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watchOS 8.5 may have broken fast charging on the Apple Watch Series 7

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Users report slow charging speeds after updating

The screen is 20 percent larger on the Apple Watch Series 7
The Series 7 was the first Apple Watch to get fast charging.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

While the Apple Watch Series 7 didn’t come with longer battery life, it did offer faster charging — at least, it did until last week. Some users are now complaining the feature no longer works after updating to watchOS 8.5, according to a 9to5Mac report.

Fast charging is exclusive to the Series 7. With it, Apple says the Watch’s battery can go from 0 to 80 percent in roughly 45 minutes. However, Series 7 owners on Reddit, Apple’s support forums, and MacRumorsforum are saying their Watches are now charging at a snail’s pace. A couple of Reddit users claimed that the Watch would only charge roughly 5 percent in 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, a user on Apple’s forum claimed the Watch only charged 5 percent in an hour. For context, Apple says an Apple Watch SE can get to 80 percent in 1.5 hours.

Initially, it appeared that the issue may have only been affecting those using Belkin’s 3-in-1 BoostCharge Pro. However, some have since claimed the problem also extends to Apple’s own fast-charging puck. The Verge reached out to Apple and Belkin for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

That said, while 9to5Mac says it has been able to confirm the issue, The Verge was not able to replicate the problem using a 41mm Series 7 with a fast-charging puck and 20W Apple charging brick.

The Contour watch face is exclusive to the Series 7.
Apple says the Series 7 can charge 33 percent faster than previous models.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Battery life remains one of the Apple Watch’s main “hurdles.” Ever since the first iteration of the Watch, Apple’s stuck to its estimate of 18 hours on a single charge. (In practice, you may get a bit longer, though you still have to charge daily.) Fast charging was meant to take the sting out of strategically planning when to charge your Watch, especially for those who may want to use it for sleep tracking.

While convenient, fast charging on the Series 7 requires users to jump through some hoops. The Series 7 ships with a compatible fast-charging puck, but you have to supply your own USB-C brick. That brick also has to meet Apple’s specifications (which you can see here). While older Apple Watch chargers will work with the Series 7, you won’t get faster charging speeds. Furthermore, if you’re using a third-party charger, it likely doesn’t support fast charging. Currently, there are only two third-party Apple Watch chargers that support the feature — and both are from Belkin.

Hopefully, a fix will arrive soon. In the meantime, you might want to factor in a little extra charging time.