Apple Suggests Restoring iPhone and Apple Watch to Fix Excess Battery Drain or Missing GPS Data

Shortly after the release of iOS 14 and watchOS 7, many users ran into problems with their iPhone and Apple Watch.

watchOS7 hands on feature2
Multiple online support threads including our own found GPS data was not being properly recorded during activities. The issue appeared to affect all models of Apple Watches.

In the majority of cases, users record a workout on their watch while leaving their iPhone at home, but when they later look at the Activity app it only shows the workout's starting point on the GPS map, and nothing else.

In addition, some users have been reporting excess battery drain of their Apple Watch, ‌iPhone‌ or both under iOS 14 and watchOS 7. In the support threads, the unofficial fix seemed to be unpairing and restoring your Apple Watch. Jack Taylor from our forums reported resolving both issues with this method:

Both the GPS and severe battery drain issues on watchOS 7 were fixed for me simply by in-pairing and re-pairing my watch. Both issues resolved themselves immediately after as noted in many of the support groups

It appears that Apple has adopted this advice as the official solution to this problem. In a newly published support document titled If you're missing Workout GPS routes or Health data after updating to iOS 14 and watchOS 7, Apple writes that users may see the following issues after upgrading to iOS 14 and watchOS 7:

Possible Symptoms

  • Your workout route maps are missing in the Fitness app on ‌iPhone‌ for previous GPS-enabled workouts from your Apple Watch.
  • The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
  • The Fitness app or Health app fail to launch or load data on your ‌iPhone‌.
  • The Health app or Fitness app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your ‌iPhone‌.
  • The Activity app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your Apple Watch.
  • Your environmental sound levels data or headphone audio levels data from Apple Watch is missing in the Health app on ‌iPhone‌.
  • Increased battery drain on your ‌iPhone‌ or Apple Watch.

If you are experiencing two or more of these symptoms, Apple suggests unpairing your Apple Watch, backing up both your ‌iPhone‌ and Apple Watch, wiping both devices and restoring from backup. Apple provides steps to accomplish these tasks in their support document which was published today.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forums: Apple Watch, iOS 14

Top Rated Comments

WolfSnap Avatar
14 months ago
That sounds reasonable and convenient...
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacBird Avatar
14 months ago
It just works.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjpv Avatar
14 months ago
WTF! This is such a non-Apple type of recommendation. Smells like feedback coming from MS back in the days.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BigMcGuire Avatar
14 months ago
This is horrible. Most people won't know how to do this or read Macrumors to find out to do this. They'll just notice the excessive battery drain and be unhappy about it. :/ Makes one wonder if an update wouldn't fix this because they put the time into suggesting people unpair/pair.

I've done this several times with my AW3 and AW5 and it does seem to help when I've had problems in the past.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jeffgtx Avatar
14 months ago
I did this.

to be clear my issue was missing health data. My watch and activity app and even the rings summary in the health app would say a number of active cals, but the health app active cals would be about 1/3rd. Other data like steps and stuff would show similar patterns. Also heart rate data would not make it to the workout section in the activity app despite being in the watch end if without summation.

It fixed the issue moving forward but I lost all the missing health data between the iOS upgrade and this procedure... 1.5 weeks worth.

additionally, I lost my Apple Watch restore point. It simply wasn’t there despite unpairing properly. This might have been the main contributor to losing the data in between.

and since the watch backup was gone I had to set up the watch as a new one.

And then of course you have to go re-pair all your things and re login to all the apps that aren’t saved as part of the iCloud backup.
You have to set up Apple Pay and Face ID again.

and then you lose the apps that aren’t in the App Store anymore.

etc...

not a great user experience on that one. So decide long and hard how important this issue is before going down this path. That’s all.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving Avatar
14 months ago
We need a new update. Perhaps iOS 14.2
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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