What’s the difference between Apple Watch Series 5 and 6?

It’s been a good few years since Apple released the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch Series 6, but there’s just something about these two models that has kept them so popular all these years later.

Apple introduced their Series 6 watch in September 2020 to replace the previous year’s Apple Watch Series 5. Although both of these models have now been discontinued, you’ll find them at many third-party resellers as secondhand smartwatch devices.

If you’re looking for an affordable secondhand Apple Watch, then chances are the Series 5 and Series 6 are your two main options. To help you decide, we’ll compare Apple Watch 5 and 6 models to settle the Apple Watch 5 vs 6 debate once and for all.

Keep reading to find out the difference between Apple Watch 5 and 6 to see which model you should choose!

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If you’re hoping for a massive design difference between apple watch 5 and 6, then unfortunately you’re out of luck, as the two models share an almost identical design. What sets the two models apart are the materials used and the colour options available.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is available in aluminium, stainless steel, or titanium, while the Series 5 Apple Watch is available in aluminium, stainless steel, titanium or ceramic. Models made from aluminium will use Ion-X strengthened glass, while models made from the other materials will boast a sapphire crystal screen.

The Apple Watch Series 5 colours include Silver, Space Gray and Gold for aluminium models, Silver, Graphite, and Gold for stainless steel models, and Titanium and Space Black for titanium models. For ceramic Apple Watch Series 5 models, there is also a unique ceramic white colour option to choose from.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is available in all the colours the Series 5 offers, with the exception of the ceramic white. However, you can get the aluminium Series 6 in an additional two colours: Blue and (PRODUCT)RED.


When you compare Apple Watch Series 5 and 6, there are very few improvements to the processors.

The Apple Watch Series 5 offers a 64-bit S5 dual-core processor, while the Series 6 has a 64-bit S6 dual-core processor. The S6 processor is said to be up to 20 percent faster than the previous S5 processor while not decreasing the battery life.

But don’t be fooled by the Series 6’s S6 processor speeds, as the Series 5’s S5 processor still delivers incredibly fast performance. In fact, the S5 is up to two times faster than the Series 3 and has even included the chip within the new Apple Watch SE series.

So unless you need the fastest possible app launch speeds, the Apple Watch 5 will be efficient enough for your needs.


Both the Series 5 Apple Watch and the Series 6 come with a Retina LTPO OLED display, however, there are a couple of key differences to note. The display on the Apple Watch 5 vs 6 doesn’t quite compete, as it lacks a few newer features that the Apple Watch 6 can offer.

You’ll find that the Series 6 model has an always-on display that also claims to be tow-and-a-half times brighter outdoors than that of the Apple Watch Series 5.

The maximum brightness of both displays is 1,000 nits, and so technically both models have the exact same max brightness, but Apple claims that thanks to the always-on display, the Apple Watch Series 6 will look considerably brighter outdoors and during day-to-day use at a glance.

If you’re desperate for an always-on display, then the Series 6 seems to come out on top, but if you don’t mind raising your wrist to wake your display then the Series 5 will be more than adequate for your needs.


Wondering which Apple Watch model has the best battery life? Both models claim to have an all-day battery life of around 18 hours, however, the Series 6 seems to come up on top when it comes to charging speeds.

The Apple Watch Series 6 can complete a full charge in under one and a half hours, compared to the Series 5 Apple Watch’s two-and-a-half-hour charge time. Plus, the Series 6 has improved battery life for tracking certain workouts like indoor and outdoor runs.


Let’s face it, the features are arguably the most important aspect of any Apple Watch model, so it’s worth noting what features each model has.

The Series 6 Apple Watch has one extra advanced feature when compared to the Series 5 Apple Watch: blood oxygen monitoring. This feature measures the oxygen saturation in your blood to try and get a better understanding of your overall fitness and well-being.

The blood oxygen monitoring feature can determine bloody oxygen saturation between 70 and 100 percent, and can take on-demand measurements along with periodic background measurements.

Other than the blood oxygen monitoring feature, the Series 5 and Series 6 models share the same features. Both models can take ECGs, have an optical heart sensor to monitor heart rate, and can perform emergency SOS, fall detection and noise monitoring.

If blood oxygen monitoring is a priority for you, then the Apple Watch Series 6 is your best choice. Alternatively, if you can live without the extra advanced feature, the Apple Watch Series 5 is perfectly capable of keeping your health in check.

Final thoughts

If you want the most up-to-date wearable out of the two models, then the Apple Watch Series 6 is the device to choose, however this model will cost more since it’s newer.

The Apple Watch Series 6 has fairly minor improvements when compared to the Series 5 Apple Watch, but when combining all the updates together, the upgrade to the Series 6 is well worth it.

If you’re not too concerned about faster charging, an always-on display or the advanced blood oxygen monitoring the Series 6 offers, then the Series 5 model might be worth your while.

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