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The Mystery of the Apple Watch's Improved Battery Life

I know that it can be chalked up to playing with the Apple Watch a bit more in the first few days I had it, but the improvement in battery life I've experienced over the last four days is downright bizarre. 

Anytime I've had a new mobile device, the battery drains pretty quickly the first day or two I have it because I'm spending time setting it up and just exploring it in general. After the initial newness wears off, I settle into more general usage and battery life becomes more reasonable. 

Of course, I'm not particular happy with battery life in general for any device. I realize you can't simply throw money at physics and instantly come up with super batteries--that such things take time for evolution and development--but I wish that Apple would make battery life a primary focus of their R&D. As I said the other day, if their devices could go days or even a week at a time without having to be recharged, the consumer world would beat a path to their door--not that they're actually hurting for business as things are. 

Anyway, on the first day I had my Apple Watch (Tuesday, last week), it was delivered around 11 AM, and it came charged at 75%. I had it in use by 11:30 AM, and by 8 PM, it was down to about 10%. Again, I chalked this up to first day above-average use. 

On the second day I had it, I put it on around 8 AM with a 100% charge, but by around 8 PM again, it was down to less than 10%. This didn't bother me for the same reason as the previous day. But then on Thursday of last week, my third day of use, the battery was down to 42% by 2 PM, and had I not put it back on its charger, I have no doubt it would have been dead by late afternoon. 

By that point, I was very frustrated. Having the watch only last for 12 hours or less was really not acceptable. In fact, I planned to write a post this week titled something like, "The Most Disappointing Aspect of the Apple Watch" and talk about its dismal battery life. I even bought an extra charging cable last Friday for use in my car. I didn't want to have to do it, but I thought that maybe I could at least charge it while I'm driving. In fact, while I was driving home Friday night, I was able to raise the charge by 20% in 30 minutes. However, I did that merely as a test because I noticed that by 4 PM on Friday, it was surprisingly only down to 57%. 

If I had written my complaint post, I was prepared to write what I had already told others, "The Apple Watch battery will certainly last for a traditional work day, but it won't last for my day." I want to be able to put the watch on in the morning and take it off at night without having to worry about charging it. I actually want that for all my devices. I don't want to have to plug them in during the day, but I have to anyway. Yet the Apple Watch is more personal. It's really of no use if it's not being worn. 

Saturday and Sunday, I was able to do exactly what I wanted to do--leave it on all day, and it maintained a healthy charge until I went to bed. The screenshot at the top of this post was taken at 1:30 AM today. Although I put on my Apple Watch this morning a bit later than normal, I really have no idea why I'm suddenly getting such good battery life. 

Again, it's easy to say that I was just using it more the first two or three days. But I've continued to use it all day long, every day since. I take calls on it if there's no one around whom I might annoy with a two-way conversation coming over my phone. I regulary reply to texts by voice dictation, check the time and weather; and of course, I've been monitoring battery life. Over the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday I was around people who wanted to see demonstrations of the watch. It got pretty heavy use over the weekend, and the Apple Watch lasted until I went to bed--late nights both--with battery to spare. 

So, right now, yes, in spite of my first three days experience, I'm getting at least the promised 18-hour day, if not more. I don't have brightness turned down, and I essentially have the same features turned on that I had at the end of my first day with the Apple Watch. I have no idea why my battery life has improved so much, but I'd be interested to hear if others have had the same experience. If you have, please let me know in the comments.

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Reader Comments (1)

Exactly the same just happened to me. I bought my Apple Watch 6 days ago. For the first 5 days, battery life was disappointing - it got me through a 16-hour day but was down to about 25% by the time I went to bed. Today however the battery seems to be lasting much longer, so much so that I thought there was something wrong with the battery level display and reset and rebooted the watch. Haven't changed anything, so no idea why.

August 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark F

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