Whether you're updating to the latest version of watchOS or considering a beta install, it's always good to have troubleshooting steps on hand just in case things get out of hand. While everything should — and usually does — go smoothly, once in a while, these simply don't update or install the way you'd expect. Sometimes it's a connection issue. Sometimes it's a verification error. Sometimes it won't reboot. And other times it just... does nothing.

If you're having problems installing or updating watchOS, here are a few things you can try.

Are you on the latest version of iOS?

You'll need to update to Apple's latest version of iOS before a watchOS update will show up in the Watch app, which, yes, means taking the plunge on both devices. (The same goes for beta software.)

Note: If you're on a Series 0 Apple Watch and want to upgrade your iPhone to iOS 12, you'll still be able to use watchOS 4 with your iPhone – but you can't get watchOS 5 on a later model without first upgrading your iPhone.

Are you on an iOS beta seed?

We've heard a few reports in the past from people on iOS beta seeds who can't get watchOS updates to appear. There are a few causes for this: Your watch might not be enrolled in the watchOS developer beta program. If you're on the public beta program, that seed might have a connection issue with the watch.

If all else fails and you can't get watchOS to update, it's best to bring your iPhone back to production software (and save yourself the trouble of a glitchy release).

How to update from an iOS beta to the official release

Check your connection

It's also worth checking to make sure you're on Wi-Fi and your Apple Watch is recognizing your iPhone.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi. (Also double-check Bluetooth is on while you're at it.)

  3. Swipe up to bring up Control Center on your Apple Watch. If your iPhone is connected, you'll see a green Connected banner at the top of the screen.

Force Quit and restart

Still not working? Try force quitting the Watch app on your iPhone and restarting your Apple Watch.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Double press the Home button to bring up the multitasking interface.
  3. Swipe up on the Watch app to close it.

  4. Swipe up on the Watch app card to force quit it.


  1. Press and hold the Side Button on your Apple Watch.
  2. Slide to Power Off.

Erase and repair

If neither of the above two steps worked, it's time to bring out the big gun: unpairing and re-pairing your Apple Watch.

Note: Unpairing your Apple Watch will automatically back up most of your information, but you may lose access to certain aspects, like your Apple Pay cards. You'll also have the Watch removed from Find My iPhone, and Activation Lock will be disconnected.

Any other watchOS install troubleshooting questions?

Still having trouble updating your Apple Watch to the latest version of watchOS or a watchOS beta? Let us know below and we'll try to troubleshoot.

Updated Sept. 2018: Updated for watchOS 5.

Apple Watch