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.

applewatchbuiltinapps

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.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

LordQ Avatar
58 months ago
YES! I am getting three full days of battery after this update.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pdaholic Avatar
58 months ago
Finally, a positive article regarding Apple's recent releases!

And to think it's about the watch...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
58 months ago
Luckily my workouts aren't long enough to drop the battery much on my Series 0, lol.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Casiotone Avatar
58 months ago
Finally, a positive article regarding Apple's recent releases!

And to think it's about the watch...
I'm all for constructive criticism, but it would be nice if people gave more credit for what Apple improves.

While it still had bugs (including an activation bug yet again), iOS 10.0.x seemed like a very stable release compared to 7.0.x, 8.0.x and 9.0.x.

Of course, none of the usual Apple commentators who spent months bashing Apple for it's "declining quality in software" gave credit to Apple for improving the overall quality in iOS 10.0.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
profets Avatar
58 months ago
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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dormammu Avatar
58 months ago
I can easily go two full days on a charge.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
parallels windows 10 arm mac

Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:00 am PDT by
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared ...
iphone 13 pro render rear

iPhone 13 Pro Rumored to Be Thicker and Feature Larger Rear Camera System

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Tech blog 91Mobiles has obtained 3D renders of what it claims will be the iPhone 13 Pro, revealing a largely familiar design with a few notable changes, including a smaller notch and a significantly larger rear camera system. Following renders of the standard iPhone 13 model from MySmartPrice yesterday, which showed a new diagonal rear camera layout, these renders of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...