Practical test: This is how much battery the Apple Watch Series 3 really consumes with LTE and GPS

Apple Watch LTE: the mobile data network can only be activated with an eSIM from Telekom.

Although I've been using Apple computers for almost two decades, I've had no incentive to buy the Apple Watch. Among other things, this was also due to the battery life of only 18 hours specified by Apple. A statement that, in retrospect, I would classify as very cautious. With the Apple Watch Series 3 with built-in LTE module The Smartwatch from Cupertino slowly became interesting for me and I decided to buy this model. My first smartwatch and my first Apple watch!

Update 18.09.2018/4/XNUMX: Apple Watch XNUMX battery life

You can find the technical data of the Apple Watch Series 4 in this post bundled. Nevertheless, after introducing the watch, I would like to say something quickly about it. The new 4-series model of the Apple Watch should also have a battery life of 18 hours. Virtually the same term as the Series 3, which I've had on my wrist for over a year. And shall I tell you something? 18 hours is nonsense, because despite activated mobile communications, my Watch 3 currently only needs approx. 30-40% battery per 24-hour day (yes, I also have the watch on at night). So you can lean back and ignore the battery discussion. People who speak of 18 hours here have no practical experience with the Apple Watch ... [end of update]

LTE battery drain - fears of the specialist media

The "Battery Life" app even shows a capacity of 3 mAh for the capacity of the Series 352 LTE (Photo: M. König).

The "Battery Life" app shows the capacity of the Series 3 LTE 352 mAh (Photo: M. König).

The battery in the Apple Watch is incredibly small. With a whopping 279 mAh and 1,07 watt hours, the smartwatch should survive the day. It was easy for me to believe that after an 18-hour shift it was in the shaft. Through the additional use of the GPS module and the additional power consumption for the LTE module, the battery life should go down dramatically.

My reader M. König has measured the capacity of his LTE Watch Series 3 times with the "Battery Life" app and comes to 352 mAh. The question of why some have 279 mAh and the other 352 mAh is easy to explain: The 38 mm models have a smaller battery and the 42 mm models the larger.

  • Apple Watch Series 3 LTE (38 mm) has 279 mAh x 3,81 V = 1,07 Wh
  • Apple Watch Series 3 LTE (42 mm) has 352 mAh x 3,81 V = 1,34 Wh

Running time of 1 - 2 hours?!?

In the specialist media (podcasts and online newspapers), which even before a test made daring speculations about the Apple Watch LTE, it was not uncommon for 1-2 hours to be used when exercising without an iPhone and listening to music LTE is streaming. Mind you: These were rough estimates of the people in question, some of whom already had a previous model of the Apple Watch. With a running time of 1-2 hours, the watch would be relatively uninteresting even for medium-sized jogging laps and for short hikes, since you can't just hang it on a power bank like an iPhone while you're running.

My test: How much battery does the minute GPS + LTE suck?

Now that I've been wearing my Apple Watch on my arm for a few days and have made the most important settings, I wanted to test how the watch's battery performs when jogging without an iPhone (i.e. without a WiFi connection).

In the settings of the watch, I also deactivated the power-saving mode during training, started Apple Music to stream the music and then installed the Nike + Run Club app on the watch. It should also be noted that I had only charged the watch once since buying it. This means that the internal battery was not yet properly conditioned and could certainly have brought more capacity if it had been discharged a few days in a row and then fully recharged. This is an effect that is also known from other battery-operated devices (iPhone, MacBook, etc.). In short: The battery was definitely not in top shape and I activated everything that put the battery under stress.

Apple Watch LTE: the mobile data network can only be activated with an eSIM from Telekom.

Apple Watch LTE: the mobile data network can only be activated with an eSIM from Telekom (photos: Sir Apfelot).

For the test, I jogged around the site for a good half an hour, streamed Apple music, used the Nike + Run app for tracking and thus kept the GPS and LTE modules permanently in operation. On the way, I often looked at the display, which of course puts additional strain on the battery. The music was played via the AirPods, which were linked directly to the watch.

The results: an amazing amount of power

In order to have tangible values ​​that I could count on, I photographed the time and the battery level of the watch before and after the run. Here are the screenshots:

The Apple Watch before the LTE test: 63% battery charge and still connected to the iPhone, which stayed at home while jogging.

The Apple Watch before the LTE test: 63% battery charge and still connected to the iPhone, which stayed at home while jogging.

 

After the test with intensive GPS and LTE use of about 30 minutes, the battery only lost 13% of its charge.

After the test with intensive GPS and LTE use of about 30 minutes, the battery only lost 13% of its charge.

The results that can be calculated from this are quite exciting and, to be honest, surprised me quite a bit:

  • Duration of the workout: approx. 31 minutes
  • Battery decrease: 13%

This results in the following mathematical derivations:

  • 31 minutes of GPS and LTE usage cost 13% battery
  • 1% battery lasts approx. 143 seconds, which corresponds to approx. 2:20 min: sec
  • 100% battery lasts approx. 243 minutes, which corresponds to approx. 4 hours

Now you will rarely start running with exactly 100% battery and arrive home with 0% battery, but the measurements show that you can jog for a few hours with the Apple Watch while you can stream music from the Internet via AirPods. One hour of LTE and parallel GPS usage "costs" about 25% of the battery.

Conclusion: The watch has enough power

Sure, some will say you can NEVER have enough electricity. That is also true, but at the moment we still have to live with smartwatch models without an integrated fusion reactor. For this reason I prefer a realistic view of the things that are currently available in stores. ;-)

To be honest, the result of the battery test was very surprising to me. I had already expected the worst (battery life of 1-2 hours) because I had previously heard too much speculation from "experts". The fact that Apple's statements about the battery life of their devices are by no means embellished and rather understated is already known from MacBooks and the Apple Watch is no exception.

For example, I only have to charge it every two days, as I only use around 20-30% of the battery per day. Even though I am constantly trying things out or doing little indoor workouts. The device is completely new to me and I am playing around with it a lot. Since I don't have to charge the watch often, I leave it on my arm at night, which also makes it interesting as a sleep tracker. But that's another topic I'd like to cover in another article. ;-)

The conclusion for me is that the Apple Watch with LTE module is in no way a "beta model" or something similar from Apple. The power consumption is of course higher than with an Apple Watch, which does not have to run LTE or GPS in the background, but you also get a lot of luxury: jogging without an iPhone with GPS tracking and music streaming in the background gives you a considerable feeling of Freedom if you are used to always taking the iPhone block with you when jogging.

The Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE is therefore my recommendation for music-listening outdoor athletes whose workouts remain under 4 hours. ;)

Update: Apple Watch with LTE without iPhone

For a reader (hi homie!) I did a little experiment to see how long the Apple Watch LTE lasts if you don't have an iPhone with you and you don't have wifi available. The ulterior motive of the matter is that Homie is considering using the LTE watch as a replacement for the smartphone during the day. That means he wants to be on the go with it and doesn't have an iPhone in his pocket, so the watch is connected to the Internet via LTE at all times.

I deliberately chose a period of time for the test in which I was on the road. I drove my car to go shopping, went to some shops, sent a few messages and briefly started Apple music, as well as changed a few apps on the watch to simulate "normal" use. I had my iPhone with me, but it was off the entire time in airplane mode (WiFi and Bluetooth).

What does the Apple Watch LTE (Series 3) consume if you don't have an iPhone with you and it is constantly using the LTE network? This question is also clarified here in the article.

What does the Apple Watch LTE (Series 3) consume if you don't have an iPhone with you and it is constantly using the LTE network? This question is also clarified here in the article.

For the measurement, the watch was charged to 100% battery at the start and I ran a stopwatch. The Apple Watch LTE only had WLAN from my house for a short time at the start and at the end of the test, but not a single option to use the Internet via Wifi on the way. In addition, everything was included in the rural area from 4 to 0 bars of mobile radio reception, so that there was also a good mix for the test here.

The screenshots show that the watch used approx. 14% of the battery in a time of 1:31 h. If you roughly convert it, you also get 10% per hour and thus a rough value of 10 hours per charge. The value should of course decrease drastically if you actively use the LTE network and stream music or make phone calls, but that might be another test. ;-)

Update 09.11.2017/XNUMX/XNUMX: My current average consumption and my charging time

After a few weeks of use, I wanted to give you the following little information: On a normal day from 7 a.m. to 23 p.m., the Apple Watch consumes about 25% of the battery. I answer a few messages every day with the watch, control the podcast playback via it, check the clock, set timers, read a few messages and do an indoor workout every now and then.

I often have it on during the night, but then switch to theater mode, in which the display is only activated when the crown is pressed. During the night it then needs another 10% battery.

While I shower, the watch hangs on the charging cable and then receives electricity for about 10 minutes. During this time it charges about 10% of the battery. So for 100% it therefore takes a little more than 1,5 hours. If I could manage to charge an Apple Watch Powerbank for another 25 minutes during the day, I wouldn't have to have it completely connected to the charging cable every couple of nights. I'm still working on that. : D

-
 

 

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26 comments

  1. Marcus says:

    I can confirm that. An amazing amount of power in the battery, even if you do a lot with the watch. LTE usage, workouts, music, various messages, checks, Siri. I can easily get by for 2 days without giving up or paying attention to anything.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      It's nice that it's not just me. :) I thought I might have omitted some power-hungry function, but apparently the battery or the watch is simply efficient. : D

  2. Homie says:

    Hi,

    how long does the battery last if Bluetooth, WLAN, GPS and apps are not used. Only LTE should be switched on permanently (without making phone calls).

    How long does the battery last in this case? The iPhone would of course not be within reach all day.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello homie! Thank you for your question. I would do a practical test, but I haven't quite understood why the LTE should be on, but you practically don't use it. And for the test, I would have to lock my Apple Watch so that it cannot see my iPhone, because without that I can get through the day with difficulty. So your wish would be: Have your Apple Watch on your arm, don't use it (except to check the time here and there), lock it out of the WLAN and deactivate Bluetooth on your iPhone. Because only then can the iPhone be nearby and still not be able to establish a connection. Quite a sacrifice to have to spend the day like this. : D

  3. Homie says:

    I want a cell phone replacement on my wrist. that's all. As far as that is possible. The watch should of course still display messages and I would reply to them.

    Is a special request, I know.

    I'll buy the watch anyway so don't feel obliged to test it :)

    But nowhere do I find any information about how long the part lasts when LTE is permanently on in the background and neither iPhone nor WiFi is available. And without GPS mind you.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      I'll give it a try. I have to see if he can be banned from GPS. I will definitely present my results here. : D

      • Homie says:

        How is it looking? Have you been able to test it?

        • Sir Apfelot says:

          Hello homie! I did the test and just expanded the article. In my experience, I have about 15% battery consumption per 1,5 hours if I don't have an iPhone nearby and there is also no access to the WiFi. The GPS cannot be explicitly switched off on the watch, but it was not active during my test either (you can see it in the display). I think the GPS is only activated when you do a training session or use weather apps or something similar that requires geo data. I hope the test will help you a bit with your decision. :) LG! Jens

  4. chris says:

    Hey there!

    I have had my new Series 4 Apple Watch in 4mm with LTE for 44 days.
    Before that, I had the Series 3 in 42mm and LTE.

    I can understand your battery life in the 3 series. I had to reload about every three days.

    The battery lasts a maximum of 4 hours for the 26 series in the same configuration and with the same usage.

    I don't use LTE at all and don't do any extraordinary things.

    Is my watch defective or is there an undetected power hog?

    gruß
    chris

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Chris!

      I don't think the watch is defective. In my experience, the complications can suck a lot of electricity. For example, for a while I had a complication with a weather app (third party provider) that was drawing a lot of electricity. This was so noticeable that the watch only had half the battery life. I suppose, depending on what you're running and how well these complications are programmed, they use more or less "additional" electricity. For a test, you could set a simple watch face and see how the battery consumption behaves. Maybe you have an app like that too.

  5. chris says:

    Hallo,

    Thanks for the fast respond!

    I don't have any third-party complications on the watch face and I also chose a watch face for testing purposes, which is pretty easy.

    As I said, the configurations of my old Series 3 and my current Series 4 are virtually identical.

    I'll put the clock back on again and see if that brings anything.

    gruß
    chris

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Ok, that's really weird. Well ... I sometimes have days when I have the feeling that the watch now ran empty faster than usual, without me doing anything else. But maybe the repositioning will help you! You have safely installed watchOS 5.1.1, right? Such updates at the beginning of a large version often iron out such battery problems. Would my hope be that there is still something going on ...

  6. chris says:

    Yes, of course I installed it right away. I'll do everything again in a moment and then see what happens.

    It can hardly be that this is a step backwards to 1/3 battery life ... :-(

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      No, that shouldn't be the case. Unfortunately, I didn't buy the new watch, otherwise I would have been able to name values ​​from practice. ;-) But "felt" it shouldn't be like that ...

  7. Toni says:

    Thanks for the detailed test of the battery life. If I interpret your test correctly, I have about 4 hours of outdoor activity with a fully charged watch, occasional card use, music, etc. ?!

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Toni! Yes exactly. The key to battery life is whether you have your iPhone with you. If that is the case, most of the power-hungry activities run on the iPhone and the watch is spared. Then you can easily get through the day. Only if the iPhone is not available and the watch has to do music, cards and the like, then the limit should be reached after approx. 4 hours. I also tormented the watch in the test, so the times are likely to be too negative and you have more battery over in case of doubt.

  8. Daniel says:

    Hi all,
    I also bought the 4 44mm Lte ... actually super satisfied, but about the battery, I also have a few questions:

    1. I notice that the first 50 percent (100-49) last significantly longer than the last 49 percent ... is that the same for you?
    2. If I go for a run without an iPhone and do a workout, streaming music via lte, my watch needs about 33-40 percent battery per hour. Seems like a lot to me, how is your experience?
    3. when the watch is in flight mode, it needs 10 percent overnight ... does anyone know why? Not much should happen in flight mode ...
    4. Otherwise with normal use it draws around 2-3 percent of the battery per hour ... do you share the experience?

    Regards
    Daniel

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hi Daniel! I can see what my 42 mm version uses at night. Do you have any sleep monitoring apps running in the background?

  9. Daniel says:

    Hi,
    that would be great, because I would really be interested in whether this is normal or what is going on, because in flight mode consumption should only be minimal. Ne have no other apps in the background ...
    And what I would also be interested in is whether you also notice that the last 30 percent are used up very quickly, in contrast to when the battery is at 100 percent, for example. I mean clearly that LTE always draws the battery well, but what is your everyday experience with LTE?
    By the way, I think it's great what you do. There is always a lot written about battery etc. but practical comparisons and tests are more realistic :-)
    Regards
    Daniel

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hi Daniel! Thank you for the flowers. Yes, I always think that all the big magazines always talk a lot about technical data that you can also read at Apple, but you rarely find such correct statements for practice. Unfortunately, I am no longer up to date with my Series 3, but I like to do a test to see how much battery I lose overnight. And unfortunately I hardly ever use the watch without an iPhone. For this reason, I have little experience of what it uses in LTE mode. The next watch for me will be without an LTE module. I use it far too seldom ...

  10. Max says:

    Hallo,
    is the battery still as strong or has something changed over time with the updates and the aging of the battery
    lg from munich

    ps: really strong article. It is rare on the internet that people really try to help others

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hi Max! Thanks for the praise - I'm very happy! : D In the meantime, my watch has already been replaced twice due to glass damage (luckily I had Apple Care!), So I don't have an "old" battery. But I feel like the battery doesn't age quickly. For me it is usually completely filled in the morning and then discharged far. That's what the batteries like best. But you definitely notice that after a year it is no longer as fresh as it was at the beginning. I think 2-85% performance (felt). I know this is not very scientific, but I hope it helps you. LG, Jens

      • Max says:

        Ok, thanks for the information!
        I'll use it right away and just ask one more question :)
        are Whatsapp's also delivered if the cell phone is not there and the watch is only connected via cellular network?

        Thank you very much
        Max

        • Sir Apfelot says:

          Change of answer 30.03.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX: As Daniel wrote, it works in such a way that the iPhone - no matter where it is - sends a push message to the watch when you receive a new WhatsApp message. Prerequisite: Both devices (iPhone and watch) must be connected to the Internet - there can also be WiFi.

          Old, wrong answer: I just googled that and: Unfortunately no. There is no native Apple Watch app from WhatsApp. This means that the iPhone app can only send you a notification on the watch. But if you don't have the iPhone with you, this won't work. So: No, Whatsapp messages are not delivered to the watch. You could maybe with IFTTT but maybe build an automation and let Whatsapp messages forward to you via iMessage. You have to see if that works! : D

  11. Daniel says:

    Hi everyone, if I can cut something ... as soon as both devices are online, WhatsApp will also be delivered to the Apple Watch. I was also surprised, but with my 4th lte, the push messages can be forwarded even without a separate app.
    Always happy to answer any questions. greetings

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hi Daniel! Thanks for your addition. Ok, then I'll correct what I said in the comment so that future readers won't be confused!

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