Battery life has long been the Apple Watch’s biggest drawback. The problem only became more pronounced when the company launched into sleep tracking with watchOS 7 in 2020. Rather than increasing the mAh on hardware, Apple introduced a workaround: an alert that appears if the user drops below a certain percentage. before bedtime, requiring a recharge.
The Watch Ultra, which goes on sale today, finds that Apple is tackling the problem head-on. The larger case (49 mm compared to 45 in the 8 series), combined with a reduction in components such as the haptic motor, offers more internal space for the battery. As a result, the sports-focused model effectively doubles the 8-series’ 18 hours to 36, despite having a slightly larger screen and doubling the brightness (from 1,000 to 2,000 nits).
As for the rest of the lineup, Apple is again looking to improve battery life without any significant hardware changes. Instead, it fixed the issue via a new Low Power Mode rolling out with watchOS 9. Prior to this announcement, the Apple Watch had Power Reserve Mode, a feature designed as a sort of last resort when your battery dips. in double digits. Once in this state of hibernation, the device is not good for anything other than telling the time.
The new Low Power Mode is different. It’s about disabling power-hungry and, perhaps, unnecessary features to help you save life – but for the most part, it’s still a fully functional smartwatch. At its “Far Out” event, Apple said Low Power Mode can give you up to 36 hours of battery life on a full charge for the Apple Watch Series 8 and 60 hours of battery life on a full charge for the new Apple Watch Ultra. .
When you enable Low Power Mode, the system disables always-on display, background heart rate and blood oxygen measurements, workout reminders, automatic workout detection, and notifications for irregular heartbeat, high heart rate, and low heart rate. This mode also reduces cellular pings hourly and on-demand to preserve battery life.
Low Power Mode also extends the battery life of Apple Watch Ultra by increasing the long duration of GPS-based workouts, such as a triathlon, beyond 12 hours in normal power mode.
Here’s how to turn on Low Power Mode on your Apple Watch:
- Head to settings
- Scroll down to the Battery section
- Enable the Low Power Mode toggle below.
Once Low Power Mode is enabled, you will see a yellow circle at the top of your screen. Additionally, the battery percentage in Control Center, charging animation, and time in Nightstand Mode will turn yellow.
Users will receive a notification asking them to turn on Low Power Mode when the Apple Watch battery level reaches 10%. While charging, the mode is automatically disabled to 80%.
The company is also working on a reduced GPS and HR mode, which will reduce sampling for both metrics to increase battery life during longer workouts. This new mode will live in a separate toggle under Low Power Mode and will roll out later this year.
Since the Low Power Mode feature is part of the watchOS 9 update, all devices starting with Apple Watch 4 will have it in their settings via a software update.