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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

One week ago, Apple released watchOS 3.1 to the public, bringing various bug fixes and performances improvements to the first version update of watchOS 3. Over the past few days a hidden advantage of 3.1 has been discovered, with users on the MacRumors forums and Reddit mentioning that they have vastly improved battery life on their Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 following the new update.

In a thread that started last Wednesday, forum member tromboneaholic posted a topic about the "great battery life" found on their Series 1 Apple Watch after updating to 3.1. Sixteen hours after charging the device, it still had 75 percent battery, even "with everything turned on like location services and background app refresh." Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watch owners note the same beefed up battery life in 3.1, with one forum member saying that they "can now comfortably skip charging every other night" if they wanted.

I read reports that beta users were getting great battery life under 3.1. I wasn't prepared for how big the improvement would be. I have a Series 1, and I had 75% battery left after 16 hours yesterday. After charging it over night, I have 97% battery after 6 hours. This is with everything turned on like location services and background app refresh. So far I haven't had any strange reboots like I had under 3.0. I would say this is an amazing update for the watch.
My field test with watchOS 3.1 on my AW S2: took it off the charger Friday at 5:00 am and it lasted until Sunday 7:00 pm. Great! I think I'll go for a charge every other night and see how that works. For once a great software update, Apple!
Some users have even managed to get a Series 2 Apple Watch on 3.1 to last all weekend. Most Apple Watch owners have known in the past that Apple's recommended 18 hour battery life could get them through at least one day without a charge, but now it appears watchOS 3.1 has improved that to a point where users can easily get to the two day mark, as long as there aren't many intensive tasks running on the wearable. Understandably, some apps -- like Apple's stock Workout app -- increase battery loss when running in the background, which offsets the statistic for users working out heavily throughout the day.

Some owners of the original Apple Watch, known online as "Series 0," appear to not have gotten the same battery boost, however. One forum member said their Series 0 "has actually gotten a little worse" on 3.1, with the end-of-day battery percentage down by 10 percent on average. Another user worried about their iPhone 7 potentially being the culprit behind major battery drainage issues, but 3.1 doesn't seem to have helped their case. That forum member mentioned their battery "drops like a stone" after each workout, so it's most likely a specific hardware issue and not a widespread bug.
My series 0 has actually gotten a little worse. I even unpaired/repaired. In WatchOS 2 I generally finished my day with roughly 25-35% left, with a 1-hour workout. Now i'm down to 10-15% with a 25-45 minute workout.
Sadly my 3.0 and 3.1 experience with original watch is very different. Have unpaired, repaired, reset, restarted but still battery drops life a stone after a workout has run. Have removed all but the one face, background refresh off, handoff off. Genius Bar went through diagnostics and reported all ok. Have a worry that it could be my iPhone 7 causing the problem as the few days with 3.0 on old iPhone 6 I didn't notice the drain.
Still, the battery improvements for the newer Apple Watches appear to be one of the more notable changes to watchOS for most users. As one Redditor shared yesterday, on a 42mm Series 2 Apple Watch they managed to keep a battery of around 82 percent after 11 hours of standby and 1 hour of usage. That percentage was with prominent haptics, max brightness, and background app refresh all turned on, as well. Since posting, many have shared similar experiences.

Check out the full watchOS 3.1 battery improvement thread over in the MacRumors forums to see more stories related to the update.

Article Link: Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 Owners Noticing 'Great' Battery Improvements in watchOS 3.1


macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2010
Eh, sounds like classic update placebo effect. "Some users are reporting better performance/battery life, while others are reporting worse!".


macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
With the Series 2 I saw a significant improvement over the original watch - though that in itself shouldn't be surprising given the battery capacity was increased by ~35%. It is quite nice to do the usual morning workouts of 1-2 hours and not needing to worry about charging for it to last for the remainder of the day (with the original watch, after a workout I would put the watch on the charger while showering to top it up from the the drain that occurred during a workout).

Since 3.1 it's been even more impressive. I can do the morning workouts, have the watch on for 16+ hours, and still have greater than 50% battery left. I've seen some days with no workout that I have 75% remaining after 16 hours off charge.


macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2009
Original with 3.1 getting worse battery life.
Funny, though, as I am also having severe connectivity problems and other issues with my 7. Going to Apple Store to get it looked at today so hopefully any benefit will be two fold even though I don't know how they'd be related.
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macrumors member
Jun 10, 2015
With my Apple Watch 1.Gen. I have now nearly the same battery life with watchOS 3.1 as before with watchOS 2, about 36 hours in best case.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2014
Ah, series zero doesn't sound as good as the original Apple Watch.
Oh well, didn't notice any effects even with watchOS 3 other than great improvements over speed.

As of this moment, I have 9.30hrs standby and 2.30hrs usage with 55% battery left.
No complaints here. :)


macrumors regular
Aug 7, 2011
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
my Wife has a 38mm series 1 watch...
before the update, at the end of the day, watch was around 15-20%.
Now, with the same usage, it's around 50%.
So yes for her, there's an improvement.

for me with my 42mm series 0, I don't see any difference... about the same with watchos 3 and 3.1...


macrumors 68000
Nov 29, 2010
Huh. I know I am, but I hadn't actually thought about it. But the last couple of days I've been doing to bed with 80%+ battery life. All of my settings are just set to default, I don't have anything turned off or set to optimize battery life or anything.


macrumors 68000
Aug 9, 2008
I didn't really notice a change at first after the update to 3.0. I could often wear my watch all day and then sleep with it at night and then only charge it for about an hour while I get ready for work in the morning. Sometime in the last week or so, I started getting low battery warnings before the end of the day. Not sure if one of my apps started acting up in the background, or if something else happened, but my battery life has recently taken a nosedive from what I used to have. I don't think I'm using my watch any more or less than before. I have a Series 0. Looking forward to seeing if 3.1 will get me back where I was, though the report above about Series 0 doesn't sound encouraging.
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macrumors 68000
Jul 8, 2008
I have a Series 2 and an original Apple Watch (actually two), and can confirm the battery life on the Series 2 is amazing on 3.1. The original Apple Watch's battery isn't any worse, but I would say it's the same as I was getting on 3.0. Occasionally it will seem to drop a little fast, but a reboot fixes it so I assume a process is getting hung up in the background.


macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2009
I had the Series 0 and got the Series 2 on launch day. On both of them with watchOS 3.0 I'd typically end the day with around 40-50% battery left. I haven't updated the Series 0 since it's not currently paired with a phone but I also noticed after the 3.1 update I'm now finishing the day with at least 75% battery left. It's pretty incredible how much it's improved.
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macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
Eh, sounds like classic update placebo effect. "Some users are reporting better performance/battery life, while others are reporting worse!".
I don't think that's the case. I updated from the original to the Series 2 and noticed that the battery seemed to be draining slightly faster. I'd usually end the day on my original around 50% vs 35-40% on the Series 2 until the 3.1 update.


macrumors 603
May 6, 2008
My Series 1 AW really hasn't seen any improvement on 3.1. I have noticed the battery getting a bit worse the last month, but it did this was prior to 3.1 anyway.


macrumors 6502a
May 26, 2010
Lawton, OK
I do a 6.7 mile walk (and related workout) every day. Normally the watch would barely be able to last two days on a charge. Now I'm likely able to last three to three-and-a-half days on a charge after the update to 3.1.
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