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Updating an Apple Watch: A Step-by-Step Guide

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It is important to update your Apple Watch not only to get the latest features but also to get crucial bug fixes and security updates. You’ll be happy to learn that updating an Apple Watch is easy. It just takes a bit of preparation and you may not need to look at your iPhone at all.

Before updating

In all cases, you’ll want to take a few steps before installing an update.

  1. Make sure your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS (Settings> General> Software Update).
  2. Charge your Apple Watch to at least 50%.
  3. Connect your iPhone to WiFi.
  4. Keep your iPhone close to your Apple Watch during the update process.
  5. Give yourself time. The largest updates can take up to an hour.

Update an Apple Watch from an iPhone

Apple Watch update iphone screenshots

Your Apple Watch will normally notify you when a new update is available, and you can tap “Update Tonight” if you are not in a hurry to upgrade. Make sure to charge the watch if you go this route, and you should wake up to a fully updated Apple Watch. I told you it was easy!

If you want an update right away, just follow a few easy steps on your iPhone.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab.
  3. Tap General> Software Update.
  4. If an update is available, the app will give you the option to download and install it. You may need to enter your iPhone or Apple Watch passcodes.
  5. The update starts when a progress wheel appears on your Apple Watch and ends with a restart (it can go to the alarm clock display or a blank screen).

Update directly from an Apple Watch

Apple Watch update

If your Apple Watch is running at least watchOS 6, you can update directly from the device itself when connected to Wi-Fi. The process is just as quick.

  1. Open settings.
  2. Tap General> Software Update.
  3. If a software update is available, tap Install and follow the instructions.
  4. Place the watch on the charger while the update is in progress.
  5. The update starts when a progress wheel appears on the watch screen and ends when the watch restarts (you will see an alarm clock display or a blank screen).

If your Apple Watch is not updating

There may be situations where an available update cannot be installed. Don’t worry if that happens, just follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch is properly connected to the charger.
  2. Restart your Apple Watch (press and hold the side button until you can slide the power off button, then press and hold the side button once the watch turns off).
  3. Restart your iPhone (on iPhone X and later, press and hold the sleep / wake and volume down button until “Slide to Power Off” appears, then press and hold the sleep / wake button to turn it back on).
  4. Try the Apple Watch update again.
  5. If the update still fails, you can try the update again by going to Software Update in the Watch app, deleting the update file and downloading it again.

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