Troubleshooting Guide: Apple Watch Won’t Update? Here’s What You Need to Know

Published: 16 January 2024Updated: 7 February 2024

Delving into the enigma of update challenges with your Apple Watch, this exploration aims to unravel the mysteries behind the resistance to software updates. Discovering the underlying reasons for this issue is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and accessing the latest features. Fortunately, within this guide, we will navigate through effective solutions to help you overcome the perplexing hurdle of your Apple Watch refusing to update.

apple watch

How to Update Apple Watch

Below is how to update your Apple Watch:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to My Watch tab.
  3. Select General.
  4. Tap Software Update.

Why My Apple Watch Won’t Update

If your Apple Watch won’t update, it could be because of the following reasons:

Software Glitches

Encountering technical glitches might be the reason your Apple Watch won’t update. Identifying and resolving these issues could be essential to ensure a successful update process.

Low Battery Life

Your Apple Watch needs to have sufficient battery life to perform the update. Ensure that your Apple Watch has at least 50% battery life, or connect it to the charger during the update.

Compatibility With iPhone Issue

Your iPhone and Apple Watch need to be compatible with each other for the update to work. Make sure that your iPhone is running the latest iOS version that supports the corresponding watchOS version.

Outdated Software

The inability of your Apple Watch to update may stem from outdated software. Ensure that your device’s software is current to enable seamless updates.

Insufficient Storage

If you’re experiencing issues with updating your Apple Watch, you may be facing insufficient storage.

Here are reasons why your Apple Watch may have insufficient storage space and how you can fix it:

Bloated Apps

Some apps may take up a lot of storage space on your Apple Watch. Try deleting unused or unnecessary apps to free up storage.

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Large Media Files

Videos, music, and photos can quickly fill up your Apple Watch’s storage. Consider removing or transferring large media files to free up space.

Software Updates

Updates for watchOS require storage space on your Apple Watch. Delete unnecessary files or apps to make room for the latest Apple Watch update.

Cache Files

Temporary files and cache can accumulate over time, taking up valuable storage space. Clearing cache files can free up storage on your Apple Watch.

How to Fix My Apple Won’t Update

To resolve the issue when your Apple Watch software update fails, follow the tips below:

Connect Your Apple Watch to Its Charger

Make sure you have connected your Apple Watch to its charger.

Here are some of the reasons why connecting your Apple Watch to its charger is important:

  1. Ensures that it has a stable power source throughout the update process.
  2. You can prevent the battery from draining during the update.
  3. Minimizes the chances of any interruptions during the update, which can lead to incomplete or failed updates.
  4. Allows the update process to proceed without any interruptions, ensuring a quicker and smoother update experience.

Check Your Connections

If your Apple Watch won’t update, checking your connections can help resolve the issue. First, make sure you have a stable internet connection. Poor or unstable internet can prevent the update from downloading. Next, navigate to the Settings app on your Apple Watch and select General > Software Update to manually check for updates.

Check on Compatibility

Ensure seamless functionality between your Apple Watch and iPhone with compatible software versions (click here for possible solutions if Apple Watch not connecting to phone).

To ensure compatibility, follow these steps:

  • Update your paired iPhone to the latest iOS version.
  • Check for updates in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Make sure your Apple Watch software is up to date.
  • Restart both your iPhone and Apple Watch if you encounter any issues.

Restart Your Apple Watch

Restarting your Apple Watch can help resolve various software issues and ensure a smooth update process for watchOS.

Here are four steps to restart your Apple Watch effectively:

  1. Press and hold the side button until the power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the power off slider to turn off your Apple Watch.
  3. After a few seconds, press and hold the side button again until the Apple logo appears.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the restart process.

Restart Your iPhone


Restarting your iPhone can often fix any glitches or bugs that may be preventing your Apple Watch from updating properly. By restarting your iPhone, you’re essentially refreshing its system, allowing for smoother communication between your iPhone and Apple Watch.

Below is how to restart your iPhone:

  1. Press and hold the power button.
  2. Locate and select the “Restart” option on the screen.
  3. Confirm the restart if prompted.

This simple fix can save you from a lot of frustration and ensure that your Apple Watch update goes smoothly.

Reset iPhone Network Settings

If restarting your iPhone fails to resolve the issue, opt to reset your iPhone network settings.

This is how to do it:

  1. Open iPhone Settings.
  2. Go to General.
  3. Scroll down and select Reset.
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings.

Once this is complete, try to update your Apple Watch.

Check That You Have Enough Space

Make sure you have sufficient storage space available on your Apple Watch before attempting to update or install new software.

Here are reasons why having enough space is crucial for a smooth update process:

  1. Apple Watch updates can take up a significant amount of storage. If you don’t have enough space, the update may fail.
  2. Installing new apps also requires available storage. If your watch is full, you won’t be able to add any new apps.
  3. During the update or installation process, temporary files are created. These files require additional space, so make sure you have enough room to accommodate them.
  4. Insufficient space can lead to performance issues on your Apple Watch. By ensuring you have enough space, you can maintain optimal performance and prevent any potential problems.

To check the available storage on your Apple Watch, go to the Apple Watch settings, select General, and then choose About. If you find that you’re running low on space, you can free up storage by deleting unnecessary apps, photos, or music.

Delete the Update File

Sometimes, the update file can get corrupted or stuck, preventing your watch from updating properly. To delete the update file, go to the Watch app on your iPhone, tap on General, then Software Update. Swipe left on the update file and tap Delete.

Unpair and Resync Your Apple Watch

After deleting the file, unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone and then pair it again to resync all the data and settings. This process can help resolve any software conflicts or glitches that may be causing the update to fail.


Reach Out to Apple Support

For persistent issues with your Apple Watch not starting, it is advisable to reach out to Apple Support. Their experienced team can provide personalized assistance and guide you through specific troubleshooting steps tailored to your device.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Update My Apple Watch Without Connecting It to Its Charger?

You can update your Apple Watch without connecting it to its charger. The update can be done wirelessly, as long as your watch has enough battery life and is connected to Wi-Fi.

How Do I Know if My Apple Watch Is Compatible With My iPhone?

To determine compatibility between your Apple Watch and iPhone, ensure that your iPhone model is capable of running the required iOS version for the specific Apple Watch Series you desire. Additionally, consult Apple’s official compatibility list for your specific Apple Watch model or all Apple devices and their corresponding software requirements. Whether it is the Apple Watch Ultra 2 or Apple Watch Series 9, Apple’s official compatibility got you covered.

What Should I Do if My Apple Watch’s Software Is Outdated?

If your Apple Watch’s software is outdated, you should first check for available updates. If an update is available, you can download and install it on your watch through the Watch app on your iPhone.


Understanding the reasons behind your Apple Watch’s update challenges is the key to resolving them effectively. By delving into the potential issues, you can apply the appropriate fixes and unlock the full potential of your device. Whether it’s addressing outdated software, connectivity issues, or storage constraints, resolving these mysteries will ensure a seamless experience with your Apple Watch update.



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