In my last installment, I talked about un-pairing my Apple Watch Series 5 and setting it up as new to see if it would have a positive impact on battery life. It improved a small, but noticeable amount after I installed the watchOS 6.1 Beta, but that was just enough to get me comfortably to the end of the day with a bit to spare. I was hoping to squeeze a bit more by following this common tip.
Unfortunately, setting up my Watch as new did not produce any noticeable results. I’m not saying that it isn’t worth trying if you are having battery life trouble with your Series 5. However, it isn’t a cure-all and in my case, it really wasn’t worth it.
Because I didn’t see any improvement in my battery life, I ended up un-pairing again and going back to my previous backup. When you set up as new, you lose all of your existing Watch Faces, and I had a few I preferred to rotate though, depending on what I’m doing. I could have re-created them all, but I held off to see if there was any benefit to setting up as new first. Since there wasn’t, that was enough reason to go back to restoring from a backup.
I have also loaded the watchOS 6.1 Beta 4 since my restore, but it also hasn’t improved battery life in any noticeable way. Like I said above, it is what it is at this point. I am getting a full day of use with my Series 5 no matter how active I am at work or at home, so that’s fine. I just have to be sure to charge every night, because there isn’t a lot left in the tank the next morning if I do.
As I have said in earlier articles, I do love the Apple Watch Series 5’s always-on screen. I am willing to trade a bit of battery lift for it, so I am ok with the way things are. If Apple comes through with further optimizations that improve battery life, so much the better.
In the meantime, there is a middle-ground feature that I would love to see from Apple in the meantime. I use the always-on screen enough that I have no desire to turn it off unless my battery has bottomed out. That said, it would be nice to have some options beyond having to hunt through Settings to disable Always-On. I use this feature a lot during the work day, but I would have no issue giving it up in the late evening and at night to reclaim a bit of battery. A schedule of operation for Always-On would take the onus of setup and management off of the user and make the battery benefits automatic.
Another recommendation would be for Apple to add a shortcut for Always-On Screen to the watchOS Control Center. Having the toggle within easy reach at all times, rather than having to go three taps deep in the OS would at least make manual management easier. Either one of these additions would help those who want a little more battery life get it without completely giving up on using Always-On.