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If you’re experiencing faster battery drain on your Apple Watch Series 5 or an older model after updating to watchOS 6, you aren’t alone. We’ve seen reports of poorer battery life on Apple Watch models in both cases. What’s more, they may actually be related issues. Here’s what you should know.
Followers of the tech and Apple blogosphere probably noticed the following tweet this morning from YouTube Marques Brownlee, or MKBHD.
Brownlee tested the Apple Watch Series 5 over a two-week period and reported that the always-on display mode caused his Watch’s battery to drain about 30 percent faster than normal.
The YouTuber didn’t offer any additional details. For example, it isn’t clear if he meant 30 percent faster than the Series 4 or the Series 5 with always-on display disabled.
Other Apple Watch Series 5 users have chimed in and reported similar battery drain issues.
It’s worth noting, however, that we’ve also seen users report battery life drain that’s comparable to Apple Watch Series 3 or Series 4 devices.
There’s a lot of tech inside the new Apple Watch Series 5 that makes the always-on display a possibility. According to Apple, it should have about the same “all-day” battery life as the Series 4, even with the display constantly on.
It would be surprising if the Series 5’s battery estimates were actually way off and the always-on display was a big battery drainer, because reviews of Apple’s 2019 iPhones, for example, have found that its estimates were spot-on.
To be clear, 30 percent faster battery drain on a device sporting 16 to 18 hours of battery life still means that the Series 5 will have enough juice to last the average user all day. But, of course, there could always be something else going on.
watchOS 6 Battery Drain?
Maybe the battery drain issue isn’t tied to the Apple Watch Series 5’s always-on display and is instead a bug within watchOS 6.
For example, we’ve noticed a couple of our own Apple Watch Series 3 models draining faster than normal after updating them to watchOS 6.
More than that, some users have reported that an Apple Watch Series 5 with the always-on display mode disabled still saw poorer battery life than previous models.
Some users have theorized that the Apple Watch battery drain is due to a software bug in watchOS 6 and not a hardware issue on the Series 5. If that does turn out to be the case, it hopefully means that Apple could squash the bug in a future update.
There are some contradictory reports, however. Some Apple Watch users have reported better battery life after updating to watchOS 6. So it’s not clear what exactly is going on.
In the meantime, you can try disabling raise-to-wake on your Series 5, which some users have reported success with.
For older Watch owners, it looks like you may just have to wait for a new watchOS release and see if it fixes the issue.