Apple now tells users to unpair Apple Watch Series 3 before updating

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited June 2021
Apple is now prompting Apple Watch Series 3 users to unpair and restore their device before installing a watchOS update.

Credit: AppleInsider
Credit: AppleInsider


Apple Watch Series 3 owners have run into problems installing updates for some time. The issues mostly involve a lack of sufficient storage to perform an install on GPS-only Apple Watch models.

In past versions of iOS, Apple advised users to delete some content before installing, but in iOS 14.6, Apple appears to be showing a different prompt telling users to restore their smartwatches before the installation can proceed.

As noted by a 9to5Mac reader in a Portuguese-language tweet, Apple is now telling users that they need to unpair their Apple Watch models and then re-pair it to an iPhone before watchOS can update.

@MacMagazine o iPhone no 14.6 s desistiu de instalar o watchOS 7.5 no Apple Watch series 3 direto haha j fala direto pra desinstalar #aloadt @filipeesposito antes falava que no tinha espao pic.twitter.com/Urp0OHrzky

-- Nicolas Lehmann (@NLehmann)


First released in 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still being sold by Apple. It's also had a long run of watchOS update support. However, the new prompt could indicate that the relatively old model may not be supported by watchOS 8 or future updates. If that turns out to be the case, it could be discontinued.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    jgreg728jgreg728 Posts: 74member
    Are they out of their minds? That's ridiculous. However, I was able to do the last update with little to no issues. I have a cellular S3.
    elijahgGeorgeBMaccaladanian
  • Reply 2 of 26
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,675member
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    chemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Last weekend a friend of ours was visiting and complained about not being able to update her Series 3. She said she had been getting an error referencing a lack of available storage, but she was confused as she only had the stock apps installed, no music synced or anything else “extra” that she had added. It had only what it had out of the box. When I tried to update for her I saw the message that she needed to unpair first. 

    It seems odd that she wouldn’t have enough storage to run the update. She’s more frustrated because she just bought it a few months ago (against my advice encouraging her to purchase a newer model) when the display on her Series 2 fell off.
    chemengin1
  • Reply 4 of 26
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,055member
    jgreg728 said:
    Are they out of their minds? That's ridiculous. However, I was able to do the last update with little to no issues. I have a cellular S3.
    FTFA: "The issues mostly involve a lack of sufficient storage to perform an install on GPS-only Apple Watch models."
    kingofsomewherehot
  • Reply 5 of 26
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,055member
    eightzero said:
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    LOL no it does not.
    lkrupp
  • Reply 6 of 26
    I have been doing this for a couple of years with my GPS-only Apple Watch Series 3. Even if I install no additional applications, keep the available email accounts to a very short history, and so on, I never have enough space. To do an installation, I have to:
    • Restore completely
    • Do initial setup
    • Accept the "Welcome to Apple Watch" message at the end of setup (otherwise the next step errors)
    • Trigger the update
    This does take a couple of hours of mostly waiting. The v3 watch is getting very long in the tooth. I only update every other version or so.
    caladanianjony0
  • Reply 7 of 26
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,675member
    eightzero said:
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    LOL no it does not.
    LOL, it did.
    GeorgeBMaccaladanianelijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 26
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,988member
    eightzero said:
    eightzero said:
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    LOL no it does not.
    LOL, it did.
    LOL, then you did it wrong. Are you claiming everyone’s update took 3-4 hours?
  • Reply 9 of 26
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,675member
    lkrupp said:
    eightzero said:
    eightzero said:
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    LOL no it does not.
    LOL, it did.
    LOL, then you did it wrong. Are you claiming everyone’s update took 3-4 hours?
    LOL, you think I timed everyone's update? And LOL, because you don't think it should take that long, it must be my fault. LOL.
    MplsPmuthuk_vanalingamJanNLGeorgeBMaccaladaniangatorguyjony0elijahgbeowulfschmidtchemengin1
  • Reply 10 of 26
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,158member
    It always tells me that I don't have storage on my S3 even though I have enough storage for the update and only two apps are installed (they don't take much space either). The only solution is to unpair it. I think there's a bug somewhere. 
  • Reply 11 of 26
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 344member
    I’m sorry but S3 GPS was a mistake. It doesn’t just work with updates and they should not be selling it. Even striping it down to Apple apps doesn’t give enough storage space free to update. You have to go through and delete EVERYTHING and every app including Apple Apps you can. Screen broke on it, so we upgraded to a 6. Very glad to be rid of it. 
    chemengin1
  • Reply 12 of 26
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,647member
    lkrupp said:
    eightzero said:
    eightzero said:
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    LOL no it does not.
    LOL, it did.
    LOL, then you did it wrong. Are you claiming everyone’s update took 3-4 hours?
    I don’t have a series 3 but I have had a lot of Apple Watch updates over the years that have taken many hours to complete.   It’s why I only update every once in a while.  I rarely have a block of hours to babysit it “just in case”.  Some have been relatively fast on my series 4 and others have taken their time.   But I fully believe it can take 3-4 hours.  I’ve seen it on other versions of Apple Watch. 
    MplsPmuthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMacelijahgbeowulfschmidtchemengin1
  • Reply 13 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,606member
    lkrupp said:
    eightzero said:
    eightzero said:
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    LOL no it does not.
    LOL, it did.
    LOL, then you did it wrong. Are you claiming everyone’s update took 3-4 hours?
    LOL - my last update took about 3 hours a few weeks ago. Are you claiming you know what everyone's experience is? Or that the people who have posted here are lying? Just how are we doing it wrong? I'm sure many people would appreciate your brilliant insight on how to speed up a process that is completely out of their control.



    edited May 2021 muthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMaceightzerogatorguyelijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 14 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,606member
    Well, I'm glad Apple is actually telling people what many of us had already figured out on our own, but seriously??? unpair and erase your device every time you want to update the software??? And this is for a current model that's still being sold, not one that's been off the market for several years. This is just piss poor on Apple's part.
    edited May 2021 muthuk_vanalingamFidonet127elijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 15 of 26
    applguyapplguy Posts: 218member
    I’ve given up on updating the watch. Not always but there have been problems with some updates requiring essentially wiping and restoring which was not a quick process.  
    Dogperson
  • Reply 16 of 26
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,467member
    For the record: I waited until 7.4 to update because of that whole unpair-pair again hassle. But I did it and it worked, though it took quite some time (perhaps that’s what lkrupp was referring to?). But once 7.4 was installed, 7.5 installed in the normal way with no unpairing required.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 17 of 26
    petripetri Posts: 100member
    If this was simply a four year old model that Apple were doing their best to maintain support for that would be one thing, but the fact that this is a CURRENT model that Apple are still selling today makes this unacceptable.  The unpairing/updating process does indeed take hours, and is not a simple process either, especially if you use Apple Pay and have to get your bank(s) to reauthorise cards as well.

    They should have taken this off the market a year or two ago.  If they’re insisting on still selling it, then support it properly with tailored and optimised updates that actually fit the device.
    edited May 2021 GeorgeBMacFidonet127muthuk_vanalingamelijahg
  • Reply 18 of 26
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    eightzero said:
    And it takes upwards of 3-4 hours to do this. 
    LOL no it does not.

    I can't speak for the series 3.   But my old Series 1 would take that long or longer.

    As an aside though, I am pleasantly surprised at how well this old Series 1 is working.   The EKG function on my series 4 stopped working and the Apple Heartline study advised that I couldn't continue without it -- so I acquiesced to Apple support telling me to mail it back to them for diagnostics.  So, not wanting to be without a watch, I resurrected my old Series 1 that had been laying around and it is running almost as well as my Series 4 (just without the cellular plan and fall detection)

    But, as an aside from that, I made a very big mistake by dropping the watch off in its Apple supplied mailing box & label into a FedEx drop box.  When I hadn't heard back from Apple I checked and, after 4 days FedEx had not shown they had received  the watch.   I called FedEx who had the box checked and then told me that they had no record of having received the package!  (There goes a $500 watch!).   They told me I had to open a claim.   So, I called Apple to advise them -- but, while I was on the phone with Apple I got notification from FedEx that -- after 4 days -- they had found the package and it was on its way to Apple.
    So, a word to the wise:  Avoid using those FedEx drop boxes.  Instead, if possible, take it to a FedEx location and get a receipt for it.  I have found FedEx to be highly unreliable -- they just make too many mistakes.
    edited May 2021 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 26
    longpathlongpath Posts: 381member
    Dropping support in the same year as a model stops being sold would be rather bad form for Apple. They should stop selling it if their internal roadmap indicates support for a model needs to drop. The series 2 was discontinued in September of 2017; but was supported through WatchOS 6,2,8, with WatchOS 6 coming out 2 years after the series 2 ended, and not itself being replaced with WatchOS 7 until the series 2 was gone for 3 years. I would expect the same sort of lead time for the series 3.
    tipoo
  • Reply 20 of 26
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,120member
    They're still selling this brand new on the website. 

    What a bad experience for a product someone may buy new even now. Hope it's not long for this world and the SE just takes over its price point while they stop selling the 3, but them selling the 3 into 2021 should also mean years more of support than this. Luckily my LTE model doubled the storage so I had no issues with updates, but I had the same experience on my S1. 
    edited May 2021
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