How to Update Apple Watch's watchOS Software

by

watchOS is the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch, powering its fitness tracking capabilities, apps, communication features, time-keeping abilities, and more. Apple plans to push regular updates to fix watchOS bugs, refine performance, and introduce new features, and the release of watchOS 2 alongside iOS 9 later today is a major uprade for the platform. (Update: Apple has delayed the public release of watchOS 2.)

watchos_2_install
watchOS updates are installed in a unique way that differs from how we install iPhone and Mac updates, so we've crafted a quick tutorial to remind users how to get the latest version of watchOS on their Apple Watches so they're ready for watchOS 2.

Before You Start

Before you try to download and install the new version of watchOS, make sure of the following:

  1. Your iPhone has been updated to iOS 9.
  2. Your iPhone and Apple Watch are within range of each other.
  3. Your Apple Watch has at least a 50 percent charge.
  4. Your Apple Watch is connected to its charger.

How to install software on apple watch 2
The last two requirements are important. You will be able to download the new version of watchOS without a 50 percent charge or Apple Watch resting on its charger, but you won't be able to install it. During the installation step, you will instead see a message that the installation is paused and won't continue until Apple Watch is connected to the charger with at least a 50 percent charge.

Downloading and Installing the Update

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and select the My Watch tab if necessary.
  2. Tap General, then tap Software Update.
  3. Tap Download and Install to begin the process.
  4. Enter your four-digit passcode on Apple Watch when prompted.
  5. The Apple logo and progress bar will appear when the software is installing. When finished, Apple Watch will restart.

If Something Goes Wrong

Apple Watch Power OffIf, for some reason, the download freezes up or you can't get the software to install on Apple Watch, you can try restarting the device.

Restarting

  1. Hold down the Side button until the Power Off slider appears.
  2. Slide the bar to shut off Apple Watch.
  3. Hold down the Side button until the Apple logo appears.
  4. Wait for Apple Watch to restart.
  5. Enter your passcode when prompted.

Hard Reset
If powering down Apple Watch does not work, you can also try a hard reset. This forces the device to shut off. It usually takes a bit longer to restart Apple Watch when you perform a hard reset.

  1. Hold both the Side button and Digital Crown down at the same time.
  2. The screen will go blank, and then the Apple logo will appear.
  3. Wait for Apple Watch to restart.
  4. Enter your passcode when prompted.

Apple is rapidly iterating on watchOS, so don't be surprised if we continue to see frequent updates. watchOS arrives just five months after the Apple Watch's debut and brings a host of new features including native third-party apps, so most Apple Watch owners will want to upgrade as soon as possible and begin exploring what's new.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

WarHeadz Avatar
70 months ago

Thanks for this great article. Will start charging my AW now to be ready . I've ordered pizza and Coca Cola!

You're celebrating a software update with pizza and coke? Hope you don't use Windows 10 or you'd be obese by now.

Edit: Ouch, bet you wish you didn't order that pizza so soon. No software update for the Watch today. :(
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
drumcat Avatar
70 months ago

Thanks for this great article. Will start charging my AW now to be ready . I've ordered pizza and Coca Cola!

How's that pizza tasting with the delay? :)
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michaelgtrusa Avatar
70 months ago
These are some nice tips.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Top Stories 44 Feature

Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming

Saturday January 23, 2021 6:00 am PST by
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned. This week also saw rumors about the...
magsafecasedangle

Apple Elaborates on Potential for iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories to Interfere With Implantable Medical Devices

Saturday January 23, 2021 2:42 pm PST by
Since the launch of iPhone 12 models in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, but the company has now shared additional information. Apple added the following paragraph to a related support document today:Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Bloomberg: Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader

Friday January 22, 2021 7:50 am PST by
Last week, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his expectations for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the MagSafe charging connector, the removal of the Touch Bar, a new flat-edged design, and the return of more ports built into the notebooks for expanded connectivity. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Kuo did not...
airpods galaxy buds comparison

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Apple AirPods Pro

Friday January 22, 2021 2:34 pm PST by
Samsung in January unveiled new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones and alongside the new phones, introduced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, which are priced at $199 and offer Active Noise Cancellation. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, so we thought we'd compare the two sets of earbuds in our...
maxresdefault

Microsoft Touts Surface Pro 7 as 'The Better Choice' Over MacBook Pro in New Ad

Saturday January 23, 2021 11:02 am PST by
Microsoft yesterday shared a new ad on YouTube titled "Microsoft Surface Pro 7: The Better Choice," in which the company compares its tablet computer to Apple's 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, as spotted by MSPoweruser. The ad highlights the Surface Pro 7's touchscreen and included stylus as opposed to only a "little bar" (the Touch Bar) on the MacBook Pro. Other advantages of the Surface Pro 7...
iOS 15 icon mock banner

iOS 15 Rumored to Drop Support for iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:58 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iOS 15 operating system, which we expect to see unveiled in June, is rumored to be dropping support for a few of Apple's older iPhones. According to French site iPhoneSoft, iOS 15 will not be able to be installed on the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus, or the 2016 iPhone SE, all of which have an A9 chip. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were introduced in 2015 and are now more...
maxresdefault

Video Demos macOS Catalina Running on iPad Pro via x86 Emulation

Thursday January 21, 2021 11:36 am PST by
A video demonstrating macOS Catalina running on a current 2020 iPad Pro has been shared on YouTube, giving us a look at an interesting hack that has a Mac OS up and working on one of Apple's iPads. There's limited information about how the process of getting macOS Catalina on an iPad Pro works, but it uses x86 emulation and was done through the UTM software that allows virtual machines to...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Pro Model Cameras to Use Larger Image Sensor

Thursday January 21, 2021 1:38 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 series will feature a redesigned Face ID system that will allow for a smaller notch at the top of the screen, according to a new report today. The rumor comes via hit-and-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, whose supply chain sources also claim that the ultra wide-angle lens in Apple's next-generation iPhones is due for an upgrade. The next-generation iPhones'...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 Release Candidate to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Thursday January 21, 2021 10:14 am PST by
Apple today seeded the RC version of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a week after Apple released the second betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...