One of the controversial issues about the new Apple Watch is its battery life, where unlike other smart watch offerings that give you days of use, the battery is slated to last about a day before you need to charge it; however, this is only under a generalized usage condition. Under heavy usage, the battery is claimed to last 5 hours. While these claims are out by Apple, as with its MacBook batteries, those interested in the Apple Watch will likely view this with a skeptical eye and be truly interested in how long the watch will last, both under their desired uses, and over time. Here is a more in depth breakdown of what to expect from the Apple Watch’s battery.
First off, the watch should charge in about 2 hours, which means that you can get to about 80 percent charge by 1.5 hours, and up past 50% charge by about an hour. However, for a full charge, be prepared to let it stand a little longer, up to about 2.5 hours. Therefore, be you might consider setting up your various workstations with chargers for the watch, so you can keep it functional throughout your workday. Apple offers its magnet chargers at $29 and $39, depending on cord length.
The Extreme Uses
According to Apple, while it claims under normal uses the Apple Watch will get about 18 hours of battery life, and 5 hours under heavy usage, there are the extreme uses that will drastically change this. If you use the watch constantly for voice communication, and invoke Siri regularly, then this 5-hour range drops to about 3 hours. This amount increases slightly to just over 5 hours if you use the watch for constant media handling, such as listening to music.
Apple’s 18-hour Usage
The advertised ranges that Apple has been sticking to suggest activity for most people by Apple’s estimates, which are that you keep your watch out of Power Reserve mode (which is intended for battery preservation and will kick in automatically when the battery is low), and then use your watch in the following manner:
- Check your watch only a few times per hour.
- Use apps for no more than an hour in total.
- Receive under 100 notifications from the apps you have over the course of the day.
- include one 30-45 minute workout that uses the bluetooth antenna for music and fitness apps.
Overall, Reduce Bluetooth Usage
In all of these cases, the primary draw on your Apple Watch’s battery is the use of its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas (which similarly contributes to power drain on some MacBook systems). Therefore, if you set it up to minimally activate these antennas, then you will get the longest battery life out of your watch.
Batteries Over Time
Finally, keep in mind that these estimates are based on a fresh and new battery in your watch. Apple has made some nice advancements to battery technology in recent years; however, for any rechargeable battery, over time and use, and in different environmental conditions, they will perform differently and inevitably hold less charge. Apple has not commented on the possibility of servicing the watch to replace a faulty or worn out battery, but if they behave anything like Apple’s current MacBooks, then expect after regular use for a couple years, that you will only be able to charge it to 80 percent of its initial capacity, or less.
When these finally start shipping and we get some “real world” reports of battery life, it’s going to be interesting. I would GUESS that the average consumer would want (and expect) about 10 hours a day – average 8-hour workday with lunch and commute, but I’m not sure they are going to get that. AND setting up separate chargers in different places seems cost ineffective and cumbersome – taking off your watch at work to put it on a charger is counter productive. The first and foremost functional design of a watch is that you can wear a time-piece (yes, I realize the Apple Watch does much more). I don’t want to get up from my desk for lunch and accidentally leave my watch on the charger. Other than the possibility of it being stolen while I am away, I won’t have a watch at lunch! In fact, I don’t want to have to take it off at all during the work-day – 8hrs minimum. Charging it over night is not a problem with a simple charging station on the nightstand or dresser etc. As pricey as they are, they need to deliver right out of the gate, otherwise it will hurt subsequent gen sales.
I’ve got nothing against the Apple Watch, but for the time being (no pun intended), I’ll continue wearing my regular watch that has a 10 YEAR battery life. It only has a few functions Time, Alarm, Light etc., but I never have to think about it – it just works.
Apparently the battery in the Apple Watch is expected to last around three years and is replaceable, at least according to an Apple spokesman who talked to TechCrunch.
When new, I’d wager most batteries will lat about 3-4 hours as we play with every function and show them off. My battery life on Apple gear has always been pretty much on par with the advertised numbers. It’s really not a watch, so I don’t think of it as one – more a wearable iOS device.