How can watchOS 3 be so much faster than v2?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by otozuz, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. otozuz macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2010
    Maybe it's a silly question, but how can the new OS launch apps 7 times faster than the OS of one year ago?

    These kinds of improvements usually occur with a new hardware, but 7 times faster only with software is... just wow.

    Ok, maybe they keep your favorite apps in the background so they're always available immediately, but how can't this drain the battery?

    It's pretty clear that Apple practically said that they did wrong things in watchOS 1 and 2, so do you think that's about it? Bad software?
  2. spriter macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2004
    I'm sure they have a newer build than the beta but I'm not seeing this speed increase unless you've already loaded the app. So, basically holding it in memory and switching back rather than genuine first launch speed. And that has limitations due to RAM and battery.

    Fortunately I don't use many third party apps as they just load as before. The only change being their icon shows with a swirl around it instead of the grey dots.

    Random testing results:

    Violet (reddit) - 12 seconds
    Messages - instant (held in dock)
    Weather - instant (held in dock)
    Instagram - 7 seconds
    Music - 6 seconds
    Photos - 2 seconds
    Phone - 2 seconds (held in dock)
    Reminders - 6 seconds
    Calcbot - 5 seconds
    Calendar - instant (held in dock)
    BBC news - 12 seconds
    Twitter - 12 seconds
    Breathe - 5 seconds

    As you can see speed comes from retaining apps in RAM rather than unlocking some hidden horsepower.

    Best practice then is to choose your frequent apps and keep them in the dock. Still testing the effect on battery - especially third party apps that stream updates like Twitter and News apps.
  3. teidon macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2009
    And this is exactly what Apple promised, and nothing more. You have a bunch of "favorite apps" that are always kept in memory and they will resume execution within 2 seconds. You can have up to 16 favorite apps: Modular face has 5 slots for complications and the Dock holds up to 11 apps.

    Apps that are in the background uses zero cpu cycles and maintaining information in RAM adds zero drain to battery, so there is no added battery drain. What does drain battery is the way how these favorite apps are refreshed in the background. Every favorite app is guaranteed to refresh at least once every 30mins (in reality might be more often). So if you have all 16 favorite apps... that's quite a lot of background activity through out the day. The good thing is that you should never see older than 30min old information in your complications or in the Dock.
  4. OrionsByte macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2015
    Apps in the dock get updated once an hour, but it can be a little more often if you have fewer than 10 apps docked. There's no way to force docked apps to update more frequently in the background, but when you are using the dock and "settle" on an app, it becomes live again (though not interactive until you actually open it) and can do whatever it needs to do to update at that time (and then reschedule it's next update in an hour).

    Apps with complications can be updated 50 times per day, which is roughly once every half hour, BUT developers can set their own schedules for when to use those 50 updates, and they don't have to be evenly distributed. So for example a sports app with a complication can schedule updates to occur only during your favorite teams' games and therefore update much more frequently at those times.

    As far as battery life is concerned, it might be noticeable, but won't be drastic, because the amount of time you spend actually using the watch (instead of just glancing at it) will probably go down, since you don't have to stare at the watch for 5-10 seconds at a time just to get the info you wanted. Apple basically shifted the resources from the foreground (where you are looking at the watch and interacting with it) to the background (so the information is already available when you go to look at it). The battery savings in screen time alone should cancel out the extra work of background updates.
  5. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Remember the third-party apps still need to be updated to work fully with watchOS 3 so there's not likely to be much benefit with them just yet.
  6. maflynn, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That's the thing. Based on what I read on the iMore article. Its really more of a caching scheme. The first time you load the app, it won't be any faster, the second time, it will remain in memory longer so it will pop back instantly.

    I think that trick is a tad dishonest by apple, sure in some (many?) circumstances it may be faster, but its not that its loading apps faster, but rather its app switching (because they're already loaded),
  7. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2015
    This should get even better as developers have a chance to update their code. Third party apps is another thing if they don't have a native app. I played around with the dock and which apps to keep in the dock and whatever I used the last two days caused my battery to drop about 15% when wearing at night versus the normal 7-9%.

    I don't know if I read anything about Apple allowing more frequent updates than around 30 minutes? Baseball scores comes to mind - can it update dynamically without a push from the iphone every 30 minutes? Can the watch update as frequently as each score is noted?

    It's a true statement to say it is a tad dishonest - it loads faster because it never really loads after the first time. I do like it and it makes the watch a better experience.
  8. Skylined69 macrumors regular


    May 14, 2012
    Glasgow, UK
    Gotta say I've not seen a drastic drain on battery with this on watchOS 3 an I think it'll get better as more developers make their apps native to the watch as Apple has decreed. Reason I don't think we've seen more is most dev's were waiting to see what OS3 could do before working on new versions to run natively.
  9. Creek0512 macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2012
    It's not dishonest, that's how Apple said it works in the keynote. And it does make things faster.
  10. spriter macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2004

    I understand how the background caching and refreshing works and is beneficial in terms of reducing wait time (and by extension interaction and battery) but feel they're sending two messages; one for devs - that apps resume; and one for consumers - that apps flat out launch quicker which, unless it'sone of ten, is not true:


    Don't get me wrong, I like the change but is about resuming not launching. Miscommunication at best and deception at worst.
  11. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    That's a reference to the all-new Dock, as the honeycomb dock (which is still present) isn't any more easier to access in wOS 3. You're exaggerating on miscommunication and deception.
  12. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    The average consumer doesn't know what caching is and can't tell the difference between launching and resuming. They don't care.

    All they care about is that they'll be spending less time waiting to do what's important to them. And since that is true, there's no real deception going on.

    Of course, in absolute terms, things are being over-simplified, but that's necessary given the audience. If you flood average consumers with all the excruciating details, you're actually being unhelpful.
  13. Xenden, Jun 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

    Xenden macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2013
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Is it really dishonest though. Any app takes a moment to load when it is opened the first time. Subsequent uses should run faster. In this case the apps are in the cache, but for mac apps for example, the app runs in the background through other resources, but it still is using some kind of resource; be it background CPU or ram or whatever.

    Apple said many times that "your favorite apps," "your most used apps" will run faster. Honestly, after the first boot up of each app, the apps run faster. I do think that is all that matters.
  14. Creek0512 macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2012
    This is why I never understand the people who don't think Apple will release a new Apple Watch this Fall. It will have been 2 years since its introduction. The S1 is built on a 28nm process, the power and efficiency gains of moving to a 14nm FinFET process should be huge regardless of whatever other architecture improvements Apple comes up with, making all of these trade offs of the Gen 1 moot.
  15. oftheheavens macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    cherry point
    I don't know exactly how they did it but I am amazed at the speed of os3. I basically stopped using my watch for anything other then a time piece for the last year due to the slowness of even apple apps. Since the beta I use it for so much more including using it with Siri because Siri is working flawlessly now for me when before she was darn near worthless. People above have posted very educated responses to why the speed has improved
  16. rockyromero macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2015
    How is Siri so much better now?

  17. SMIDG3T Suspended


    Apr 29, 2012
    Seriously, what is the point in seeing what performance is like running a beta?
  18. oftheheavens macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    cherry point
    I dunno ask the coders
  19. Xenden macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2013
    Rio Rancho, NM
    It will give an idea of what you can possibly expect. if it works real well, you should be able to assume that the release candidate will act the same way.

    If there is some kind of poor performance, A) you can report it to Apple, and B) expectations can be lowered that maybe a new feature may not be the bees knees.
  20. windywalks macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2004
    Me experience with Siri on watchOS 3 has been frustrating thus far. It's like it's first iteration on the iPhone 4s but on Xanax. It takes long to respond both when summoned by pressing the crown and uttering Hey Siri.
  21. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    exactly. I was pretty disappointed at first b.c on stage they lead people to believe all apps load that fast. Sure they load faster, but the real speed comes after you have already opened an app.

    I would say apps load around 2X as fast initially.
  22. oftheheavens macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    cherry point
    have you tried hard restarting it? I had problems the first day or so but it was like my watch and phone were both performing back ground duties until it smoothed out after that first day or two.
  23. rockyromero macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2015
    So nothing has improved in using Siri?

  24. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    Siri is way faster to respond. I swear on OS 2 I would have to wait nearly 10 seconds or more for siri to react to my questions. With OS 3 it is a similar experience to using siri on your phone.

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