How many hours should a Watch battery last?

I have a Series 2 Watch. You might think, “Oh wow. That’s old. No wonder Doug is complaining about battery life.”

But here’s the actual situation. I got a Series 1 gifted to me in 2019 when a friend upgraded hers to a Series 4. It was still under AppleCare+ warranty, and after that expired I kept up the warranty for $2.49/month.

A year or two ago it went bad. Apple couldn’t find a replacement Series 1, so they gave me a Series 2 instead. So the Watch is not that old.

It’s now half past noon. I put the Watch on at about 6 am, so it’s only been 6.5 hours. Yet the battery is already down to 50%. I’ve only taken one 35 minute (1.8 km) walk using the Workout app on the app this morning. Nothing else.

If I don’t top off my charge it will end up dipping below 10% by early evening.

Is that normal? I had Apple Support run a remote health check and they said everything seemed normal.

And if I were to upgrade to a Series 8, or the latest SE, would the battery life be much better?


Although you may have had the watch only for a year or two, the watch itself is at least 5 years old (according to MacTracker, the series 2 was discontinued in 2017). So the battery is at least that old. True it’s only been sitting on a shelf with the watch powered off for most of that time, but batteries still age even if not actively used.

So, it’s not surprising to me that it has to be charged often.

Every new generation of the Watch has included improved battery life among its virtues. So, I assume that getting a new watch would give you longer active time between charges. I currently use a Series 6, and charge it before going to bed (sleeping with it on) and while in the shower in the morning. In addition to passive use, I run timers a few times a day and probably run workouts for 30 minutes to an hour.
In the evening, I’ve never seen the charge level below the high 40’s; It’s usually somewhere between 50-65%.

So, I think a new watch should allow you to wear it all day and charge overnight. If you do wear it to sleep, charging it to over 80% before bed and then charging it again at some time in the morning when you don’t need it will allow you to use it without worrying about the charge state.

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If Apple gave me this Watch as a refurbished replacement wouldn’t they at least have put a new battery in beforehand? That’s possible, isn’t it?

I just came back from a 1 hour dog walk. It’s 2:15 pm. And now the battery is at 28%. If I don’t top it off it will drain out by early evening tops.

I never wear it to sleep. I put it on the charger before going to sleep.

Hmm… Something to think about…

That seems about right to me. The older models don’t get as good a battery life as the newer ones, even brand new. I’ve had watches since the first one (series 0) in 2015 and my experience was that if you do any kind of workout a charge won’t last a whole day (or anything close to the 18-hour rating).

My current one is a 5 and it’s much better. I usually do one workout a day (when I walk the dog for 30-60 minutes) and the watch is often down to 10% or less by midnight. When I go camping and hiking like I did last week, with several hours of workouts per day, I’m lucky if it watch is still running by 8 pm.

But everyone’s experience and usage pattern is different. What you get with yours is what you get: it’s up to you to decide if you need to add a routine to top it off during the day or upgrade to a newer model that might last longer. But what you’re describing sounds reasonable to me and is certainly not unusual, especially for a series 2.

From what you’re describing, are the newer models really that much better in battery life? I wonder what I might expect.

My experience is everything from the 4 and earlier were almost useless in terms of battery life, unless you literally only used them as a watch. Activity tracking just killed the battery. The newer ones I consider usable, though I’m certainly no exercise or sports person (for that kind of use, an Ultra would be recommended). I wouldn’t say the new ones double the battery life, but at least they can get you through a full day (say 8a to midnight).

I have yet to try the new “low power” mode coming with the next watch OS which turns off enough background processes to really extend battery life, but it sounds useful to me. However, I doubt that the series 2 will work with that OS.

Shortly after the Series 5 came out, I developed a stuck pixel on my Series 4. When I brought it in for repair, I was informed that it would need to be sent back to a repair facility, but, it would probably end up being replaced. Sure enough, about a week later, the Apple store had a replacement Watch for me. However, it did not have the current WatchOS but instead the previous version, which would have been current when the Series 4 shipped. In fact, in order to migrate my setup to it (from the last backup on my iPhone, we needed to first update the watch to the current system.

Anyway, from that experience, I believe that when Apple introduces a new product, they set aside a small percentage to serve as replacements for items returned that can’t be repaired promptly. In time, that stock is augmented by refurbished items. Anyway, no effort is made to keep these items up-to -date and, when they are shipped as replacements, basic checks are made to make sure the item runs, but no torture tests are run. If an item needs to be replaced, Apple will try to ship you a replacement at the same level and age as the item they are replacing–if they don’t have one that old in stock, they’ll send you the oldest one they have.

Repair is not an opportunity to update.

Interesting. A little weird though if one purpose of keeping a warranty is if the battery goes bad. Maybe that’s why they were unable to replace my Series 1 with a Series 1.

It won’t. It hasn’t been updatable for years. I wonder, though, if I generally run it in low power mode what would I lose? Would my workouts no longer sync? Would my move calories no longer sync to the iPhone Fitness app?

Perhaps read what I wrote in TidBITS? You can’t use watchOS 9’s Low Power Mode at all, so it’s not relevant, and the previous Power Reserve mode turns the smartwatch into a dumbwatch.


If you want a watch that has a battery that will last all day, no matter what, there is only one- the new Ultra. I have had mine for 17 days now. Battery trends to 70 hours on a single charge, and that’s with sleep tracking and 90 minutes per day of workout tracking.

Basically now I charge it each day while I take a shower and otherwise it is on my wrist. I’ve had both a Series 2 and a Series 5 and my experience of both is a little opposite what was earlier reported. I found that the Series 2 lasted longer into the day without charging than the Series 5 did. (One difference is that I had the bigger 42mm Series 2 and the smaller 40mm Series 5; that supposedly shouldn’t make a difference, but perhaps it did.) Of course when I’d been using the Series 2 for three years when I bought the Series 5 the battery had degraded quite a bit (the S2 had no way to measure battery health like all watches since now have, but mine was obviously quite degraded.)

With the Series 5 and the same usage pattern I reported above (sleep tracking and 90 minutes of workouts) I needed to charge probably about 45 to 90 minutes per day at some point to be fully charged when I went to bed to begin sleep tracking. My Series 5 after three years is at 87% maximum capacity and I do have to charge it longer (more like 60 minutes minimum) than before if I want to get through a day.

Yes, the Ultra is a lot more expensive than the SE. But if battery life is the most important factor, it’s the best watch to get, and it’s far more likely to be watch that you can keep for 3 years or more and have decent battery life still than an SE or Series 8 will be.

If cost is the biggest factor, then obviously the new SE (without the always on display) will probably be a better choice.

I would counsel anyone with a Series 1, 2, or 3 to upgrade at this point. Those watches to me would be like trying to use an iPhone 4 in 2022.

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Not quite true. I had a Series 3 watch until a couple of weeks ago when it refused to reboot (just showed the Apple Logo and then drained the battery). When the watch was working, it lasted from about 7am to midnight with power to spare. I even slept with it a couple of times with no problems although it was very low in the morning.

Battery life has greatly improved. My new Series 8 is actually smaller than my Series 3 (41mm vs. 42mm), but has a bigger much brighter screen, and is always on. Yet, I don’t think I’ve taken it off at night with a charge less than 50% remaining. I might leave it on when I sleep.

My series 3 lasts all day and usually overnight and into the next day, with a workout at some point.

Actually…it is that old. They probably haven’t made any Series 2 since the Series 3 was released…so whatever you have has been sitting in a warehouse someplace. Granted…it doesn’t have that many cycles on the battery…but it’s still 5ish years old and I suppose that the battery might have aged and have less capacity than when it was new.

Interesting information. I need to checking the pricing of course. I’ve never actually purchased a Watch before - the Series 1 was gifted to me and then upgraded to a Series 2 under warranty from Apple. I didn’t realize that it was only later Watches that had a battery health check. I wonder what Apple is checking when they do a remote test of mine and saying it looks ok.

Also interesting information. I don’t ever intend to wear my Watch while sleeping, but it would be nice to get through the day from, say, 5 am to 9 pm with 2 or 3 walking workouts tracked during the day without needing to “top off” at lunch or late afternoon.

I did read the article (good article) but there were two points I didn’t understand:

  1. So what happens if you enable low power mode during a workout with that extra toggle?
  2. In low power mode do you continue to get “move calories” synced to your Fitness app on your iPhone?



Apple wouldn’t have had the ability to replace the battery? Like now, I’ve been continuing the warranty for $2.49/month. If something happens to the battery their only option would be to replace the Watch?

Not necessarily. It might be cheaper for them to continue replacing your failing Series 2 with Series 2 until they run out of new/old stock & refurbished stock, at which point they will likely send you a new/old stock/refurbished Series 3. Even if batteries are not used for 5 years their ability does degrade.

I’ve been pretty happy with the battery on my series 8 watch. I wear it overnight for sleep tracking and charge it for about 40 minutes in the morning while I’m reading emails. It’s down to somewhere around 40 or 50% when I charge it, so it could easily last another eight hours or so. I do a few workouts each day (e.g. 60 minute cycle ride or 90 minute brisk walk).

I switched from a Fitbit. The Fitbit battery lasted for up to a week when I first had it, but it decreased over time. I charge my phone every day, so it’s not much of a hassle to do the same with my watch.

The sleep-tracking improvements in watchOS 9 were one reason I decided to switch from Fitbit. I also didn’t like Fitbit being owned by Google. The Apple watch is a huge improvement, although it does have a few quirks.