How Long Do Apple Watches Last?

Uncover the longevity of Apple Watches – from battery cycles to hardware life. Discover signs for replacement and tips to optimize your smartwatch experience.

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How Long Do Apple Watches Last

How Long Do Apple Watches Last

Apple Watches are popular smartwatches that integrate with the iPhone to enable notifications, tracking fitness and health data, messaging, access to apps and more from your wrist. But with the frequent release of updated models, how long can you expect your Apple Watch to last before needing to be replaced? This article will look at the typical lifespan of Apple Watches.

Apple Watch Generations

Apple has released new models of the Apple Watch nearly annually since its 2015 debut. Key iterations include the Series 1 with a faster dual-core processor; waterproof Series 2 with built-in GPS; Series 3 featuring cellular connectivity; Series 4 with an ECG app, fall detection and slimmer body; the Series 5 introducing an always-on display and compass; Series 6 enhancing health sensors like blood oxygen tracking; durable Explorer models tailored for extreme sports and environments; the more affordable SE line; Series 7 boasting larger, more crack-resistant screens; Series 8 capable of crash detection and temperature sensing for women's health; along with the ruggedized high-end Ultra model for athletes.

Most recently in fall 2023, the Series 9 further improved health tracking abilities by adding a new temperature sensor meant to retroactively detect ovulation cycles, among enhanced durability and battery life especially on cellular networks compared to prior versions.

Battery Life

Apple Watch batteries are designed to retain about 80% of their original capacity after 500 complete charge cycles. Typical battery life is approximately 18 hours with normal usage. However, using features like GPS, LTE connectivity, heart rate monitoring and running intensive apps will reduce battery life between charges.

Lifespan over Time

Over years of use, the battery lifespan slowly decreases meaning the watch won't hold a charge as long. Generally, the battery capacity loss is gradual, but by 3-4 years old an Apple Watch may only last 12-15 hours per charge.

Lifespan of Hardware

The actual hardware of Apple Watches can keep functioning for 3-4 years with normal wear and tear before significant slowdowns occur. Though with light or infrequent usage some can last over 5 years before performance declines substantially. However, updating to the latest supported operating system can sometimes impact speeds if using an older Apple Watch model with dated hardware.

iOS Updates

New iOS updates aim to provide the latest features and better integrate with iPhones. Yet the performance improvements are targeted towards newer Apple Watches, meaning significant lags or battery drain issues arise when updating models over 3 years old.

Updating and Repairing

To improve lifespan, having the battery replaced after 2+ years can help maintain normal runtime between charges. Apple and third party repair shops offer battery replacements, though only with authorized components for Apple services. Software updates can also fix bugs and provide security patches. However at some point Apple discontinues software support for older Series models beyond basic functionality.

When Is It Time to Replace?

Signs it may be time to replace your Apple Watch include unsupported software, extremely lagging performance even after updates, or severe battery lifespan degradation. In such cases upgrading to a newer used/refurbished model or the latest Series via trade-in deals from Apple make sense for improved speed and battery efficiency. The overall lifespan varies by usage, but expect around 3-5 years for most Apple Watch models with average wear and tear.


While new Apple Watches tempt with cutting edge features, even older generation models can remain perfectly usable for 3+ years in many cases. Caring for the battery, utilizing repair options when feasible, and updating software prolong the lifespan while still enjoying core notifications and activity tracking. But ultimately to achieve the smoothest performance and take advantage of new health sensors and capabilities, upgrading every 4-5 years allows Apple Watch users to get the most from their smartwatch.

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