All through the house, not a creature was stirring... especially Samsung smartwatches: Batteries empty at 3AM

Firmware update fingered for draining power as folks sleep

Samsung Gear smartwatch owners are complaining the batteries in their strap-on gizmos are mysteriously and rapidly draining overnight – and it's only just started happening.

Multiple Gear Sport owners have taken to the manufacturer's support forums to voice their frustration over a problem that appears to be related to an October firmware update issued in the past few days. According to owners, once the update is installed, the watch functions as normal up until 3AM, when the battery starts rapidly draining to zero per cent full.

A Register reader tipped us off to the baffling bug on Thursday, adding:

There is a major issue with Samsung watches – all types apparently – which seems to have started this week. Essentially, they massively drain their battery while the wearer is asleep, and only then. Samsung are completely ignoring it.

"My gear sport watch, which is around 6 months old, had started to battery drain every night. It happens at around 3am," complained one netizen on Sammy's support boards. "The battery percentage is around 70 per cent when I go to bed (10-11pm) I know the time accurately because the sleep record and HR record switch off."

"It was around 95 per cent before I went to bed," griped another, "when I woke this morning, it is flat and the Gear is off."

Samsung did not respond to a request for an explanation from The Register. However, we're told that if you get through to the South Korean giant's customer service reps, you're advised to disable the "report diagnostic and usage info" option underneath the Settings >> Gear info menu to prevent the battery draining.

It isn't unheard of for firmware updates to eat into a device's battery life, particularly in the first few days after an update. Apple, for example, has long dealt with this issue with new iterations of iOS. This is likely the case with Samsung watches.

It may also have something to do with the corresponding Samsung app on the phone paired with the smartwatch. "Me and my wife have the same S8+. I got the Oct update she did not," one punter noted today. "If I connect my Gear S3 to her phone, the battery of my Gear S3 is fine. If I connect it to my phone, the battery drains in, like, seven hours from 100 to 15 per cent."

Are you a Samsung Gear owner who has seen your battery performance plummet in recent days? If so, get in touch with El Reg to share your story. ®

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