Apple Watch Ultra battery drains rapidly after watchOS 9.6 update
Apple is a month away from announcing the successor to the Apple Watch Ultra. As we anticipate the release, it looks like Apple didn’t optimize the latest update properly on the Apple Watch Ultra.
Several Apple Watch Ultra users complain of severe battery drain issues after updating watchOS 9.6. watchOS 9.6 fixes bugs within the UI. However, it seems to have brought more problems for Apple Watch Ultra users.
The update didn’t add anything notable to the feature set. The previous watchOS 9.5 version added nothing but brought the Pride Watch Face to watchOS back in May. It goes together with the rainbow watch straps.
watchOS 9.5 supposedly brought some security patches and bug fixes that Apple didn’t disclose. There’s no proper changelog. It’s the same with watchOS 9.6, with a list of essential security patches. This update brings a Neural Engine update which fixes a problem where some apps can arbitrarily execute code with kernel privileges.
It also fixes an issue with Find My, where some apps could access sensitive location information without permission. There are some kernel fixes as well. There was a problem in which those with malicious intent could cause system termination and kernel corruption. Most problems were solved by addressing some memory handling issues and buffer issues.
We couldn’t cover every single security fix. If you’re interested, this link will take you to the list of all the critical security patches with watchOS 9.6.
Unfortunately, according to many reports online, the Apple Watch Ultra isn’t lasting the usual 2 or 3 days anymore. People report that it lasts only about a day and a half now, with the watch dropping to around 65% in 8 hours.
The battery health is at 99%, and this figure is good enough to the point where it shouldn’t affect battery life. This isn’t an issue with just older units. People recently bought the Apple Watch Ultra have the same battery drain issues.
We can’t determine the scale of this issue, but it appears widespread enough, considering the number of reports, and people are understandably frustrated at these issues on a flagship smartwatch.
Apple Diagnostics couldn’t identify the issues either, and it doesn’t even last a day anymore for some users. This is concerning and serious; we hope Apple addresses the battery drain problems in the next security patch.
Since the security updates changed memory management and kernels, there’s a chance it’s causing these issues. People also report that they didn’t change any settings.
People tried several methods like repairing the watch, resetting it to factory settings, basic restart, and more. However, none of them bore fruit, and the issues continue, so it’s most definitely an issue with this particular version.
If the security updates aren’t important to you and the battery is stable on your current version, we don’t recommend updating to watchOS 9.6. It doesn’t bring anything new regarding features, so you’re not missing out on anything.
The only known fix for this issue at the moment is to update to the watchOS 10 Beta, and you have to sign up for the Apple developer program. Note that it’s not possible to downgrade after upgrading an Apple Watch, and there’s a chance Apple may fix these issues with the next patch. We don’t recommend this workaround unless you are familiar with using Beta software. Beta software brings many