Unboxing an Apple Watch can be a thrilling experience. You can’t even wait to charge the device because you’re so eager to try it. The excitement turns to worry, though, when your iPhone seems to coincidentally lose over 50% of its battery life once it is connected to your Apple Watch.
Apple Watch drains the phone battery if it is not up to date or uses the phone’s network exclusively. Every activity on the Apple Watch that uses the phone’s processor or its network can drain the iPhone battery. Series 3 smartwatch can be specifically susceptible to this.
In this article, you will learn the top five causes of iPhone battery drain via the Apple Watch. Among other things, you’ll also discover how you can ensure that your wristwear doesn’t drain your phone battery. But first, we must look further into what causes the phone battery to die.
Apple Watch drains the iPhone battery only if the watch is too old (Series 3 or less) or uses the iPhone’s network exclusively. Most modern Apple Watches do not drain the iPhone battery even though they use it for notification reception, streaming, and surfing.
To understand why your phone battery seems to be draining rapidly after getting an iPhone, you should consider all possible energy-draining processes and causes.
Why Does the Apple Watch Drain Phone Battery?
Apple Watch drains phone battery by making your phone work harder. However, it isn’t just having the Apple Watch that makes your phone’s processor work more. It is executing specific tasks and running apps that cause this drain. Here are the top five causes of watch-driven phone battery drain.
1. Poor OS Compatibility
If the operating systems on your phone or smartwatch aren’t up-to-date, each task requires slightly more power, and you can be surprised by an 80%+ phone battery drain within 3 to 4 hours. If this happens, update your smartwatch and the iOS on your iPhone. It is also possible that your smartwatch is too old and is creating a task-processing burden on your iPhone.
2. Constant Pairing
When your iPhone and watch are set as companions and paired, having one in a place where the devices have uneven access to each other can result in constant attempts at pairing, which can drain both their batteries.
It is okay to have your phone out of your Apple Watch’s reach and vice-versa. However, having the phone in your bag or a drawer can make it accessible to the watch in episodes resulting in a constant cycle of connecting a disconnecting.
Turning on notifications from your phone when you receive a large volume can drain the phone’s battery as well as your watch’s battery. However, this doesn’t have as much of an impact.
The power your iPhone uses to display a notification on your screen is pretty close to the power it uses to push the same notification to your phone. But if you have constant incoming notifications, you might need to get selective about what gets pushed to your Apple Watch.
When you take calls on a non-cellular Apple Watch, you use your iPhone connectivity to make the call. In doing so, you use both your phone and smartwatch’s battery power, albeit for different functions.
The smartwatch’s battery is used to receive and deliver analog voice, which surprisingly uses less power. It is communicating the signals that draw more energy, and that is the job of the iPhone, which is why it isn’t surprising for the phone’s battery to get drained rapidly.
Whether you receive message notifications or compose messages and read the ones you receive on your Apple Watch, the activity on your watch most likely affects your phone. The only exception to this is the cellular Apple Watch when using the device’s own plan. That’s the only scenario where the communication occurs directly between your Apple Watch and the other party.
From music to voice recordings and audiobooks to podcasts, anything you stream on your iPhone to listen via your Apple Watch puts excessive strain on your iPhone battery.
Playing a song on your iPhone to listen via your smartwatch uses up more battery power than playing the same song on your iPhone speaker. The energy this uses is close to what a phone exhausts when playing a song over a Bluetooth headset.
7. Using iPhone Connection
Finally, anything you do on your Apple Watch while leveraging your iPhone network uses the phone’s battery. The activity that uses the phone’s network most often is internet browsing. Any internet activity that you cannot do when your iPhone is absent is likely using your iPhone battery.
What Happens to the Apple Watch When the Phone Battery Dies?
The Apple Watch continues working with limited functionality when the phone battery dies. An iPhone is essential for setting up the Apple Watch, but once you have an iCloud account set up, the watch doesn’t need the phone for every function. Keeping track of activities, tracking health, etc., doesn’t require the phone.
The cellular Apple Watch remains fully functional when the phone battery dies; for the non-cellular watches or watches without an active cellular plan, the following functions don’t work:
- You can’t make calls – You need a Wi-Fi connection to make calls in the absence of an iPhone connection or a cellular plan.
- You can’t stream content – If you don’t have a network connection or an active iPhone paired with your device, your Apple Watch can’t stream online content.
- You can’t receive notifications – You need Wi-Fi and iCloud sync to get notifications if your iPhone battery is dead.
To prevent Apple Watch from draining iPhone Battery, you must turn off features that put excessive strain on your phone battery. These include pushing all notifications to your smartwatch, connecting to the internet via your phone, and making calls on your smartwatch through your iPhone.
Here are the best practices for preventing phone battery drain while using an Apple Watch.
- Update your iOS and smartwatch – An operating system glitch can make even small tasks burdensome. Making sure your operating system is up to date is always a good idea.
- Use Apple Watch Wi-Fi – Connecting your Apple Watch directly to Wi-Fi helps save your iPhone battery life because it prevents the watch from using your iPhone connectivity.
- Having a cellular plan – If you have an Apple Watch with cellular ability, getting a $10/month plan can keep the watch from using your phone’s network. You can learn more about Apple Watch plans in our other article on the subject.
- Get selective notifications – You can tweak your notification settings to ensure only the most important ones get pushed to your Apple Watch. Doing this helps reduce the battery-use burden.
- Use your iPhone – Ironically, using your iPhone can save its battery because any function that you can directly execute on your phone causes excessive battery strain when done on your phone via the Apple Watch.
If Apple Watch drains your phone battery, you should update the operating system on both devices and ensure that the watch has its own Wi-Fi connection. Minimizing the tasks you execute on your Watch that require the phone’s processor can also help.
Apple Watch Series 3 is the most notorious for causing such battery drain. It could be because of the hardware lag or poor operating system compatibility. Using Wi-Fi with the Apple Watch and using your iCloud sync for most functions can offset this drawback.