watchOS 3 is officially out! What’s the first thing I noticed?

Horrible battery life.

Problems like this have been detected since the first beta version. Even after several beta releases, the firmware still doesn’t improve much (in term of longer battery usage).

What else is noticeable in watchOS 3?

The core OS has radically changed to make applications load faster and open quicker. To make that a reality, watchOS 3 is taking advantage of the functionality of background refresh.

As the apps try to update their states in the background every few seconds or minutes, it consumes an extra load of power. Battery life on the Apple watch was not that great to start off with and now with the overhead of background refresh, it makes things worst.

What are some ways to save battery on watchOS 3?

Better Dock Management


Apple recently introduces Dock, a similar-feature to the App Switcher on your iPhone and iPad. Here you can see and manage apps that are still running in the background.

One way to save battery life in watchOS 3 is only keeping the apps that you always use in the dock. By dropping 70% of the apps from the dock, it can make a huge difference in battery life.

Stop Mails Fetching

Fetching emails to the Apple Watch is also, apparently, pretty power intensive. You may want to dribble with the email notification settings as well.

This will go a long way in helping with the battery issue as we move forward especially with the new Series 2. It is clear that watchOS 3 will perform better on recent models released earlier this month.

Disable Background App Refresh in watchOS 3

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone. Go to My Watch > General > Background App Refresh
  2. You can either switch off all the background refresh using the on/off toggle on the top
  3. Or switch off the update of the selected third party apps that you think are the culprit

By selectively targeting each of the apps and disabling their background feature, you can very quickly figure out the problematic app at hand and remove it completely.


Turn on Power Reserve

Using Power Reserve can help you save a lot of battery on your watch. Keep in mind that once this feature is enabled, it will disable your device and disconnect communications with the iPhone.

  1. Launch Control Center by swiping up on the watch face
  2. Tap on the battery percentage
  3. Choose Power Reserve and Proceed

The only thing that is still accessible is the time. Just press the side button to bring up the current time in a 24-hour format.


Are you folks experiencing battery-related issues with the watchOS 3? What changes or tricks have you found to help you with this problem?

  • John Runions

    I have installed WatchOS 3 beta 2 and battery life has gotten even worse. I can only make it till 2:00 PM before I am required to charge.

    If its the background refresh causing the issue the will really need to educate people on its proper use or Apple is going to get slammed by unhappy customers.

    Which is a shame, because I am really liking the new features and look of the update.

    • John

      Sorry to hear that. Yup, background app refresh is one of the core feature that consume a lot of battery.

    • Frank Dreyer

      The same here. On watchOS 3 beta 1 the battery life was in my opinion good but in the beta 2 I get up at 5:00 am and about afternoon the battery is down.

  • Dave

    Yep! Same here too, I (religiously) charge my watch to 100% before bed, waking up to a battery percentage of 89-91%. This hasn’t changed since I started my routine approx 3months ago.

    I installed WatchOS3 beta2 last night (boy it took some time to install!) and replicated my usual routine of 100% before bed. I woke this morning to 79% battery! Unless I was drastically mobile during my sleep, the battery is struggling to keep up with the beta features.

  • mic

    Final Watch OS 3 is now out and installed, and battery drain is tremendous, do not make it through the day. I would not upgrade if I had known how bad it was beforehand.

  • alan shimel

    Same here. Charge my watch every night and I would usually make it through the day with about 30 to 40% left. I am running on empty by 5pm now. Terrible!

  • Kodo

    Yea I updated last night and like Alan above I always had plenty in reserve. Today it died around mid-late afternoon. Terrible update.

  • Paul

    I also have the same annoying issue.

    Does anyone have a problem with starting an activity. For me it sometimes hang and just shows zeros. I have to then restart my watch for it to work again.

    Also when I go to the activity summary, it takes hours for it to update with the latest activity details.

  • Geo

    I also installed at beta stage and even with the latest release still bad battery life. 100% on overnight charge and with using limited except for 1 hour of exercise each day, barely make it til 6:00 PM. Very sad that they would do something that would destroy the whole reason for having the watch. I need to at very least have it last 16 hours….grrrr


  • Brian

    Agreed. This is definitely one of Apple’s worst updates yet. I wish Apple would stop trying to ‘improve’ things only to make it MUCH WORSE. Seriously, people were complaining about this battery issue with the beta versions in July. Why did Apple not listen then and fix it before the release.

    Unless Apple can finally grasp the concept of what this device is and how it is intended to be used, this will definitely be my last watch from Apple. This isn’t an iPhone, it’s a watch. Any watch should be as battery conservative as possible. There should be absolutely no background tasks running doing anything unless I explicitly set that app to do it.

    Attempting to force a 12-18 month technology refresh on watches that don’t need it combined with the most horrible battery life I’ve yet seen from a watch, I don’t see why people continue to buy them. I won’t buy any update hardware if this is where Apple is headed. It’s quite clear, Apple just doesn’t get the watch market. Worse, Apple is trying to force their will onto the watch market and that clearly has fail written all over. There are just some markets that Apple cannot strong-arm into their unnecessary ways, and the watch market is one of them.

  • Shellie

    Thank God I’m not the only one! I thought I was imagining it. I was down to 40% after 6 hours and using it for workouts completely sucks the life out. Trying shutting down app refresh. This sucks! Oh, and why does it take an hour for an update? Geez!