FYI: Apple Watch Series 6 battery life: about 48 hours if always-on is disabled

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Hi everyone

A while ago I was commenting on one of Paul’s pondering posts that the battery life on my Apple Watch series 4 was less than a day, which basically makes it a non-starter as an all-day fitness tracker.

When the Series 6 came out, one of the big features was longer battery life, to support the always-on screen.

I wondered whether disabling always-on would bring the battery life into competition with my aging Fitbit Inspire HR , but couldn’t find the info anywhere.

So I bought one anyway, and here are my early findings.

I wear it all day and all night, except when in the bath or shower. I’m not constantly playing with it, the novelty wore off long ago with the s4. I have disabled always-on for the screen. I’ve turned on all the health features: heartrate, blood oxygen, reminders to move, handwashing, etc.

TEST 1 – BLUETOOTH, CELLULAR AND WIFI ENABLED. 48.5 HOURS

09:30 – I put the watch on fully charged.

23:30 – 70%

07:30 – 55%

15:12 – 44%

23:44 – 23%

07:30 – 11% remaining

09:30 – 3% remaining

10:00, battery dead. I’ve put it on charge.

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TEST 2 – CELLULAR ONLY. ABOUT 22 or 23 HOURS.

12:13 – I put it on fully charged.

18:43 – 77%. 4G cell reception is not ideal in my apartment, but it looks like it will only last about 24 hours at this rate.

00:46 – 45%

08:30 – 14%

09:47, it’s down to 9% and into power reserve mode. I’ve put it back on charge.

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TEST 3 – WIFI ONLY. 18 HOURS.

11:52 – I put it on fully charged.
18:52 – 58%

23:18 – 31%

06:45 – it woke me up with the haptic alarm, and then the battery died.

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TEST 4 – BLUETOOTH AND CELLULAR ON, WIFI OFF.

10:08 – I put it on fully charged.

13:41 – 96%

16:00 – 90%

21:20 – 78%

07:36 – 59%

12:10 – 49%

22:31 – 25%

06:45 – 12%

It ran out at around 10:30

(ongoing)

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✅ Tip: if you can’t use the Bluetooth connection to your phone, 4G seems to be much kinder to the battery than WiFi.

So it can last at least 48 hours, which will be okay for me. It’s still not as good as the FitBit Insipire HR it’s replacing (I was charging that roughly once per week). But if I know that I just need to charge it for about 1 hour each day, and in a pinch I can skip a day, I can make that work.

I was surprised that WiFi was a faster drain than cellular. The WiFi setup in my apartment is geek-standard excellent 🤓, whereas 4G service is “2 bars” on my iPhone.

If anyone has any questions (“What if you turn X on but disable Y?”) then let me know, I’m happy to experiment.

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