David Smith recently spent three days hiking in the Scottish Highlands. He took his Apple Watch Series 7 along to see how its battery life fared on long hikes.
Smith, who recently wrote about the battery sipping Coros Apex Pro, a dedicated ‘adventure watch,’ put the Series 7 in Theater and Airplane modes to conserve battery life and hit the trail. The Apple Watch performed better than expected:
The result was surprisingly solid. For a day where I tracked a 16mi hike over the course of 5½ hours, the watch only used around 27% of its battery. This was using the built-in workout app with route recording active. So it uses around 1.7%/mile. On my second day I put it in ‘Power Saving Workout’ mode, which doesn’t record heart rate data as quickly. This used 23% for a 14mi hike, or around 1.6%/mi…which was actually less of a difference that I’d have guessed. So I just left it in regular workout mode from then on.
For comparison the Coros watch I was wearing on my other wrist did the entire 3 days/45miles of the trip using only 20% of its battery (around 0.4%/mile) so still dramatically better.
As Smith concludes, Apple’s investment in improving the brightness of the Series 7’s always-on display has had the nice side effect of making multiple-hour workouts possible without immediately needing to recharge the watch. Also, even if you don’t have an all-day hike planned, Theater and Airplane modes are good to keep in mind when you want to extend the battery life of your Apple Watch.