Apple Watch increases iPhone battery life significantly; likely to affect future iPhone purchasing decisions

“After nearly three weeks of wearing an Apple Watch, I’m finally settling into a routine,” Kevin Tofel reports for ZDNet. “And I’ve noticed a postive impact to my iPhone 6: Longer battery life.”

“I charge the watch each night and put it back on my wrist as soon as I wake up in the morning,” Tofel reports. “The way I use my phone, I never had a problem getting through single day with the iPhone. But I’d always charge it at night because the battery would typically be around the 20 percent capacity mark at day’s end. Now, it’s closer to 50 percent when I go to bed.”

“The only variable here is the addition of the Apple Watch,” Tofel reports. “The more activities you push from a phone to a watch, the less time the phone’s display is on. There is the added energy drain of getting that data moved between devices but with Bluetooth LE, it’s not nearly as much as using the display.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Today is our fourth week with Apple Watch. Our iPhone usage is way, way down and, consequently, our iPhone battery life is way, way up (from about 40% left at the end of a typical day to over 65%). We put our Apple Watches to bed every night with about 30-35% battery remaining.

One additional thing to consider: We have iPhone 6 Plus units. 128GB. We are Day One iPhone users for every new model. We’re now using the iPhone (directly) so much less often that any Apple Watch-compatible iPhone might suffice. The next iPhone will need to offer something(s) might attractive to get those who’d normally jump to the latest and greatest iPhone, but now find a lot of their attention has shifted from iPhone to Apple Watch, to make the leap.

Of course, we’ll get the next flagship iPhone as usual, but it’s not a stretch to think that Apple Watch might impact serial iPhone upgraders. At this point with Apple Watch, a smaller model iPhone already looks much more attractive to us. So, we’re (again) seeing a raison d’être for SMALLER iPhones: You can just squirrel it away. Apple Watch use will very likely affect iPhone buying decisions for many going forward.

In a nutshell: Before Apple Watch, we used our iPhones all the time and wanted the largest display and longest battery life possible. After Apple Watch, we use our iPhones less and size/weight (easy to carry) have become much more important to us; a smaller iPhone battery wouldn’t hinder us now with Apple Watch.

Luckily for Apple, only some 20% of U.S. iPhone users have currently upgraded to iPhone 6/Plus (and there are millions of potential Android switchers coming off contracts every day), so there is a lot of headroom for iPhone 6s/Plus sales this fall and for a long time thereafter.

It’s rather amazing how dramatically the Apple Watch has affected our iPhone usage after just one month. Eventually, Apple Watch will likely change the dynamics of iPhone model sales.


    1. Really? One thing the Apple Watch has taught us is don’t jump to wild conclusions, or refute them, until you have given each new device the opportunity to settle into our daily life, or not.

      1. I never said that having the watch and how that might effect my future purchases. I said the “battery usage” would not effect my decision. MDN’s makes a great point and I could see how my the watch could definitely change the size of my phone.

        But again, the battery life is not a major factor for me.

  1. Hey, I said this a few weeks ago… 😉

    Once Apple Watch customers get into a routine, they will look at their iPhone less. As app developers enhance existing popular apps and create new ones, to push the more straightforward mobile usage to the Apple Watch, users will look at their iPhone even less.

    At that point, many users will want the iPhone to be smaller, not larger, so they can easily carry it in ANY pocket (not a purse or backpack). Or take it along on runs to allow tracking (through Apple Watch) using GPS, instead if relying on the Apple Watch’s less precise built-in motion-based tracking.

    I want a NEW iPhone built around the current 4-inch Retina screen resolution, but scaled down (in physical size) about 20%. The iPad mini is the “big” iPad scaled down about 20%. Focus should NOT be on thinness or pure performance; it should be on exceptionally long battery life per charge.

  2. 1.) Apple Watch requires (and always will require) an iPhone

    2.) Most people buy their phones on contract and keep them roughly 2 years until their carrier is willing to subsidize a new one.

    3.) Phones get dropped, stolen, left behind and otherwise suffer much more wear and tear than any other computing device, and as a consequence, must be replaced fairly often. I don’t think we’ll ever see a situation where people keep the same phone for 5 years like with PCs and Tablets.

    Because of these reasons, I don’t see Apple Watch hurting iPhone sales at all.

    Besides, I still need my big iPhone 6 Plus screen for all the stuff the Watch can’t and will probably never do, like web.

  3. For me, battery life has to basically double to be of any practical benefit. Currently when I get home I’m anywhere between 50% and 20%, but I definitely need to charge it overnight. Adding an extra couple of hours usage is not going to do much other than on particularly long/intensive days – which aren’t that often. If I new I could relatively easily get two days or more usage out of my phone that would be useful.

  4. I just don’t get this. Maybe it’s because I don’t have my Apple Watch yet but I just don’t understand how having a small screen on your wrist removes the need for a larger screen in your pocket.

    What was the point of getting the larger screen in the first place? So you could read notifications? I would imagine that the reasons for a larger screen are still the same whether or not you have an Apple Watch on your wrist.

    I can see the point that if you don’t use the iPhone screen to surf the web, read documents etc. then having a minimalistic device that contains your storage, cellular and GPS makes sense, but if that is the case why did you get a iPhone 6+ in the first place?

    1. >I just don’t get this. Maybe it’s because I don’t have my Apple Watch yet but I just don’t understand how having a small screen on your wrist removes the need for a larger screen in your pocket.

      It doesn’t. The watch screen is great for Apple Pay, texting, reading (and hopefully soon replying to) email, checking the time and other basic stuff like tracking your workout or skipping the song in Pandora. But you still want a large-screen phone if you like to browse the web, watch videos or play games. The Apple Watch doesn’t do those things.

      1. Not so.
        You could have a 4″ iPhone and watch for your communication needs + health / watch related apps. And, instead of a big screen phone, use an iPad.
        My eyes are not the best and when i’m using the web in all but emergencies, i will use an iPad. The same is true for games.
        Therefore the next logical step would be to put a full spec sim into an iPad and take the phone out of the loop altogether. If your iPad is in your bag or briefcase its close enough for the watch to do the rest. Perhaps by Gen 2 watch the primary device (phone/pad) could hand off even facetime calls. Wouldn’t that be cool.

        1. I agree with you except that if you put the cell phone transceiver in the iPad (a sort of iphone6+++) and had a 4″ iPod instead of iPhone AND continuity was more reliable (I assume it could potentially be so, it’s very reliable with the Watch isn’t it?), you could do exactly the same things, have a much better battery life with the smaller device you are using as a phone, and an only slightly shorter battery life with your iPad (which would be a very big phablet).

        2. How about thiis: erase all essential distinctions between iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads–so all devices come in both a wifi version and a radio version that would have both data and cell phone capability.

  5. I’m guilty of getting an iPhone 6+ from an iPhone 6. But I also had every other iPhone also. I have an Watch now and find myself thinking …need smaller phone and larger iPad.The watch really changes the equation. I delete more than 50% of email daily without reading, on Mac. With watch I can predetermine who’s message comes through. Junk mail rarely hits the watch now. Messages are great also. Siri is much improved! I texted a postal address today and Siri got it 100% correct. The watch just becomes natural after maybe 1 week. You WILL use your phone LESS. The battery just isn’t an issue EVER after using the Watch. I have the phone and watch charger on nightstand and can forget about needing a recharge all day. I carry a 1200 battery pack but doubt I will need it. I have the 2015 Retina Macbook also which I can charge from the battery also. Apple can still surprise. I carry the new mac instead of iPad now because it will run both OS X and Windoz 10 for work, at the same time. I have carried and used it all working day and still have 72% battery life. Thanks Apple!!

  6. Very interesting comment from MDN regarding iPhone size and watch. I have the opposite reaction. I have an iPhone 6+ that has replaced the iPad mini I used to carry around with me. I use my iPhone 5s as a phone “handset” using continuity. It’s great when it works. Unfortunately both continuity and personal hotspot can be hit and miss.

    To me, Apple Watch makes the LARGER iPhone more attractive (although I don’t have mine yet so I’m partly guessing) I find the 6 plus to be too large to use as a phone, but with the watch I would be handling it a lot less often so its largeness would be less of an issue. As far as using it as an iPad, I am even more convinced with experience that it’s smaller than ideal but I’m a lot happier with it than I thought I would be.

    1. Fascinating, I would have assumed the opposite, particularly for women who might keep a phone in a handbag, that they would go for a bigger phone if they have to pull it out less frequently

      1. I broke down and bought the 6+ precisely because I have the 5s to use as a “handset” so I don’t have to pull out the new iPhone as frequently. I am guessing that the Watch will make it seem like an even better decision. And the 6+ is actually better than the iPad mini for reading books in my opinion. What I am still unable to safely do is use the iPhone 6+ while standing. I need to sit down and use both hands. And what I refuse to do is use it as a phone, ironically, to hold a phablet up to my face. I look like a total moron when I do that. I prefer people have to meet me and get to know me before they realize I’m a total moron. Fortunately I can usually answer calls on my old 5s, because of the continuity feature.

  7. A great accessory would be a new iPod, smaller than the touch (smaller than the 3.5″ screen version in fact) but bigger than the nano, with an OS based on the Watch with many of the Watch’s features and the capability of dialing and texting (and tunes of course). A “handset” like that would be an ideal accessory for the 6+ or even larger iPhone phablets, since you would almost never have to take the iPhone out of your purse except when you are reading a book or web surfing.

  8. I have found the opposite. After 7 days with my Apple Watch, I’m chewing through the iPhone batter on my 5S faster than ever. Just today, which was normal pattern of usage, I dropped 30% in just 4 hours time. Normally that would be 15% to 20%. Even just during a one hour workout at the gym, I’m tearing through an extra 5% to 10% of battery since I got the Apple Watch.

    The Apple Watch itself has far exceeded my expectations for battery life, but it seems to be killing my iPhone 5S.

  9. I’m going exactly the opposite direction. Now that the phone spends much more time in the pocket, the less desirable (for me) two-handed use that the 6+ generally demands is no longer a concern. The 5.5″ screen is gorgeous and provides much more utility than the 4.7″, and would reduce my iPad reliance.

    Glad we have options.

  10. I think the increasing demand to access video content anyplace, at any time, on any device will keep demand for the larger screen iphone quite high. Part and parcel to Apple’s strategy is to be at the center of this revolution by supplying the devices and software. Therefore, I don’t think the watch will cause any meaningful migration back to the smaller screen iphones.

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