggle off Listen for “Hey Siri”.

Adjust background app refresh

Just like on your smartphone, apps refreshing in the background use data and power from your Apple Watch. So if you turn it off, or at least adjust the apps that you want to refresh in the background, you can also save some battery life.

To do this, go to the Apple Watch app. Tap on General, then scroll down to select Background App Refresh. From here, you can toggle the apps that you do or don’t want to refresh in the background.

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Adjust which apps can send notifications

Building on the last tip, another thing you can do to save battery is adjusting which apps are able to send you notifications. One app that you can probably turn off is Instagram. A lot of those notifications are pretty useless, and you have to open it on your phone anyways. Also notifications from any games you have installed.

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To do this, open the Apple Watch app. Tap on Notifications. Then tap on the app you want to change notification settings for.

Use low power mode

New in watchOS 9 (released in 2022), Apple has added a new low power mode. This will limit apps, as well as other functions and slow down the processor too. This is so that your watch can last until you get to the charger. Apple says that the low power mode can last up to 60 hours on the Watch Ultra.

To enable this, go to the Control Center on your watch. Tap on the battery percentage. Then toggle on Low Power Mode.

Keep your Apple Watch up to date

Finally, this is probably the most obvious, but make sure to keep your Apple Watch up to date. This might sound kind of dumb, but Apple will periodically send out updates to your Watch which will have bug fixes, performance improvements and more. Which can really help with your battery life.

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You can make sure that it’s up to date by going to the Apple Watch app. Tap on General, and then Software Update. If there’s an update available it’ll show up there. You can also enable Automatic updates on that same page.