Newer Apple Watch models running watchOS 6 are experiencing poorer battery life than on previous versions of the software, according to a slew of user reports.
While it isn’t 100 percent clear what is causing the battery drain, there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that it could be one of the key features of watchOS 6: the Noise app. Here’s what you should know.
watchOS 6 Battery Drain
Last week, we highlighted a handful of user reports indicating that Apple Watch battery life may have taken a hit after watchOS 6.
At the time, many of the impacted users owned Apple Watch Series 5 devices, which made it appear like the always-on display (AOD) was the culprit.
Part of the reason for that was a tweet by popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee, who blamed AOD for the battery drainage. Brownlee wasn’t the only one theorizing that AOD may have been causing poorer battery life.
On the other hand, there were other reports that Apple Watch Series 5 device were still draining unusually fast even with AOD turned off. At least one Redditor reported that their Apple Watch Series 5 had the exact same battery life average with AOD enabled or disabled.
Further confusing things were reports that the Series 4 and possibly older devices without AOD also saw a battery life hit.
All of this suggests that it could be a software problem, or at least something other than AOD. But unlike iOS 13.1.1, today’s watchOS 6.0.1 update didn’t contain any battery-related fixes (per its release notes).
Enter the next probable cause of battery drainage: the new hearing health-related Noise app.
The Noise App
Some Apple Watch Series 4 users reported that their battery life improved after disabling or deleting the Noise app. Certain Series 5 owners who had AOD on but the Noise app disabled also said that their battery life improved.
This doesn’t explain battery drain issues on the Series 3, which isn’t compatible with the Noise app. But it’s fairly common for devices to experience poorer battery life directly after an update — and watchOS 6 is still fairly “fresh” out in the wild.
In any case, if you’d like to disable the Noise app to see if it improves your battery life, it’s fairly easy to do so. Just head to your Watch’s app grid, press and hold on the Noise app and select Delete.
You can also try simply disabling background noise monitoring in the iOS Watch app. Just head to (Your) Watch > Noise. It’s probably also a good idea to avoid using Noise complications if you’re seeing poor battery life.
Of course, the Noise app battery drain issue is likely due to a bug or some other optimization problem. Because of that, Apple will probably patch it in a future watchOS 6 update. So keep an eye out for that.