watchOS 5.1 Update Bricking Some Apple Watches [Update: Apple Temporarily Pulls watchOS 5.1]

It appears the watchOS 5.1 update that was released this morning is causing problems for some Apple Watch owners. Multiple MacRumors readers have had issues installing the new software and are reporting that the update has bricked their devices.

Customers who are affected are seeing their Apple Watches stuck at the Apple logo loading screen after initiating the watchOS 5.1 update.


Some customers who contacted Apple were initially told that the update could take a few hours, but multiple people have seen no progress after three or more hours. From MacRumors reader Bazooka-joe:

So my series 4 sssb has been stuck on installing 5.1 For an hour and a half now with nothing showing on the watch except the bright white Apple icon. Spoken to Apple Support who said that they are getting calls from other people experiencing the same issue and they have advised me to leave it for 2 to 3 hours. WTF Why would an update that supposed to take 10 minutes to install take 2 to 3 hours

It appears affected users have the Apple Watch Series 4, which is the newest Apple Watch that was released in September.

Some MacRumors readers have said that Apple is going to be shipping out replacement watches for those who have been affected.

Not all customers who have an Apple Watch Series 4 have had problems installing the watchOS 5.1 update, but as a cautionary measure, it's worthwhile to hold off downloading and installing the software until Apple pushes a fix. Apple has not pulled the watchOS 5.1 update as of yet.

Update: Apple has temporarily pulled the watchOS 5.1 update.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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22 months ago
Can anyone explain why Apple didn't implement a DFU restore procedure for the watches? It shouldn't be possible for these devices to brick.

They should have implemented plugging the charger puck into a computer and using iTunes to restore it, just like you can an iOS device.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
22 months ago
Weird. This was by far the fastest and smoothest Apple Watch update I've ever seen. Took all of 10 minutes tops from start to finish on my Series 4. Nothing like the sometimes 1-2 hours I've seen in the past on my previous S0 & S1 watches.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago

I often say this each time an update comes out: WAIT A FEW HOURS. But there is always some jerkoff in the comments who thinks they know better and says that there is nothing to be worried about. Just wait a few hours! Patience.

But if we all take your advice then no one will know if there is a problem
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago
Tim would like to thank you for paying $400 dollars to be a beta tester.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago
All good on my Series 4. Took about 15 minutes.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
22 months ago

Can anyone explain why Apple didn't implement a DFU restore procedure for the watches? It shouldn't be possible for these devices to brick.

They should have implemented plugging the charger puck into a computer and using iTunes to restore it, just like you can an iOS device.

The charging puck does just that, it charges. There isn't some magical data transfer going on there unfortunately.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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