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The Pixel Watch desperately needs an automatic bedtime mode
Google’s claimed 24 hours of battery life on the Pixel Watch hasn’t been easy to achieve for everyone, but if you want to raise your odds of hitting this full-day mark, you have to enable bedtime mode when you go to sleep.
Bedtime mode turns off the always-on display and disables notifications (only allowing alarms and priority/repeat callers to vibrate or ring your watch) while still tracking your sleep. The reduced disturbances are essential when you’re trying to rest, but they also have the positive side effect of using less battery.
Bedtime mode reduces the battery used at night by half, without affecting sleep tracking.
On average, a full night’s sleep can drain 30-40% from the Pixel Watch’s battery without bedtime mode enabled. If you turn it on, this number is halved to 15-20%. The difference is what makes it possible to stretch the Pixel Watch’s battery life on one charge to reach the coveted 24 hours.
The problem with bedtime mode, though, is that it’s a manual setting. Every night, you have to remember to enable it, or else the battery on your watch will drop much faster — and your sleep might be interrupted by some useless notification. I know this all too well because in the month that I’ve been using the Pixel Watch, I’ve made this mistake a couple of nights. Waking up to a drained watch and having to rethink my charging schedule is not ideal.
Manually enabling bedtime mode is counter-intuitive on an activity tracker that's supposed to know when I'm sleeping.
What’s nonsensical is that I have to tap a button to tell my smartwatch I’m sleeping, the same smartwatch that’s supposed to know when I’m awake and when I’m sleeping.
It’s also absurd that the watch’s bedtime mode is completely separate from bedtime mode on Android phones — the one you can enable in Digital Wellbeing and in the default Clock app. In an ecosystem, two products from the same family are supposed to talk to each other but, right now, the Pixel Watch doesn’t know when my Pixel is in bedtime mode. And vice versa.
An automatic bedtime mode would help fix this. A simple user-chosen start and end time setting would be the most basic solution, but I’m sure Google and Fitbit, in all their AI and metrics wisdom, can figure out a smarter way to implement it.
Maybe they could show a notification before bedtime mode is set to start and let you snooze it if you’re still awake and active. Or they could wait until the Fitbit sensors detect that you’re really sleeping within the preset timeframe and only enable bedtime mode then. Or they could use multiple factors like your activity and whether your phone is in bedtime mode to trigger it on the watch too. And when Fitbit knows you’re awake in the morning, it can disable bedtime mode on both watch and phone — or ask you if it should.
Do you want an automatic bedtime mode on the Pixel Watch?
I hope Google implements this in one of those promised quarterly Feature Drop updates, and the sooner the better. Anyone using the Pixel Watch as both a smartwatch and a health tracker needs their watch to be able to make it through the whole day and the entire night; this is a relatively simple way to help achieve that.