Update your Apple Watch

You can get the latest version of watchOS directly on your Apple Watch, or use your iPhone to update it.

Check your Apple Watch compatibility

First, make sure your Apple Watch works with the latest software. watchOS 9 is compatible with these Apple Watch models:

  • Apple Watch Series 4 and later
  • Apple Watch SE (1st generation) and later
  • Apple Watch Ultra

Updating to watchOS 9 also requires one of these iPhone models:

  • iPhone 8 or later with iOS 16
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation) or later with iOS 16

If your Apple Watch isn't compatible with the latest version of watchOS, Software Update will show you the newest version that your watch can use.

Identify which Apple Watch or iPhone model you have.

Get ready to update

Next, check these things:

  1. Make sure your iPhone has been updated to the latest version of iOS.
  2. Make sure your Apple Watch is at least 50 per cent charged.
  3. Make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.

Keep your iPhone near your Apple Watch throughout the update. It could take from several minutes to an hour for the update to be completed, so you may want to update overnight or wait until you have time.

Update your Apple Watch using your iPhone

You can wait until Apple Watch notifies you when a new update is available. Tap Update Tonight in the notification, then go to your iPhone to confirm that you want to update overnight. At the end of the day, leave your Apple Watch and iPhone charging overnight so the update can be completed.

Or you can update your Apple Watch with your iPhone manually:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app, then tap the My Watch tab. 
  2. Tap General > Software Update.
  3. Download the update. If asked for your iPhone passcode or Apple Watch passcode, enter it. 
  4. Wait for the progress wheel to appear on your Apple Watch. It could take from several minutes to an hour for the update to be completed. 

Leave your Apple Watch on its charger while it's updating. Don't restart your iPhone or Apple Watch, and don't close the Apple Watch app. When the update has completed, your Apple Watch will restart on its own.

Update directly on your Apple Watch

If your Apple Watch has watchOS 6 or later, you can install updates without your iPhone:

  1. Make sure your watch is connected to Wi-Fi.
  2. On your watch, open the Settings app.
  3. Tap General > Software Update.
  4. Tap Install if a software update is available, then follow the onscreen instructions.

Leave your Apple Watch on its charger while it's updating, and don't restart your Apple Watch. When the update has completed, your Apple Watch will restart on its own.

Some iPhone updates may require that you update your Apple Watch

It's important to keep your Apple devices up to date so that they have the latest bug fixes and security enhancements. 

Some iOS updates on your iPhone require that you also update watchOS on your Apple Watch. So if you see an alert on your iPhone that says "Update Apple Watch" and "Your Apple Watch software is out of date", you should update to the latest version of watchOS so that your data, including Activity data, continues to sync to your iPhone.

Need more help with updating?

Try following these steps:

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch is connecting to its charger correctly
  2. Restart your Apple Watch.
  3. Restart your paired iPhone.
  4. Try again to update your Apple Watch.

If the update won't start:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General > Software Update.
  3. Delete the update file.
  4. Try again to update your Apple Watch.

Find out what to do if you see "Cannot Install Update" when updating Apple Watch or if your Apple Watch says you need more available storage to install a watchOS update.

If you've installed an iOS or watchOS beta or developer seed

If you've installed beta software on your iPhone or Apple Watch, you'll need to remove the beta profile before you can update to the next major software version:

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, then go to General > Profiles. Tap the beta profile you want to remove, then tap Delete Profile. Enter your iPhone passcode if requested. 
  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone, then tap General > Profiles & Device Management. Tap the beta profile you want to remove, then tap Delete profile. Enter your iPhone passcode if requested. 

After you've removed the profiles, restart both devices and check for the update again.

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