How to update your Apple Watch: Get the latest version of watchOS 5

A guide to downloading and installing the latest watchOS software

An Apple Watch update is your ticket to a better smartwatch experience – and each major watchOS update brings new features. But Apple regularly releases smaller updates that fix bugs and add things like new complications and watch faces - but how do you go about installing new Apple Watch software?

The Apple Watch requires you to meet a few conditions before you're allowed to install a watchOS update. 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.

What is the current version of the Apple Watch software?

The Apple Watch is currently running version 5.1.3, which was released on 22 January 2019. This release only added minor bug fixes, but followed the major 5.1.2 update in December that added the Apple Watch ECG app, new Infograph complications, and animations for goal completion. And watchOS 5.2 has also just gone into beta, with early rumours suggesting it could sport new watch faces.

How to get the latest Apple Watch update

How to update your Apple Watch

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.

How to 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 your 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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