Apple will repair faulty Apple Watch batteries free of charge
Apple released the watchOS version 7.3.1 update yesterday. It intends to fix a bug affecting, what Apple claims to be, "a very small number" of Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch SE devices. Affected devices reportedly do not charge after they enter Power Reserve Mode. Apple is offering free mail-in repair for eligible devices facing the problem.
The watchOS update only prevents other devices from being affected
The watchOS 7.3.1 update won't fix the issue on affected devices, but will prevent it from surfacing on other devices. If your watch doesn't charge even after 30 minutes, you can avail of Apple's free mail-in repair program announced on Monday. The company's support documentation says it will verify the watch's eligibility for the program before performing repairs.
Power Reserve Mode disables watch-device communication and activity tracking features
An Apple Watch enters Power Reserve Mode if the battery level drops below 10 percent. In this mode, activity tracking features are disabled and the device just tells you the time beside a low battery indication. The company's support page describing the issue and remedial measures doesn't say if the cause of the problem is hardware or software related.
Updating watchOS is a highly recommended preventive measure
To update your watchOS to the latest version using an iPhone, open the Watch app and navigate to My Watch > General > Software Update. To install updates directly on your watch, open the Settings app on your watch and navigate to General > Software Update > Install. We recommend visiting Apple's guide for prerequisites, troubleshooting, and instructions detailing the process.
Not Apple's first time offering free repair for battery issues
Worryingly, it seems to have become a recurring trend with Apple to offer free repair programs to pacify disgruntled owners of products facing battery issues. Earlier this month, a similar free service program was announced for 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros which wouldn't charge past one percent.