Apple is working on watchOS 3.1, which is still in beta. I don’t know what changes Apple made to the new version of watchOS, but the under-the-hood changes have led to a dramatic improvement in battery life for the Apple Watch.
Battery life of the Apple Watch
The battery in the old Apple Watch would last about 18 hours, under average usage conditions. With the launch of the new Apple Watch Series 2, I was hoping for a larger battery and thus improved battery life. Apple delivered bigger battery but indicated that the battery would not last any longer than in the earlier model. The assumption was that the extra battery capacity would only compensate for the brighter screen and the built-in GPS. That made sense.
When I got the new Apple Watch Series 2, I did not notice a significant improvement in battery life, as expected. At the end of the day, I had maybe 10% more battery left than I was used to with the old Apple Watch.
Battery life in watchOS 3.1
Apple Watch Series 2 shipped with watchOS 3.0 pre-installed. I immediately upgraded my new Apple Watch to the developer beta of watchOS 3.1, and I noticed a significant improvement in battery life.
I usually get up between 5-5:30 am and put on my Apple Watch. Seven hours later, after lunch, I would still have 85-90% battery left, depending on if I worked out that morning or not. When I go to bed around 9 pm, I would still have 70-78% battery remaining. That’s incredible compared to the 20-30% I was used to with earlier versions of watchOS.
I charge my Apple Watch every night, so the improved battery life does not have a significant impact on a daily basis, but it will come in handy when I travel overseas and cannot charge the Apple Watch in the plane.
We will find out if those improvements in watchOS 3.1 are limited to the Apple Watch Series 2 when Apple releases watchOS 3.1 to the public. My hope is that those improvements will also apply to Apple Watch Series 1 and even the original Apple Watch. I expect watchOS 3.1 to be released to the public on or before their October 27 event.