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5 tips to help you get better battery life from your Pixel Watch 2

The Pixel Watch 2 improves on the original iteration's battery life, but that doesn't mean you can't eke out more juice. Here are five tips to help ensure your watch makes it through the day and beyond.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

My biggest issue with the original Pixel Watch was the battery life. I was lucky to squeeze out 24 hours from a full charge -- and that was after taking steps to improve the length between periods of having to place it on its little white circle.

When I upgraded to the Pixel Watch 2, I found that, out of the box, after about 24 hours post-charge, I still had roughly 40-45% of my battery remaining. That's not bad. In fact, with the Pixel Watch 2, I regularly get 30-plus hours from a full charge.

Also: The best smartwatches you can buy: Expert tested

But there's always room for improvement. And on the rare occasions I either forget to charge my watch or am nowhere near my charger, I need to take steps to extend the length between charges.

Fortunately, there are ways to extend your battery life. So, strap on that watch, and let's start configuring.

One thing to consider before diving into these tips is that you should install the Pixel Watch app from the Google Play Store. Once installed, make sure to connect your watch to your phone. You should have already done this when you first set up the device. And remember, the app is called Watch on your App Drawer.

1. Disable Always-On Screen

This is one feature I always keep enabled. I work from home, so my charger is always nearby. I also depend on viewing my watch face in the morning, so I know it's time to get up (because I don't use alarms). However, the Always-On Screen feature does drain the battery of your watch. With this feature disabled, you only have to raise your wrist or tap the watch face to view the display.

AlsoApple Watch Series 9: Top 4 features that warrant the upgrade from Series 8

To disable Always-On Screen, open the Watch app and go to Display & Gestures. From that page, tap the On/Off slider for Always-On Screen and make sure that either Tilt-To Wake or Touch-To Wake is enabled. You should also note that Tilt-To Wake uses more battery than Touch-To Wake.

2. Shorten the screen timeout

How long do you need to take to view the time on your watch? Ten, 15, or 30 seconds? Those three options are the timeouts that are available on the Pixel Watch 2. If you can tilt your wrist and check the time in 10 seconds, I highly recommend you go with that option. If you're constantly checking the time, those saved seconds can make a difference to battery life.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic v. Watch 5 Pro: Which smartwatch is best for you?

The screen timeout is configured in the same window as the Always-On Display. Just tap the 10-second option and you're done.

3. Lessen the vibration intensity

On the watch Settings app (which you can access by swiping down on the watch face and tapping the gear icon), tap Vibration. On the resulting page scroll down until you see Ring Vibration, Notification Vibration, and Alarm Vibration. You'll notice each of those settings has a -/+ slider. Move the slider toward the left to lessen the intensity of the vibrations, which will help extend your battery life a tiny bit. On that same page, you can disable both Touch and Crown feedback haptics to improve battery life even more.

4. Disable Adaptive Brightness

The Adaptive Brightness feature increases or decreases the brightness of the watch display, based on the surroundings. You can disable this feature to extend your battery life, but you will then need to manually adjust the brightness of the display as needed. To disable Adaptive Brightness, swipe down on the watch face and tap the brightness icon (small circle with radiating lines). On the resulting page, tap the On/Off slider for Adaptive Brightness until it's in the Off position. It's on this same page that you can adjust the brightness of the display. Remember, a less-bright display will use less battery.

5. Disable GPS

You can get a significant battery-savings bump by turning off GPS. If you're a runner or do other outdoor activities, and you like to keep track of those sessions, you'll have to remember to turn the GPS back on when needed. I tend to keep this feature on, but when my battery gets low and on the rare occasion I'm not near my charger, I will turn the GPS off. To do so, open the Pixel Watch settings and then tap Location. On the next page, scroll down until you see the Use Location entry. Tap the On/Off slider until it's in the Off position. Once you've done that, back out of settings and you're done.

Voilà! You've just given your Pixel Watch 2 (or the original Pixel Watch) a much-needed bump of battery life. You can play around with these settings to see what combination gives you the best results. You might even find that your watch can go almost two days between charges.

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