A smartwatch isn’t able to completely replace your smartphone, but it does let you do many useful things all of which ultimately can help you keep the phone in your pocket for longer periods of time without missing out on anything important.
The biggest problem with smartwatches is their limited battery life. Yet another device added to the increasing list of things that need to be recharged several times a week. In fact, these wearables can normally go for 24 hours between charges or even more if you use them sparingly.
However, if there’s something we all want from all our rechargeable devices is to charge them less often. And if you happen to own an Android Wear watch, there are a few simple things you can do to increase its battery life.
All these battery-boosting adjustments are found in the Settings menu of your watch. You can either tap on the watch face and swipe up until you get to it or say “OK Google” then “Settings”.
A very bright screen is a heavy battery consumer on smartphones and the same applies for watches. You can open up the “adjust brightness” option and set it at the lowest level you’re comfortable with. In direct sunlight or inside a well lit space, the screen may not be too easy to read if you set a low brightness, in which case you can temporarily use the “Brightness boost” option. And if your watch offers an Auto-brightness setting, it’s usually best to use that instead.
Don’t keep your screen always on
Keeping the “Ambient screen” or “Always-on” options enabled, ensures you can always read the time on your watch with no need to tap the screen. Without them, the display of your watch will be blank while you’re not actively using it so it won’t look as cool.
However, these are some significantly battery draining features and you might want to make a compromise and turn them off so your watch can last several hours longer.
Remove nonessential app notifications
Besides fitness and activity tracking, I find notifications to be one of the most important capabilities of a smartwatch. Nevertheless, I’m sure no one needs notifications from all their installed apps and getting too many too often can be both annoying and battery draining.
Simply open the Android Wear app on your phone and block notifications from those apps you don’t need regular updates. You might think this is useful only for games and those apps you use only occasionally, but many choose to disable alerts from social apps as well as they find them very distracting.
If you already had just a few apps set to send notifications to your watch to begin with, this particular method won’t be of help. However, it will significantly expand battery life if you had tons of them and/or removed at least some of the ones that were sending updates frequently.
Disable tilting time-out
The Android Wear app offers a nice feature called “Tilt to wake screen”. It turns on the display of your watch every time you tilt it. Emphasis on ‘every time’. Including when you’re casually moving with no intention to actually look at the screen.
It’s probably better to have the “Always-on” option disabled and keep “Tilt to wake screen” turned on than the other way around, but even the latter feature can drain the battery faster. Consider disabling tilt as well, and simply tap the screen whenever you need to look at or use your watch.
And a few more settings…
Your Android Wear watch offers several ways to receive notifications. Priority Mode is the one that ensures you get whitelisted alerts only, so you’ll be updated on what’s important and not bothered by everything else. And it can also help your watch last longer between charges. Alternatively you can enjoy some quiet time and just turn off all notifications – this can also be helpful when you’re not close to a power source and wouldn’t want your watch to fully discharge before you can get to one.
Theater mode is another setting that can help battery-wise. It’s not one of those features you could keep turned on permanently as it was designed for those kinds of situations and events where you don’t want to light up your screen at all (think movies and presentations). In theater mode the display remains dark until you disable the option. But don’t hesitate to use it when you know you won’t be looking at the screen for a while.
There’s also the Airplane mode alternative and truth be told I’m not a fan of it, but it’s still a good option when you only want your watch to behave like a watch and there’s little battery left for other shenanigans.
How long does your Android Wear’s battery last and what other methods have you found to extend its battery life? Share your feedback in the comments section below or send us a message on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.