Broken Apple Watch Ultra? We've got some bad news

Teardown reveals fragile water seal and a huge battery

Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Apple)

Four exposed screwheads on the case of the new Apple Watch Ultra might have you reaching for the toolkit in a bid to see what’s inside. But you really, really shouldn’t do that.

This is the guidance from iFixit, which took apart Apple’s new smartwatch in a teardown video to see what’s inside, and how easy the components are to fix or replace.

What they found was, those four exposed screws are mostly decorative. Because, according to iFixit, once you take those screws out and remove the ceramic rear case of the Apple Watch Ultra, a glue-like gasket contributing to its 150-metre waterproofing credentials is broken.

Furthermore, it found that parts like the battery and Taptic Engine, which provides the watch with its haptic feedback, required the removal of the display first.

Speaking of the battery, iFixit found the Ultra’s battery is much larger than that of the equally new Watch Series 8. The regular watch’s is 308 mAh, while the Ultra’s battery measures in at 542 mAh, a full 76 percent larger. This is of course required to power the Ultra’s larger screen and extra features, but also helps it last significantly longer battery life, of up to 36 hours compared to 18 for the Series 8.

None of this is particularly surprising, but the apparent lack of repairability for the Watch Ultra is disappointing.

Apple had recently made some improvements in this area, especially by selling replacement parts and repair tools directly to customers. But it’s a shame that the Watch Ultra, with its exposed screwheads inviting curious owners in, can seemingly not be repaired so easily.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.