Apple Watch's new Low Power Mode explained

We explain how Apple’s battery-saving feature works
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One of the new features that caught our eye at the Apple Watch launch was the new 'Low Power Mode'.

Reporting live from the 'Far Out' event in Cupertino, Wareable got the chance to get more detail from Apple and find out exactly how the feature will work and which Apple Watch models can actually take advantage of it.

Below, we'll also be detailing exactly which features will be sacrificed to give you more juice.

Which Apple Watch models can use Low Power Mode?

Landing on watchOS 9, Low Power Mode is available on Apple Watch Series 4 models and newer.

Doing so will unlock a total of 36 hours of battery life - that's up from the quoted 18 hours.

How to enable Apple Watch Low Power Mode

1. First, make sure your Apple Watch is running watchOS 9

2. Go to the battery meter icon in the Settings dock and toggle Low Power Mode on

3. Low Power Mode will stay on until you turn it off manually or charge the Apple Watch past 80%

Low Power Mode: What features do you lose?

Apple Watch's new Low Power Mode explained

The feature will be available on Series 4 devices and later

There are plenty of sacrifices needed to enable Low Power Mode. The most notable is that the feature will turn off the always-on display - if it’s available on your Apple Watch model to begin with, of course.

Cellular and Wi-Fi will also be turned off unless there’s demand from a specific application – in which case it will be temporarily fired back up, so it doesn’t hobble your apps.

The Apple Watch will no longer show notifications, either, but it will check in every hour and do a single fetch and get you back up to date.

These are all semi-expected, but here is the real kicker. Heart rate is turned off, so you won’t get any tracking into Apple Health – and, needless to say, that affects blood oxygen, too.

However, you will still close your rings, and activity tracking is unaffected.

If you start a workout, this will be tracked in full. And, in addition, Apple has revamped low-power workouts, which will sacrifice heart rate tracking, so you can go longer – or cram in a workout when your Watch is low on juice.

In an update that will launch later this year, Apple will also launch more power-saving options, which will reduce heart rate sampling and GPS ping frequency to extend tracking.

Apple Watch Low Power Mode: Analysis

The battery life of the Apple Watch has been a serious sticking point for many – so it’s great that Apple can now offer substantial extra hours to users, including those with older devices.

However, the effect on the Apple Watch experience is substantial, and it’s certainly not a mode that users could live with daily.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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