Apple Watch improves iPhone battery for some, ruins it for others

Contrary to popular belief, the Apple Watch has a pretty remarkable battery, a notion driven home by even the toughest of critics and reviewers. Now that first shipments have arrived into the hands of consumers, and people have spent a day or two with their device, reports are coming in that the wearable device is in some cases dramatically draining the battery of an iPhone it’s paired to.

But the impact will all depend on how much you use your iPhone, and how much you use your Apple Watch. For instance, if you use your iPhone almost as much as you did before you got the Watch, and it’s working in the background when you use your Watch, its battery is going to drain faster.

Ryan Block, former editor of Engadget, noticed his iPhone battery was “abnormally low” after he started using the Apple Watch, and discovered the Watch app had used up more than 30% of his iPhone’s battery after almost nine hours of usage.

Lots of Watch owners on the MacRumors forums have noticed a similar impact.

“I can literally watch my percentage drop,” writes DexterBell. “I’ve never had my 6 plus drop to 3% by bedtime, it’s usually 40-50%. Bluetooth is a battery killer.”

SimsDaniel adds, “For the first time since I bought my iPhone 6 Plus, I had to plug it in before days end and today is probably the least I have used it since launch. While reviewing my battery usage, apparently fetching emails from your phone to your Watch KILLS the battery.”

Interesting enough, as the screenshot below that Block tweeted out attests, the culprit could be the iPhone’s Apple Watch companion app.
I’m sure you’ll agree that such a huge battery drain seems abnormal for what should be a paired device that just sends quick bursts of data.

At any rate, his finding was echoed by John Byrne, who suggested that force-quitting the app seemed to help alleviate the issue at least a little bit.

To do so, double-press the iPhone’s Home button to bring up the task switcher and flick the Apple Watch companion app out of view.
A discussion thread on MacRumors’ forums provides similarly mixed results. One MacRumors poster noted that checking email on their Apple Watch resulted in a significant battery drain on the iPhone.

Hopefully, Apple will address this in a future iOS/Apple Watch OS firmware update. Moreover, Apple said that native Watch apps will be allowed later this year. These apps will supposedly run on the device itself, meaning the Watch and phone shouldn’t need to talk to each other quite so much, thus saving battery.

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