How to Fix a Gear S3 Battery Drain

Troubleshooting this widespread Samsung smartwatch issue

One of the best parts about having a smartwatch is all the functionality it can bring you, but that can be hard on the watch battery. Many things could cause a Galaxy Gear S3 battery to drain. Most of these are easy to locate and turn off.

Cause of Gear S3 Battery Drain

Any number of issues can cause a Gear S3 to lose battery, and the first thing you'll want to check is battery usage in your phone's Galaxy Wearable App. Open the app on your phone, then tap Battery. In the bottom section labeled Usage since last full charge, you'll see a breakdown of what apps and services use the most battery. That will give you a good idea of where to start.

Four of Samsung's latest Gear smartwatches
Samsung

How to Fix Gear S3 Battery Drain

Any combination of these steps can increase the battery life. These are the easiest and most likely fixes to try, in order. Your mileage may vary, so feel free to skip some, if they don't suit your lifestyle.

  1. Reboot the watch. There's a slim chance that the watch is overworked, and a simple reboot will fix it. Hold the Power button until the options screen appears. Then, tap Power Off. Once it's off, hold the Power button to turn it back on.

  2. Close recent apps. Like your phone, your watch holds recent apps in memory. Press the apps button, then rotate the bezel to select Recent apps. Tap Close all.

  3. Reduce screen brightness. Powering pixels takes a toll on battery life. Reducing the screen brightness to three should make it visible in most situations, but not overpowering. On your watch, go to Settings > Display.

  4. Change the Gear S3 watch face. The coolest thing about smartwatches can sometimes be the biggest culprit. Watch faces can pull a lot of information, like weather, location, and step counting, causing the watch to work hard. Additionally, when the face has more black space, fewer pixels need to be lit.

  5. Turn off the always-on display feature. The always-on display shows the watch face, even when you're not looking at it. Go to Settings > Watch Faces > Watch always on to turn off this feature.

  6. Turn off the wake-up gesture. The wake-up gesture turns the screen on when you lift your arm. It's handy, but it can also work against you, turning the screen on when you're not looking at it. Go to Settings > Advanced > Wake-up gesture to adjust this feature.

  7. Change the weather update frequency. You can adjust how often the watch asks for weather information. Open the Wearable app on your phone, tap Apps, tap the gear next to Weather, then set the auto-refresh to your desired interval. Every six hours is a good option.

  8. Minimize notifications. Limiting the number of apps that send notifications to the watch can help the battery. To do so, open the Wearable app on your phone, then tap Notifications > Manage notifications.

  9. Turn off S-Voice listening. S-Voice is the assistant built into the Gear S3. By default, S-Voice listens for the activation phrase all the time. To turn that off, go to your apps and choose S Voice. Tap the ellipsis (the three dots), then tap Voice wake-up.

  10. Turn off heart rate detection. Samsung Health is fairly aggressive in measuring your heart rate. It measures your heart rate continuously, every ten minutes, or never. Even when limited to every ten minutes, this takes a toll on battery life. Press the apps button and tap Samsung Health > Heart > Auto HR settings.

  11. Turn off location services. The GPS in your watch can drain the battery quickly, depending on how often the watch requests your location. Go to Settings > Connections > Location. Tap the toggle switch to turn off location services or choose to use GPS, Wi-Fi, or both.

  12. Turn off Near Field Communication. Also known as NFC, the watch often uses this wireless transfer protocol for mobile payments. If you don't use mobile payments, you can probably turn this off.

  13. Turn off Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi on your watch is mostly useful for maintaining a connection with your phone when you leave it on your desk and walk away. Without Wi-Fi, the watch relies on Bluetooth to stay connected to the phone.

  14. Disable automatic updates. While automatic updates are recommended to stay current with the latest software, checks can cause unnecessary battery drain. It's also easy to check for Galaxy Watch updates manually.