How to fix watchOS and Apple Watch battery life problems

How do you fix Apple Watch battery life problems after updating to watchOS 3? Here are the top power-saving tips!

After the latest watchOS 3 update, some Apple Watch users are claiming their battery life is terrific. And others are saying it's terrible. That's not unusual. All of our devices are so complicated now that even small differences can result in big disparities in power and performance. so, if you're having problems, here are some troubleshooting tips you can try!

1. Wait a while

Some updates are more than just pixel deep. They cause all sorts of system processes to run, keeping the processor and radios lit. So, whenever you update, wait a day or so before worrying about battery life. That way, re-indexing, data migration, re-downloads, and more can all finish, and you can get a better sense of what battery life is really like.

If things calm down after a day or two, great. If not, keep reading.

2. Watch your watch

New versions of watchOS typically come with new features, including new watch faces, new workout options, and new features like Theater Mode. If your Apple Watch screen stays lit up, and the radios stay broadcasting, it can give a false sense of battery drain.

So, before you do anything else, note down how much battery life you have left. Then put your Apple Watch down for an hour or so. When you pick it back up, note down how much battery life you have left again. If there isn't a big change while in standby, you're probably okay, and your battery life will return to normal when your usage returns to normal (after the novelty wears off).

If your Apple Watch continued to drain and drain fast, even when you weren't using it, keep reading!

3. Reboot

Yes, it sounds like something right out of the stone ages of troubleshooting but sometimes a good reboot is all that's needed to kick loose the bad bits.

  1. Press and hold down both the digital crown and the side button at the same time.
  2. Keep them held down until you see an Apple logo.
  3. Let go.

Once your Apple Watch has rebooted, see if the battery life has returned to normal. If not, keep reading!

4. Re-pair

The single biggest cause of battery life problems with iOS devices occurs when they are updated and something gets glitchy. Whether it's cruft or corruption, bad bits or rouge processes, un-pairing and re-pairing can often knock everything back into place.

  1. Launch the Watch app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Apple Watch.
  3. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.
  4. Tap Unpair [Your] Apple Watch to confirm.

You can also un-pair right on the Apple Watch:

  1. Press the Digital Crown to switch to the app launcher.
  2. Tap on the Settings app.
  3. Tap on General
  4. Tap on Reset all the way at the bottom.
  5. Tap on Erase all contents and settings.
  6. Enter your Passcode to confirm.

Once you're done, re-pair your Apple Watch and restore it from your backup. If it's all good from that point on, you're golden. If not, there's one last thing to try...

5. Set up as new

A clean install — pain in the butt though it may be — can sometimes be the only cure. Yes, it's the nuclear option. You will have to set up absolutely everything again, but since a lot of data will still sync back from your iPhone, it won't be a total loss.

  1. Launch the Watch app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Apple Watch.
  3. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.
  4. Tap Unpair [Your] Apple Watch to confirm.

You can also un-pair right on the Apple Watch:

  1. Press the Digital Crown to switch to the app launcher.
  2. Tap on the Settings app.
  3. Tap on General
  4. Tap on Reset all the way at the bottom.
  5. Tap on Erase all contents and settings.
  6. Enter your Passcode to confirm.

Once it's done, start the set up but don't restore from back up. Set it up as a new Watch.

If everything is working again, you're good to go. If not...

6. Contact Apple

Sometimes hardware or software picks update time to fail. If that's the case and you live close to an Apple retail store, you can make an appointment at your local Genius Bar. Otherwise, there are several ways to contact Apple for more help:

How to contact AppleCare for support

More help!

If you're really desperate, put your Apple Watch into Low Power mode until you can get back to a charger. If you know of any other tips, leave them in the comments below!