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.

———————————————

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.

Comments (15)

15 responses to “FYI: Apple Watch Series 6 battery life: about 48 hours if always-on is disabled”

  1. yoshi

    I had the Series 4 for a while, and that was for sure a charge each night watch. But I now have a Watch SE, and I can easily get 2 days out of it before charging. There is no always-on display option for it, so that helps I'm sure. It's definitely no Fitbit when it comes to battery, but I'm happy I can get more than a day out of it now.

  2. jwpear

    This is interesting. I tried the S6 last fall and didn't get as much battery life out of it as I did my S4. I was thinking it would with the larger battery. I too turned off the always on display because it seemed like worthless after tryin it and I wanted max battery life. I wonder if Apple has tuned the S6 since last fall to get better battery life. I ended up returning the S6.


    My S4, with cellular, gets about 1 day and 20 hours between charges. I wish I could stretch to two full days so I could get into a routine of charging at the same time on a two day schedule. Definitely first world problems.

  3. red.radar

    Just curious. What is your use case that demands battery life of more than a day?

    • dftf

      In reply to red.radar:

      Maybe travelling and not having the ability to recharge it easily?


      Bear-in-mind not every user of the Apple Watch will own a phone that supports reverse-wireless charging, so if you've not got your Apple Magnetic or MagSafe charger-base with you, you might be a bit stuck.

    • davehelps

      In reply to red.radar:


      Some days I get home late, forget to put it on charge;

      or I wake up late and don’t have time to charge it before I leave for work.

      Having an extra day is important for me ?

      • red.radar

        In reply to DaveHelps:

        No doubt helpful.


        I solved that by buying a charger for my desk. If I leave the house and its dead then I place it on the charger for about 30min and good to go. Less convenient for sure but I have developed the habit of placing on the charger on my nightstand before going to sleep. The amount I use my work charger is very rare. Usually its because I didn't quite get the watch connected on the magnetic base and I thought it charged but it didnt.


        The 1 ft charger cable that is about 30bucks is handy to have. works great with battery packs. and if you leave the house for more than a few days its a lot more convient than the 3ft standard cable that coils in a rather awkward manner. Also keeps you from having to tear apart your home charging station just fish out the single charger that came with your device.

  4. dftf

    Given the whole-point of a Smart Watch is just to give you a quick-update on something (like an alert or notification), or let you answer a call, change music-track or look at some fitness info (which doesn't have to be updated at something like 60FPS), then it does make me wonder... why not just use an e-ink type display?


    Unless people literally are playing games or watching videos on their watch, why not use a display that uses way-less power as once it's updated, things stay on-screen until they are redrawn. So for the time, with a digital-clock the minute only needs to be refreshed literally once-a-minute, not 60 times a second, every second, as with LCDs...

    • angusmatheson

      In reply to dftf:

      I never owned one, but didn’t the pebble an e-ink display. I think the last one even had a color e-ink display if memory serves me right. I always wanted one of those suckers. They lasted a long time. I don’t understand the problem of charging a watch at night. The long battery life is good in case you forget it one night and then have to run out of the house.

      • davehelps

        In reply to Angusmatheson:


        One of my favourite features of the Fitbit was sleep tracking, so the fact my Apple Watch s4 couldn’t last a full day/night cycle was a major pain point. As a result, I’d wear the Fitbit 24x7, and just wear the Apple Watch when leaving the house. As a result of that, I never really came to rely on it for anything.

  5. davehelps

    In reply to Bob_Shutts:


    I have a FitBit Inspire HR, and used a Charge 2 HR before that. But the FitBit is approaching end of life, and I'm not crazy happy about the Google buyout #TinFoilHat


    I've been quite happy with it, but the extra functionality on the Apple Watch is nice.

    But on the s4, the battery life made it a non-starter as an all-day fitness tracker.

    Now it seems the s6 has resolved that. The sleep tracking is still not quite as advanced as the FitBit, but it is good enough.

  6. winner

    If you turn the watch off completely, it's good for over a month!

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