Four tips for improving battery life on the Apple Watch

The battery life on the Apple Watch will last you about a day. Here's you can squeeze some extra juice out of it.

Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Dan Graziano
3 min read

Watch this: Improve Apple Watch battery life in four easy steps

The battery on the Apple Watch will last you about a day under normal circumstances. With heavy usage, however, it can take quite a hit. Sure disabling the heart-rate sensor, reducing notifications and turning off wrist detection would improve it, but let's not forget that this is a smartwatch and we want to take advantage of all of the Apple Watch's cool features.

I've come up with four tips that I found could help improve battery life without sacrificing any of the Apple Watch's functionality. Here's what you need to know:

Choose the right watch face

The dancing Mickey Mouse watch face may look cool, but it's actually doing more harm than good. Animated watches faces can actually reduce battery life. You're better off using one of the more basic ones. The Apple Watch also uses an OLED screen, meaning watch faces with more black than colors will use less energy.

To choose a new watch face, perform a hard long press (also known as a Force Touch), on the screen and select a new face. I personally prefer the modular one.

Lower the brightness

Just like on your smartphone, having the brightness all the way up on the Apple Watch will drain the battery quicker. The easiest way to change the brightness is to open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap Brightness and Text Size, and slide the brightness bar down to the halfway point or even lower. This can also be done directly on the Watch by pressing the Digital Crown, going to Settings, and selecting Brightness and Text Size.

Reduce motion and transparency

There are a variety of animations sprinkled throughout the Apple Watch's interface. Similar to on an iPhone and iPad, the motion of these animations can be limited. This will put less of a strain on the graphics processor, which in turn could improve battery life. To do this, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, select General, followed by Accessibility. Here you will find the option to reduce the motion and while you're at it, you should also reduce transparency.

Turn on Grayscale mode

The vibrant colors on the Apple Watch look great, but they aren't doing anything to help the battery. It takes energy to render these bright colors, and one way to conserve battery is to enable Grayscale mode. When I am in a pinch, I prefer the longer battery to the vibrant colors. Not everyone will agree with this, but I recommend testing it out for yourself. This setting is also important for people who have trouble perceiving color differences.

To enable Grayscale mode, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap General, followed by Accessibility, and toggle the Grayscale switch from off to on.

Bonus: Power Reserve Mode

The Apple Watch includes a special Power Reserve Mode that will automatically turn on when the battery drops below 10 percent (unless you cancel it). You can also turn it on manually by pressing and holding the Apple Watch's side power button. I rarely use this mode, though. The Power Reserve setting takes all of the smart out of the smartwatch. With this mode enabled you can no longer run apps or communicate using the watch, all you can do is see the time, which isn't really worth it in my opinion.

The Apple Watch is a complicated device. To learn how to do everything from setting it up to swapping the bands, be sure to check out CNET's complete guide to using the Apple Watch, and don't forget to read our full review .