iPhone, Apple Watch Battery Life: A mixed bag of experiences

Posted on by Mike Evans

Last week I was writing about batteries in connection with our long-term review car, the Nissan Leaf. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the 85-mile range of that car could be stretched to even 200 miles? Overnight the Leaf and its electric companions would become viable for most people. Rechargeable batteries, though, are an integral part of our daily existence.

Battery technology is often the bane of our lives now that we have come to rely so much on rechargeables in all our gadgets, from cars to watches. Every year I buy a new iPhone (I have to review the latest model, after all) and ten months later I notice the battery life shrinking almost by the day. The iPhone 6 Plus has by far the best battery life of any phone I've owned since the old Nokia days. Whereas the 5 and earlier models were running out of power by the end of the day, the 6 Plus retained at least 50 percent of its charge on most days when I returned home. Now, after nine months I am often seeing the red bar and worrying.

Part of this, I am sure, is the advent of the Apple Watch. This new and rather wonderful toy is firmly tied to mummy's apron strings. Without a nearby iPhone it has few tricks to offer. And that nearby iPhone must be running Bluetooth at all times. Previously I have been circumspect with Bluetooth, switching it on only when needed. Now, however, it has to be on permanently. Even the Nissan Leaf needs to pair with the phone and it is a fiddle to have to remember to switch on Bluetooth before getting in the car. I suspect it is Bluetooth that is responsible for running down my battery more rapidly in the past couple of months.

The Apple Watch, though, is something of a paragon when it comes to battery life.

After last year's announcement that the watch would need charging every day, dire warnings were issued. Every day? Whatever next? In reality, I am used to charging a phone every day (or night, I should say) because I like the routine. Gadgets such as the Amazon Kindle, with their battery life of several weeks, are dangerous because it is easy to forget to charge. They always run out when you are least expecting it. 

Contrary to expectations, the Apple Watch is relatively frugal and, if I were to let it, I think it would last two days rather than one. Every night as I put it to bed I find around 65% of charge remaining. This is a big difference from the gloomy warnings and is a credit to Apple. Perhaps, though, I am not using the Watch as much as most people even though it does everything I ask of it. It's a useful addition to my mobile arsenal and I find myself pulling out the phone far less than a did.

When the Leaf can do 200 miles, our little gadgets will last a week. Roll on the day, although we'll have to set a reminder to charge them. 


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