How to Update WatchOS on Apple Watch
Updating an Apple Watch to a new version of watchOS is very easy, but if you’ve never done it before you may find it to be different from other Apple devices like updating iOS and Mac OS. The primary difference is that updating WatchOS is not done on the Apple Watch itself, instead, it’s started on the iPhone that the Apple Watch is paired with. Beyond that, it’s incredibly simple and you should find it familiar.
Like all other hardware, maintaining updated system software is recommended to maintain new features, optimal performance, and stability, so let’s learn how to download and install updates to Apple Watch.
Apple Watch Update Requirements
Before you can update watchOS, you’ll need to mean the basic requirements for updating Apple Watch, those are as follows:
- The iPhone that Apple Watch is paired with must be nearby, it’s used to download and install the WatchOS update
- The paired iPhone must be on wi-fi
- The power charger for Apple Watch, with the Apple Watch plugged in (this is probably the biggest inconvenience to updating Apple Watch)
- A minimum 50% charge on Apple Watch or greater is necessary
Of course, there must also be a software update available for WatchOS, otherwise there is nothing to update.
How to Install & Update WatchOS on Apple Watch
Assuming you have the basic requirements met above, here’s how you can quickly download, install, and update WatchOS on any Apple Watch:
- Connect Apple Watch to its power source if you haven’t done so yet
- From the paired iPhone, open the Apple Watch app
- Choose the “My Watch” tab
- Select “General” and “Software Update” within Apple Watch app – this looks very familiar to the general iOS update mechanism but it’s specific to Apple Watch
- When the update to Watch OS appears, choose “Download & Install”
- Agree to the Terms of Service and wait for the update to download and install onto Apple Watch
The Apple Watch will display an Apple logo with a status circle rotating around it to indicate where in the installation process Watch OS update is. This can take a while, even for fairly small updates, so be patient for the Apple Watch to update. Do not interrupt the WatchOS update process, otherwise you could get the dreaded (!) red exclamation point mark on the Apple Watch which requires the device visit an Apple Store or service center.
When WatchOS is finished updating, the Apple Watch will reboot itself with the freshly installed update installed, and the update will disappear from the “Software Update” section of the Apple Watch app on the iPhone.
Oh and by the way, the first versions of watchOS were labeled as “Watch OS”, but Apple adjusted the capitalization and removed the space, so Watch OS is now “watchOS” with lowercase w (kind of like iOS has a lowercase i). Thus, whether you see Apple Watch system software referred to as WatchOS, watchOS, Watch OS, or Apple Watch OS, it’s all the same thing.