How to update the Apple Watch

Updated: March 09, 2023
6 min read
How to update the Apple Watch
by Mia Green
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Apple Watch is the most common smart watch in the USA and Canada. And like any device from this brand, it gets regular updates throughout the first 3-5 years. Each update is important as it may give the device new features or fix some previous glitches, while the hardware part stays the same.

Before we start

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Some may say that the Apple Watch update is not a friendly process. But we are ready to prove that everyone can keep their software up-to-date. Just stick to our guidelines and everything will go without a hitch!

How to update Apple Watch: 3 possible ways

You have multiple ways how to keep your smartwatch up-to-date. Usually, this gadget updates automatically within 2-3 days after the new version is released. If this doesn’t happen, check your devices. You should own at least iPhone 8 and Apple Watch 4 to install watchOS 9.

If you have relatively fresh devices, check their condition. They should be fully charged, have a stable internet connection, and have 25%+ free space. Update it manually from the iPhone or straight from the watch.

Is my Apple Watch too old?

Sometimes, you won’t see the “Download and install” button, no matter what you do. Maybe your Apple Watch is just too old. Remember that WatchOS 9 works only with Apple Watch 4 or more recent models. Also, you should have at least iPhone 8 with iOS 16 on it. You can't update the watch if some of your devices don’t fit those requirements.

But if you have relatively new devices, follow the next guidelines. They will help you fix this issue.

How to update your Apple Watch automatically

How to update the Apple Watch

Most times, those watches automatically download an updated file. To launch the automatic apple watch software update, you just need to tap on the screen when you see the Install Tonight memo and confirm this on your iPhone.

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Leave both devices close to each other (within 30-40 feet) and ensure they are connected to Wi-Fi. Once you wake up, you can check the watch update. In 90-95% of cases, it will turn just fine. If your apple watch won't update that way, try to do this manually. You can control every detail of this process, giving you more freedom.

How to troubleshoot an Apple Watch that won't update

If you have an iPhone 8 and Apple Watch 4 or newer, try the next troubleshooting measures.  You mostly have software glitches, so those actions will help you to fix them:

  1. A deep restart of both devices. Power them off and wait for 2-3 minutes. Turn them. This action removes software glitches.
  2. Check that both devices are near each other (less than 20-30 feet) and that they are connected to the same network.
  3. Check the internet.  Both devices should have a stable connection. Measure it with Speedtest or a similar service.
  4. Check the storage of both devices. Make sure that they both have at least 25% of free space.
  5. Resync both devices. Unpair the watch from the phone and then sync them back.

If none of those actions have helped you to fix the issue, there can be a hardware problem. Contact Howly technicians to get a tailored troubleshooter.

How to update your Apple Watch manually

How to update the Apple Watch

If the previous instruction didn’t work for you, try this, complete the steps for the new apple watch update:

  1. Charge the watch until you see at least 60% battery.
  2. Go to iPhone, open Watch application, and tap on the My Watch tab.
  3. Choose General →  Software Update → Install.
  4. You’ll see a progress wheel on the watch. Leave it charging and near the phone.

If you didn’t see this so-called “iwatch update” memo, you can’t update your phone. There are two main causes for this: you have up-to-date software or your device is too old to get the latest system version.

How to get the latest WatchOs on Apple Watches

How to update the Apple Watch

You can find information about the latest available versions on the iPhone’s Watch app or in the watch settings. Here is how you can check for the latest watchOS update straight from the smart device:

  1. Go to the main display.
  2. Open the Settings app. It has a gear logo
  3. Find General → Software Update.
  4. You should notice the Install virtual button. Tap on it.


How to update my apple watch?

Usually, it updates automatically. But you can load and install a new watchOS with iPhone or from the watches.

Why my Apple Watch is not updating?

Some devices are just too old to get the updates. If you have Apple Watch 3 or older, you can’t get a watchOS 9. In other cases, you can fix software glitches and install the new watchOS on your own.

Final thoughts

You have three ways to update an apple watch. In most cases, it keeps the fresh version automatically. Once Apple shows out new watchOS, the device loads and launches it within a few days after release. If for some reason, your watch refuses to get updates, check the device. Maybe it’s too old to get new versions.

But if your Apple Watch is fine, restart it and your iPhone to remove temporary file glitches. Check that they both have stable internet and at least 25% free memory. You can also update the watchOS straight from the watches

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Smart watch problem


Helen Matt
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Clear instructions. Good
Barry JK
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Why does this update circle keep rolling for 2 hours?
Selena Riley
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Why updating is so slow?
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You can update the watchOS from the Apple Watch without any phone
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But what to do if I have a Samsung phone?
Cris halson
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I have an Apple Watch 5 and see "An error occurred while checking for an update". What does it mean?
Elias walley
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I’m upset that Apple doesn’t let me get fresh updates. I own iPhone 7 and AW2
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Cool. It helps
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Thanks, this helped me a lot!
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My watch gets hot during the process. Is that ok?
Kaylin JJ
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Phew! Thank youu

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