Apple Watch Won’t Update? Here’s How to Fix It. (watchOS 8)

The Apple Watch is an impressive and powerful device. Just like your iPhone, its software needs to be updated regularly for maintenance and bug repair. But what if the Apple Watch update won’t install? The following troubleshooting tips should help you when your Apple Watch won’t update to watchOS 8.

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How to Update Your Apple Watch

There are a few steps to take before attempting to update your watch, and before going through any Apple Watch troubleshooting tips.

  1. Make sure your iPhone is updated to the latest version of iOS.
  2. Charge your Apple Watch to 50 percent or more.
  3. Connect your iPhone to WiFi.
  4. Keep your iPhone next to your Apple Watch throughout the update.

Why Won’t My Apple Watch Update?

There could be several reasons your Apple Watch update won’t install. If your iPhone is up to date, your Apple Watch is charged, and the update is still not starting, try this:

  1. Restart your iPhone.
  2. Restart your Apple Watch.
  3. Re-attempt the update.

How to Restart Your Apple Watch

There is no restart option on an Apple Watch like there is on an iPhone, you have to turn the watch off and then on again:

  1. Press and hold the side button.
  2. Several sliders will appear.

    Restart apple watch to fix update issuesImage courtesy of Apple

  3. Slide the Power Off slider to the right.
  4. Once the Watch turns off, wait 30 seconds and then turn it back on by holding the side button until you see the Apple Logo.

    Restart apple watch to fix update issuesImage courtesy of Apple

Related: How to Free Up Apple Watch Storage

How to Unpair Apple Watch if It Won’t Update

If the Apple Watch won’t update after the previous steps are completed, the next step is to unpair it. Here’s how to unpair the Apple Watch from your iPhone:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.Open the watch app to fix apple watch won't update 
  2. While in My Watch tab, tap on All Watches at the top of the screen.

    Tap on All Watches in the upper-left corner 

  3. Tap on the info icon next to the watch you wish to unpair.Tap on the info icon next to the watch you want to unpair 
  4. Select Unpair Apple Watch.

    Tap Unpair Apple Watch 

  5. Tap Unpair [Name’s] Apple Watch to unpair.

    Confirm Unpair Apple Watch

How to Pair Apple Watch with Your iPhone After Unpairing It

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch is on, or turn it on by holding in the side button until the Apple logo appears.
  2. Hold your iPhone close to your Apple Watch until the pairing screen appears on your iPhone.
  3. Alternatively, you can open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap on Pair New Watch.
  4. Once the pairing screen appears, select Continue.
  5. You will be prompted to position your iPhone’s viewfinder to show your Apple Watch screen.
  6. This will pair the devices. 

You will still need to go through Apple Watch setup in order to use it with your iPhone now that it’s been paired.

How to Fix the “Unable to Install Update” Error on an Apple Watch

If you see a message pop up that says “Unable to Install Update,” there are a few ways to troubleshoot. These include turning off the option to unlock your Apple Watch with your iPhone, and letting your Apple Watch update automatically overnight. If you have an Apple Watch with cellular service, you can try updating the watch directly after turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your iPhone.

How to Turn Off Unlock with iPhone & Update Your Apple Watch

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.Open the watch app to fix apple watch won't update 
  2. From the My Watch tab, select Passcode.

    Tap on passcode 

  3. Turn off Unlock with iPhone.Toggle off Unlock with iPhone 
  4. Return to the My Watch tab.

    Tap on the My Watch tab again 

  5. Tap on General.Tap on General 
  6. Tap on Software Update.
  7. Retry installing the update.

    Tap on Software Update to retry apple watch update

Don’t forget to turn the Unlock with iPhone setting back on once the Apple Watch is updated. If this doesn’t work, try the next fix below.

Let Your Apple Watch Update Automatically Overnight

Sometimes the update issue can be solved on its own without your help. Make sure the Automatic Updates setting is on in your settings. Then simply keep your phone connected to Wi-Fi and place the Apple Watch on its charger in range of your iPhone.

How to Turn On Apple Watch Automatic Updates

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.Open the watch app to fix apple watch won't update 
  2. From the My Watch tab tap on General.

    Tap on General 

  3. Select Software Update.Tap on Software Update to retry apple watch update 
  4. Tap on Automatic Updates.

    Tap on Automatic Updates 

  5. Make sure Automatic Updates are enabled; the toggle should be green.

    Be sure that Automatic Updates are toggled on (the toggle will be green)

There are many ways to troubleshoot if your Apple Watch update won’t install. You should be able to stay up to date on all the updates once you know how to restart your Apple Watch, unpair it, and manage its settings. One of your last resorts should be performing a factory reset on your Apple Watch. Next, find out if you can use an Apple Watch without an iPhone!

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