Apple Watch Series 5 and battery life

Kirk McElhearn:

The Apple Watch Series 5 has only been available for a few days, but there have been a lot of reports of poor battery life…

With my Series 4 GPS/Cellular Apple Watch, starting the day with a full charge, I would regularly have about 70-80% left at the end of the day, late afternoon or early evening…

With the Series 5, my battery life was quite poor out of the gate… To be fair, even with a workout and music playing, I’d probably get to 18 hours, but this is a very big drop from what I got with the Series 4. I think Apple was definitely underestimating battery life on the Series 4.

MacDailyNews Take: Our Apple Watch Series 4 units significantly outlasted Apple’s battery life claims. Perhaps with the Always-On display, Apple is simply being more accurate with their Apple Watch battery claims and now lowballing as much?


  1. Based on how many changes they have made to their OSes and the resulting bugs it seems wise to hold judgement on this issue and revisit it once watchOS 6 has settled down. Developers are also only really now getting stable OSes to develop on so I expect apps will greatly improve over the next few months or so.

    I suspect battery life will improve over the life of Series 5 watches as Apple’s new frameworks like SwiftUI framework mature, gets more efficient and as developers learn to make better use of them.

    It doesn’t look like Apple has really changed the hardware from Series 4 so it will be interesting next year if they adopt some of A13 power saving tricks and shrink the node process to 7nm+ or even 5nm.

  2. Yup, the battery life on my v5 is crappy with the “always on” feature enabled. Turn it off and go back to “wrist up” (as on my v4) and the life goes back to “normal”. I hope Apple comes out with a software update to fix the problem.

  3. You all set your battery life expectation for your Series 5 based on what you were getting in Series 3 or 4. And now its about 40% less, give or take because the display is always on. Is this really that hard to figure out?

    I could get two days on my Series 3 before I had to toss it on the charger, with my Series 5, if I leave the display on, I charge it daily and at the end of a long day, its around 40% maybe less tossing in some exercise routines.

    You might be able to extend battery life a little, it if you adjusted the brightness down in settings, but chances are if you lower it, then you’ll complain its not bright enough,

    The bottom line however is if you leave it on, you’ll charge daily. If you turn it off, you might get two days, about the same or better than before…

    There was probably no reason to upgrade to Series 5 from Series 4, but if you were on Series 3 or earlier, this is a great upgrade.. If you really wanted the always on display, then this as a good upgrade, even if the battery does not last as long as it does with the display off.

  4. My Series 5 lasted 33 hours w/the Raise to Wake ON, which is about the same run time I got with my Series 4. I thought I might be dumb to go from my perfectly good Series 4 to a 5, but I figured worst case I could return it in 14 days.

    What I have observed is that I’m not raising my wrist near as much, because I can easily see it by just glancing down. And the ambient light sensor is sooooooo good that it really is bright enough for me to see indoors and outside in direct sun light, too. Plus, it still has Theater Mode for my Sleeping App when I go to bed. So I LOVE the Series 5 MUCH more than I thought I would, but unfortunately I’m having to return the whole watch because I do NOT like the Leather Loop band (I’ll expound further below).

    So, when I get my Series 5 Nike back…my next test is to see how long it goes with the Raise to Wake OFF. I’m thinking it might just go super long with Raise to Wake OFF, as again I can see it fine without having to raise it. Plus, I am also figuring that if I need to do something with it…I’d be touching it anyway at that point. Seems logical in theory (to me anyway), but I will see in practical day-to-day use…or perhaps I’ll be taking two aspirin to make it go away. 😉

    Expounding on why I did NOT like the Black Leather Loop…
    Every time I moved even a little, the Leather Loop band “creaks”, both audibly and physically. So, to me, it constantly sounded and felt like the watch is using its haptic touch/tap on my wrist when it was not doing anything (insert eye roll here). 😉 Plus, I don’t like the way the ends can slip through. Meaning, I like watch bands that when unlatched are still looped around a person’s wrist with no chance of dropping the watch to the ground, simply because one end suddenly slipped though before I was ready (an unexpected quick release). I’d rather release and slide it over my wrist and hand (but that’s just me). 😉 Bottomline, I had to return the whole watch…and I’ve reordered the Series 5 Nike version with the Sport Loop like what I had on my 4.

  5. Day 1 and 2 battery was at 20 by 8pm. I unpaired my watch, set it up as new. Tested with always on and off. With it on, it drained to about 88 by 12pm on day 3. .
    With it off it drained to 92 by 4pm day 4.
    The update will def help but they must’ve tested it with someone who doesn’t really use their watch. But the battery is proving to be a little better than my 3. My buddy has the 4. I beat him yesterday, he’s beating me today. But it seems to tie by end of day.
    But yeah – background app refresher is also something i don’t care for.

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