I’m going to start this by pointing out up front that I won’t be ending this post with a conclusion. Though things are fine once again, I don’t have answers for cause or resolution.
A couple of weeks ago, by chance, I noticed that my Apple Watch 4 battery was a little lower than usual for the time of day. It lasted all day, it was fine, so I didn’t think much of it. About Monday or Tuesday of last week I started getting 10% battery warnings at about 10pm. Again, I didn’t run out of battery, but it was clear that something wasn’t quite normal.
I hopped on text chat with an Apple Support Rep, and remote diagnotics were performed. Battery reports that it’s super healthy. So my next step was to have a pass of background refresh, uninstall unused apps and all that good stuff. No immediate change.
It occurred to me that the heaviest consumption seemed to happen at work. My devices ‘know’ the employee WiFi, but I don’t usually log them in - my phone and iPad both have their own, much faster, LTE. My MacBook uses the WiFi when i bring it in, though, so I instructed my devices to forget the network. I figured that maybe my watch’s radio was trying to connect even if my phone wasn’t. No detectable improvement.
Hard restarts - everything short of an unpair and re-pair.
Apple Support suggested running the watch in low power mode, which would allow us to see battery drain with no meaningful software influences. I did this for a while, and the battery barely depleted over several hours. I didn’t wanna lose functionality for too long though, so I ended up resuming normal use.
It’s after this point, inexplicably, that battery life started to improve again. A few extra percentage points left at the end of the day each day, until now I’m usually between 40-45% at the end of a full day (including having worked out).
I have two theories:
- Somehow low power mode kicked a thing in the butt that even a hard restart did not affect.
- The issue was due to some process following the most recent watchOS update, that for some reason took a couple of weeks to resolve.
We’re all used to our battery life dipping for a few days following an iOS update as things index, catalog, whatever in the background. Presumably something similar could happen to the watch. Alternatively, I guess it’s plausible that something gets carried over in a saved state in a regular or hard restart that is cleared out by the process of switching to low power mode.
No idea. Just thought my little story might be interesting, or even useful, should anyone notice a similar pattern.
Edit: today my day started just after 7am. Put my watch on post-shower at maybe 7:30. It’s now 13:20 and I have 83% battery and I did a 25 minute outdoor walk with heart rate tracking and GPS at lunchtime.