Apple Watch Battery Drain Problems Fixed as watchOS 10.1.1 Arrives

Apple Watch charging Credit: Ekaterina Mesilova / Shutterstock
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Apple has today released watchOS 10.1.1, a significant bug fix release that promises to fix an ongoing — and annoying — problem that many Apple Watch owners have been experiencing since updating to watchOS 10.1.

Shortly after Apple released watchOS 10.1 in late October, reports began pouring in of folks experiencing dramatically shortened battery life on their wearables. These weren’t just a matter of not getting through the day on a single Apple Watch charge — some could barely get through two hours before they found their battery depleted. These problems were accompanied in some cases by reports of overheating during charging as well.

There seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to why this was happening. All Apple Watch models were affected, and while some users had success with using less demanding watch faces or restoring their Apple Watch to factory settings, that was by no means a universal fix.

At the same time, many Apple Watch owners had no problems with watchOS 10.1, reporting normal battery life — and there seemed to be no pattern to which Apple Watch models were okay versus which were most severely impacted.

Thankfully, Apple sat up and took notice, circulating a memo to Apple service technicians that a fix was on the way. However, the memo didn’t say when that could be expected other than that it was “coming soon.”

The good news is that “soon” in this case appears to have been better than many hoped, with a watchOS 10.1.1 release dropping earlier today that specifically “addresses an issue that could cause the battery to drain more quickly for some users.”

As with the mysterious iPhone 15 Pro overheating problem, Apple doesn’t provide any insight whatsoever as to the cause of this problem, so it’s difficult to know for sure if watchOS 10.1.1 will fix it for everyone until we see some reports from folks who have tried it. Nevertheless, it’s worth a shot for those who are getting less battery life from their wearable than expected.

As usual, the release notes also suggest that watchOS 10.1.1 includes some other “bug fixes,” although this time around, there are no specific security patches included in watchOS 10.1.1, so the biggest fix here appears to be the battery drain issue.

You can check for watchOS updates via the Watch app on your iPhone or directly from the Settings app on the Apple Watch. In either case, they can be found under General > Software Update. The update can be downloaded directly onto the Apple Watch while you’re wearing it, but it must be connected to a charger with at least 50% battery capacity for the update to install.

Meanwhile, Apple already has watchOS 10.2 out in beta for both developers and those who have signed up for the public beta program. It’s unclear if the same problem existed in the current watchOS 10.2 beta, but if so, it’s unlikely to be fixed yet, as the first watchOS 10.2 beta arrived only a day after watchOS 10.1 showed up.

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