Apple Watch Ultra never really turns off

In the first four versions, the Apple Watch could not always display the time like a regular watch. That was solved with the Apple Watch Series 5, and now there are even Apple Watches that can tell the time even when the power is turned off.

The Apple Watch has traditionally supported three power states before the battery runs out:

  • Apple Watch is fully functional and turned on
  • Apple Watch is turned off and has no functionality
  • Apple Watch has power reserve and can display the time

Power Reserve serves as a dramatic compromise between a full-featured smartwatch and a paperweight on your wrist. Modes between on and off work like a digital clock that requires a button press to display the time.

Originally, Power Reserve was a solution to “My Apple Watch is dead, but at least I know the time.” These days, it’s no longer a common risk for your Apple Watch to fail with almost daily charging.

Last September, the Apple Watch Ultra joined the lineup with longer-lasting battery life than the Energizer Bunny. This is where the power reserve is interesting.

Unlike other models, the Apple Watch Ultra doesn’t display a power reserve option when the watch is turned off. This is probably due to the Apple Watch Ultra’s 36 hours of battery life compared to the Series and SE models’ 18 hours of battery life.

Apple Watch Ultra has two power modes before the battery runs out.

  • Apple Watch is fully functional and turned on
  • Apple Watch has power reserve and can display the time

In fact, it turned out to be a manual power off state, not a power reserve.

This is because even if you manually power off your Apple Watch Ultra, it can still display the time when it’s powered off. As with power reserve mode on all other models, simply press and hold the digital crown for a few seconds.

The only way to completely power off the Apple Watch Ultra is to drain the battery, which takes several days of normal use.

The Apple Watch Ultra isn’t the first Apple device to maintain functionality when powered off. Your iPhone has enough battery to keep Find My on, so if it’s lost and turned off, you can still find it.

It’s not obvious to discover, but the way the Apple Watch Ultra handles being turned off is a huge improvement over just being a watch.

The Apple Watch Ultra, Series 8, and SE (2nd Gen) also have noticeable improvements in how GPS captures your outdoor workouts. Do you know any other lesser-known Apple Watch features? Share your favorites, new or old, in the comments!

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