The Apple Watch Series 5 and Battery Life

WatchThe Apple Watch Series 5 has only been available for a few days, but there have been a lot of reports of poor battery life. Apple claims that the Apple Watch has “all-day battery life,” and gives more detailed information here, saying:

Our goal for battery life is 18 hours after an overnight charge, factoring in things like checking the time, receiving notifications, using apps and doing a 60-minute workout. And because everyone will use Apple Watch differently, we tested several other metrics as well.

Further down on the page, they go into even more detail on how they tested the battery life:

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 60-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) usage includes connection to iPhone via Bluetooth during the entire 18-hour test. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) usage includes a total of 4 hours of 4G LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth over the course of 18 hours. Testing conducted by Apple in August 2019 using pre-production Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) and Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular), each paired with an iPhone; all devices tested with pre-release software. Battery life varies by use, configuration, mobile network, signal strength and many other factors; actual results will vary.

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. Overall, even wearing the watch at night to track my sleep, I would probably charge it for 30-45 minutes each day: a bit in the morning, then later when I took a shower, then about 15 minutes in the evening. And it rarely went below that 70-80% level.

With the Series 5, my battery life was quite poor out of the gate. I waited a few days, however, to let it settle in, restarted my watch on the evening of the 25th (two days ago), then did some testing all day yesterday, recording the battery level by taking screenshots. Here are my results:

  • 08:50 am: 99%
  • 13:00 pm: 84%
  • 17:00 pm: 68%
  • 20:11 pm: 53%
  • 21:13 pm: 49%
  • 22:55 pm: 43%
  • 07:31 am: 26%

All I did on the watch was check the time, check a bunch of notifications, and do a very small amount of app usage (perhaps 15 minutes or so). There was no workout, no music playing, and no cellular-only connection. I was home, and was on wi-fi the entire time.

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, and I seem to recall that even the Series 3 lasted much longer than they said. I used to be able to take an overnight trip and get home the following afternoon and still have some battery left.

And many people commented on how long the battery life was for the Series 4, just as I’m reading a lot of people saying that battery life on the Series 5 is shorter.

If you have a Series 5 Apple Watch, how’s your battery life? Is it better or worse than with a previous model? Are you getting through the day?