How to update your Apple Watch

A guide to downloading and installing the latest watchOS software

An Apple Watch update is your ticket to a better smartwatch experience, with rollouts letting you download the latest and greatest software straight to your wrist.

Much like downloading the latest update to your iPhone, though, the Apple Watch requires you to meet a few parameters before you're allowed to port it over. And, like with any bit of kit, sometimes there are problems with the Apple Watch not updating or getting stuck during the process.

Read this: Apple Watch tips and tricks

Below, we'll take you through the basics of how to check for an Apple Watch update, how to force one and give you a couple of troubleshooting tips for if you're having, well, trouble.

How to get the latest Apple Watch update

Things to check

  • iPhone is running the latest version of iOS. To check, head to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Apple Watch is sitting on the charger and is at least 50% charged.
  • iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.
  • iPhone and Apple Watch are in close proximity to each other.

Force the Apple Watch update

In truth, you shouldn't really need to look too hard to kickstart an Apple Watch update. When a new one is available, your device will notify you, and from there you'll be able to select 'Tap Update Tonight' within the notification – again, similar to your iPhone. If both of your devices are on charge, the update will take place automatically.

Read next: What's changed in watchOS 5

However, if you don't mind doing it during the day and instead want to download the update manually, follow the steps below.

  • Open up the Watch app on the iPhone, then tap the My Watch tab.
  • Tap through to General > Software update.
  • Enter your passcode (if you have one) and download the update.
  • Wait for the progress wheel to pop up on your Apple Watch.
  • Keep the Apple Watch on the charger until the update is finished. This could take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the update and your internet speed, so make sure to be patient.

Apple Watch won't update? Try these tips

How to update Apple Watch

As we mentioned up top, sometimes the Apple Watch simply won't play ball. And while you should generally obey Apple's warnings regarding the restart of your iPhone or Apple Watch, sometimes your device will be stuck for hours in the same spot clearly in need of rescuing. If the update won't download, or it's having trouble porting over to the Apple Watch, try the following:

  • Restart your Apple Watch by holding the side button until the see Power Off appears. To turn it on again, press and hold the side button.
  • Restart your paired iPhone. Hold the Sleep/Wake button until the red slider appears, then drag it. To turn your iPhone on again, reverse the step.
  • From there, try to start the update again.
  • If it doesn't work, open the Watch app on the iPhone, head over to General > Usage > Software Update and then delete the update file. Then, try to download and install the latest version of watchOS again.

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