16 Ways To Improve Battery Life on WearOS Smartwatches


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WearOS smartwatches are growing in popularity and some of the best selling on the market.  One of the biggest advantages is the broad selection of third-party apps you can use. WearOS is also the only smartwatch operating system that integrates with Google’s own apps such as Google Maps, Google Keep, and integration with Google Fit. The main downside of the WearOS operating system is its lackluster battery life.

As the proud owner of a WearOS smartwatch, then you probably also know how inconvenient it can be when your battery life starts to dwindle. It might seem like there’s nothing that can be done about this issue, but luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of many ways to help improve the battery life on your smartwatch!

Check out these tips and tricks below and see if one or more work for your situation.

How To Extend Battery Life on Wear OS Smartwatches

Change the Battery Mode

A quick way to save battery is to change the battery mode to battery saver. This will disable vibration, stop your watch from sending you notifications, and reduce a lot of background activity.

To activate different battery modes:

  • Swipe down from the top of your home screen.
  • Tap ‘Battery modes’ and select the relevant mode.

Some manufacturers have added other battery modes to WearOS watches.

For example, Fossil smartwatches have: Daily, Extended, Time-Only, and Custom modes. Their custom mode gives you much more control over which features and sensors it uses.

The ‘Time Only’ mode is common in several smartwatches that run a Snapdragon processor. This will turn off most of the smart features so that it functions more like a traditional wristwatch, useful if you are low on battery but still want to know the time.

It’s worth checking the different modes for your manufacturer.

Turn Off  Always-On Display

Your display will account for the vast majority of power consumption on your watch so the next few battery saver tips will focus on this.

Firstly, if your watch supports an always-on display, this will be using a lot of power so turn that off.

To do this:

  • Head to the settings menu.
  • Select ‘Display’.
  • Use the toggle to turn off ‘Always-On display’.

Turn Gestures Off

With your always-on display turned off, you’ll need to tilt your wrist or touch your watch to wake it up. However, you can further reduce battery consumption by turning these two features off too.

To do this:

  • Head to the settings menu.
  • Select ‘Gestures’.
  • Toggle both ‘Tilt-to-wake’ and ‘Touch-to-wake’ to off.

With tilt-to-wake and touch-to-wake turned off, you’ll need to press a button on your watch to turn the display on. This can be frustrating at times, especially if you have your hands full, however, the payoff in terms of improved battery life is huge.

 Reduce ‘Screen Timeout’ Seconds

Now that you’ve minimized how frequently your screen turns on, the next battery-saving tip is to minimize your screen timeout so that it’s on for as little time as possible.

Screen timeout is how long the screen stays on after you’ve pressed a button.

To change this:

  • Go to the settings menu
  • Select ‘Display’
  • Choose ‘Screen timeout’
  • Select the lowest number from the list

Typically around 5 seconds is the lowest timeout. This isn’t a native WearOS feature so you won’t find it on all WearOS smartwatches although some manufacturers have added it.

Use Cinema Mode

This is a good hack to temporarily turn off your screen so that it doesn’t light up even if you receive a notification, move your wrist, or tap your screen. It’s useful for preserving battery life when your watch is almost out of juice.

To enable this:

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal quick settings.
  • Tap ‘Cinema mode’ to enable it.

To disable cinema mode you should press the power button or repeatedly tap the screen if your watch doesn’t have a power button.

Lower Your Screen Brightness

Our final battery-saving tip related to the screen is to lower the brightness. Brightness is usually between 1-5 with 3 set as the default. Lowering this will improve your battery life, although could make it harder to see your watch face in brighter conditions.

To do this:

  • Go to the settings menu.
  • Select ‘Display’.
  • Choose ‘Adjust brightness’ to select from different options.

Some newer WearOS watches will have an ambient light sensor so you will have the option of ‘Automatic’ that will adjust based on the brightness of your environment.

Turn Off Wi-Fi

The next few tips center around the sensors and network connections that are active on your watch. These will vary from watch to watch depending upon the specs.

The simplest connectivity to disable with minimal impact to your experience is Wi-Fi.

To do this:

  • Head to the settings menu.
  • Select ‘Connectivity’.
  • Use the Wi-Fi toggle to turn it off.

With Wi-Fi turned off, your watch won’t connect directly to a Wi-Fi network, however, it will still use the internet from your phone. If you are staying tethered to your phone, then you won’t have any negative impacts.

However, if you leave your phone behind, you may need to toggle this back on to access most smart features.

Turn Off Bluetooth

The next tip is to turn off Bluetooth. However, this will impact your experience as your watch will lose its ability to connect to your phone.

The extent of the impact will depend on how many offline features your watch has such as onboard music storage.

One way to have a nice balance between battery life and functionality here is to have your Bluetooth connection turn off at night. Some watches have a feature for this such as Fossil, Michael Kors, and Skagen.

To access this feature:

  • Swipe down from the home screen.
  • Select ‘Battery modes’.
  • Choose ‘Custom profile’.
  • Select ‘Bluetooth schedule’ to toggle it on and change the times.

For WearOS watches that don’t have this feature, there is a nice workaround using Tasker and Bubble Cloud which is explained in this YouTube video.

Turn Off Location

Most new WearOS smartwatches have GPS built-in. This is great for tracking your workouts as oftentimes you won’t have your phone.

However, for the rest of the day, you’ll typically have both a watch and a phone so you can safely turn off location features on the watch to conserve battery life without any negative impacts.

To do this:

  • Open the settings menu
  • Choose ‘Connectivity’
  • Use the ‘Location’ toggle to turn it off

Note: if you’re turning off location for privacy, remember to turn it off on both your watch and your phone separately.

Turn Off Mobile and Roaming Data

This tip will only apply to a handful of WearOS smartwatches that allow a cellular connection such as the TicWatch LTE and Oppo Watch LTE.

Whilst having the cellular connection can be very useful for using the watch tether-free, if you have your smartwatch nearby, it’s not needed.

To do this on a supported watch:

  • Go to the settings menu.
  • Select ‘Connectivity’.
  • Select ‘Mobile’
  • Use the toggles to turn off ‘Mobile’ and ‘Roaming data’.

Use Airplane Mode

A quick way to turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and any cellular connections all in one is to use airplane mode which acts just like airplane mode on your smartphone.

To use this:

  • Go to the settings menu.
  • Select ‘Connectivity’.
  • Look for ‘Airplane Mode’ and toggle it on/off.

Update WearOS Firmware

Now that you’ve removed unnecessary network connectivity, the next set of tips focus on background processing that your watch may be doing as this can also affect battery life.

First and foremost, ensure you have the latest firmware installed on your watch. Google is often tweaking and updating the software to improve battery life.

Generally, updates will install automatically but here’s how to check manually:

  • Go to the settings menu
  • Select ‘System’
  • Choose ‘About’
  • Choose ‘System Updates’
  • If there’s an update available it will be displayed here

Use a Simple Watch Face

With so many exciting watch faces, you might be tempted by the more complex ones. However, try to avoid any that have animations or interactive abilities as these will consume a lot more power.

Disable ‘OK Google’

If your watch has a built-in microphone, you’ll be able to use this to access the Google Assistant and issue voice commands. To make life easier, the watch will always be listening for you to say ‘OK Google’ which triggers a command.

You can reduce battery consumption by stopping this ‘Ok Google’ detection.

To turn this off:

  • Go to the settings menu.
  • Select ‘Personalization’.
  • Toggle ‘OK Google Detection’ to off.

You’ll still be able to issue voice commands using your watch, however, you’ll need to press and hold the crown dial.

Disable Notifications

Your WearOS watch will light up and vibrate every time you receive a notification which can impact the battery life, especially if you’re a member of some busy Whatsapp groups or have your work email address connected.

One option here is to completely disable all notifications, to do this you’ll need to turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode as follows:

  • Swipe down from the watch home screen.
  • Tap ‘Do not disturb’ to toggle it on.

However, if certain apps are more of a culprit, you can disable notifications by app.

For this one you’ll need to get your phone out:

  • Open the WearOS app on your phone.
  • Ensure the correct WearOS device is selected.
  • At the bottom of the screen, select ‘Noficiations’.
  • Choose ‘Change watch notifications’.
  • Now you can toggle each app on or off.

Uninstall Apps

Our final tip is to minimize the number of third-party apps that you have installed and remove any that you no longer use.

The abundance of third-party apps is one of the key selling points of the WearOS smartwatch operating system. However, it’s easy to get carried away with so many exciting features to add. When setting up your watch, you may have automatically synced all of the apps from your phone but often these will go unused.

To see a list of apps and uninstall those you don’t want:

  • Go to the Play Store on your watch.
  • Swipe down from the top of the screen.
  • Tap ‘My Apps’ to reveal a list of those installed.
  • To remove an app, tap on it and scroll to ‘Uninstall’.

This list will only display third-party apps that you’ve installed. However, you may also want to remove pre-installed apps such as those from Google or the manufacturer. One culprit that often uses a lot of power is Google Fit.

To see and remove pre-installed apps:

  • Go to the settings menu
  • Select ‘Apps & Notifications’
  • Choose ‘System Apps’
  • Choose to disable any apps you don’t need

Conclusion

Although WearOS is renowned for its poor battery life, hopefully, these tips will help you improve it without damaging your experience too much. Some devices such as the TicWatch Pro 3 can achieve up to 5 days or more when set up correctly but your usage will also make a difference.

If you are considering opting for a new smartwatch, we recommend you check out our list of the best smartwatches for battery-life which includes one watch with unlimited battery life.