How to charge an Apple Watch, and how long it takes to fully charge

Charge your Apple Watch with its magnetic charging cable or purchase a magnetic charging dock.

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Charge your Apple Watch with its magnetic charging cable or purchase a magnetic charging dock.
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Abigail Abesamis/Business Insider

  • Apple Watch is charged using a magnetic charging cable that comes with the watch.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase a magnetic charging dock for $79.
  • To charge, touch the back of the Apple Watch to the concave side of the charging puck and place it on a flat, well-ventilated surface.
  • Apple estimates that it takes around one and a half hours to charge an Apple Watch to 80% battery and about two hours for a full charge.

As a piece of tech that’s meant to be worn for most of the day, you’ll want to keep your Apple Watch charged – especially if you’re looking to meet your activity goals for the day and have the satisfaction of closing your colored rings.

The charging process is straightforward, and while you can choose to charge your Apple Watch every night, I’ve found that with moderate use (tracking workouts, checking notifications, etc.) I only need to charge my Apple Watch (Series 3) every two to three days.

Here’s how to charge an Apple Watch:

First, set up your charger.

The Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable should have its concave side (the opposite side of what's pictured here) facing the back of the watch.

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The Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable should have its concave side (the opposite side of what’s pictured here) facing the back of the watch.
source
Abigail Abesamis/Business Insider

  1. Place the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable (included with the Apple Watch) concave side facing up.

The watch can also be charged on the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock ($79). The charging dock employs the same inductive charging connector as the charging cable, and allows you to charge the watch in a flat position or turned on its side. As an added advantage, when charging your watch on the dock it goes into Nightstand mode and can be used as an alarm clock.

  1. Plug charging cable or dock into a power adapter, and plug the power adapter into a power outlet. In its user guide for the device, Apple recommends setting up the charger in a well-ventilated area.

Next, charge your Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable attached to the author's Apple Watch.

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The Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable attached to the author’s Apple Watch.
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Abigail Abesamis/Business Insider

  1. Take the charging circle and touch the concave end to the back of your Apple Watch. A magnet aligns the two parts automatically and holds them together.

The watch will make a chiming noise that indicates it is charging – unless it’s in silent mode. You’ll also see a lightning bolt (the charging symbol) in the top left corner. It’s typically green, however a red symbol indicates your watch needs power.

A very low battery is indicated by a red lightning bolt, and you may even need to push the side button to view the watch face at all. More troubleshooting tips can be found on the Apple website.

Several ways to see how much battery you have left

A low battery symbol from an added battery complication shows on the face of the Apple Watch.

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A low battery symbol from an added battery complication shows on the face of the Apple Watch.
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Abigail Abesamis/Business Insider

  1. Unlock your Apple Watch and swipe up from the bottom to see the remaining battery percentage. Clicking on the percentage allows you to activate the watch’s Power Reserve mode, which turns off all features except for the time. Apple Watch will prompt you to activate Power Reserve at 10% battery, and enters Power Reserve automatically when very low in charge.
  2. Adding a battery complication to the watch face allows you to view the battery percentage as easily as viewing the time.

How long it takes to charge an Apple Watch

According to Apple‘s product testing, Apple Watch Series 3 and 4 take around one and a half hours to charge from zero to 80%, and about two hours to charge from zero to 100%, using the Magnetic Charging Cable – though charge times can vary “with environmental factors.”