Another frustrating chat with Apple Support - anybody know what's going on with the Watch storage?

Apple support has been just horrible for about a year now. The people on the other end never seem to know what I’m talking about or get to the point.

Here’s my latest chat just before:



I assume that you see text messages that arrive via the Messages app on your watch. If you do like I do most of the time, after dismissing the notification on your watch, you eventually erase its associated conversation from some other Apple device (phone, iPad, computer, etc.) and see it disappear from all those devices. But guess what–the message is still on watch. You need to erase it via the Messages app on the watch. Unfortunately, you can’t just clear them all; you must erase each one individually and need to confirm each deletion after doing the ‘swipe left’ delete action. If you don’t do that regularly, they can build up and slowly consume your watch’s memory. It’s interesting that Apple support didn’t pursue this with you.

The person didn’t know what they were talking about.

This is what the Watch app > General > Storage was showing.

So it doesn’t appear to be full.

I unpaired and repaired and am just seeing what happens if I refresh.

Never talk to first-line Apple Support

Always ask for a Senior Advisor.

You might need to wait a little longer but you will get a better result than a newbie who doesn’t know what he is talking about.


I haven’t had much luck with “senior advisors” lately either. This all seems to have gone downhill since the pandemic started. Too many people working from home and ill-informed is my guess.

There is also, in the Watch app, tap Music and turn off “Recently Music” under “automatically add” if you are not going to listen to music on the Watch itself. Especially on an 8 GB Series 3 (the non-cellular S3 has only 8 GB, but the cellular I believe was 16 GB. Apple no longer makes a cellular S3).

The watch also keeps logs, as iOS and MacOS do, but there is little you can do to control that amount of storage. In addition to photos, music, and messages, Podcasts can also take up storage and are that’s something that you can control.

It’s possible you received that message because the Watch was trying to keep enough space to prepare for an upgrade. That was an ongoing problem for 8 GB S3 watches on watchOS 7 - not having enough space to install the update - but I believe that Apple has fixed that problem with watchOS 8. The S4 and later watches have more than enough storage to install updates.

Yes, that wasn’t a great experience, but I wonder if calling would get a better experience than a chat session? I’ve used an iMessage session only once, and it was fine, but it was simply because I had placed an order on the Apple Store online but Apple Pay was defaulted to a wrong shipping address, and the chat session was able to change it for me before the item actually shipped.

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I actually have a Series 2. But the storage was only half full.

I ended up finding that “Recently Music” setting and turned it off after resetting the iPhone. The advisor said there was no such setting though.

I’ve tried calling too. It gets even more confusing.

Tidbits is a font of wisdom for things Apple. I did not realize that Apple had decided to put whatever music I listen to (on my iPhone) should be copied to my Apple Watch. After turning off “Recently Music” over 500 MB was freed.

Am I the only one who listens to books frequently and music only occasionally? And who always listens from media on my iPhone that is synced from my macOS machine? I will admit that my most-used Watch App is “Now Playing” which complicates my Watch face.

wow, I did not know about this, thanks! My series 5 watch had 7 gb of music stored on it, and I never (well, ok, once to try it) listen to music via my watch.

Don’t feel bad. Even the Apple support advisor didn’t know about it.

I want to echo what Doug Lerner observed about Apple Support: horrible! The entry-level people have no expertise and simply look for solutions in an online database. The so-called “senior” advisers often are not much better (and apparently aren’t even paid more by Apple!).

It used to be (a decade ago?) that senior advisors were engineers, but no longer. Speaking of engineers, I often encounter problems that require filing a ticket with “Engineering,” which is really just another level of tech support. And I have a sad little secret to share with you all: I’ve never received a solution from “Engineering.” There’s often a request for additional information, which I supply, and then nothing. I’ll contact the senior advisor assigned to the case – and never hear back.

That’s how bad it is.

And while we’re on the subject, may I share a recent experience with Airbnb support? Their support people are called “Community Ambassadors” or some such gibberish. Well, recently, I tried to book a property around New Year’s, but AirBnB wouldn’t let me, invoking some new anti-party rule. The said rule has been implemented as an algorithm that is supposed to detect situations where house- or community-disturbing parties might occur. One of the risk factors is a prospective renter aged 25 or younger. Now truth be told, I’m 61, and I was trying to rent a cabin with my two 11-year-old twins. We do not intend to create a stir on New Year’s Eve! I must have contacted 5 or 6 “community ambassadors,” all of whom sooner or later informed me that there was nothing to be done. It seemed like the rule was being applied to the property in question, and it was simply preventing all rentals around New Year! The landlord wanted to rent me the property but was powerless.

What makes this situation even worse is that once a property has been “protected” by the anti-party algorithm, the protection cannot be overridden. So it’s AirBnB’s “Doomsday Device”! (get the reference?)

Solution: I rented the property through VRBO.

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At least you are dealing with support people located in the United States.

Try dealing with Google Fi support who are all located in India. While we supposedly both speak the same language, English, there is very little actual communication taking place.

These tech support jobs are thankless, low paid positions. The same kind of people answering tech support calls today are tomorrow taking your pizza delivery order.

If companies could find a way to eliminate all tech support provided by humans, they would do so.

Oh, I forgot, Facebook has no human support. Zuckerberg has only robot readers employed to deal with customers, strictly by e-mail.

The new CEO of Starbucks, a veteran of Microsoft & IBM, is cutting staff in the stores and implementing a order by phone, take out only system. The Starbucks employees are trying to unionize but companies like the new Starbucks hire expensive union busting firms to make sure their workers never, ever unionize.

These giant monopolistic corporations want you to buy their mass produced products and collect your money without every letting you talk to a human being.

At least with Apple, in some countries, you do have the option of going to an actual Apple Store and talking face to face with an Apple Genius. A lot of these guys (and sometimes a few women) are true computer nerds. They love this stuff and eat, breathe, and speak computers. If they don’t know the answer, they will go ask the most knowledgeable nerd in the place to try and help you.

If nothing works, submit a well documented bug report on Apple’s feedback app and pray it gets fixed in the next update cycle. And write to Tim Cook ( since he is one of the few CEOs who remains accessible to ordinary proles.

I am still waiting for Apple to rename the RECENTS folder in Photos, since there are no filters on that folder that in any way relate to the concept of TIME. Which would be necessary in a folder named RECENTS.

To counter the examples of bad support (and I am sure that they were bad), there is good support sometimes, with feedback from engineers, on a regular basis. See this thread from iMore: Apple Notes doesn't find certain substrings - Mac AND iOS - iPhone, iPad, iPod Forums at

So, it can still happen.

I’ll also say that I haven’t had to use Genius Bar support all that often, but every time I have been in a store it’s been pretty decent support, and people around me getting support also seem to be getting good service (if I sit for a while it’s hard not to hear what is going on.) I feel lucky that I have a store 25 minutes away and two more less than an hour away (and three more just over an hour away.)


I’m sure that Apple isn’t happy about this either. It must be really difficult to find people who actually know anything beyond what they can look up in internal databases. And although this site doesn’t break things out, Apple’s corporate headcount went from 23,700 in 2007 to 154,000 today. Can you imagine the enormity of just hiring that many people? Obviously, they’re not all support staff—I think retail is the largest division in Apple—but I’ll bet support is huge as well.

I’m not saying this to excuse Apple, just to note that I’m sure Apple support folks are under incredible stress as well, both at the front-line level and the managerial level. Apple could pay more, which would remove some financial stress for staff, but it may simply not be able to hire more people who can really help.

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As someone here mentioned, calling in rather than using the support app seems, on the whole, better.

I actually had a good support experience the other day. I called in to find out why my Apple Watch would not unlock my new MBP.

The first person did extensive diagnostics, with screen sharing on both my Mac and iPhone. When he was finally stumped he turned me over to a specialist in Australia. After some more diagnostics we found the cause - my old MBP 2013 retina was interfering because after they had me unpair and pair again I restored from a backup just previous to getting my new MBP. I made sure the Watch got disconnected from that and all was fine.

1:10 hours - but very friendly and thorough.


Just to add a bit to the plus side of the scale, I’ve had excellent support from Apple ever since the days of my first IIe.

As an example, in August I purchased an e-book to share with my wife. We both downloaded and opened the book on iPads without incident (once we remembered how to discover shared content.)

Later I tried to open the book on a different Apple device but was not given the option to download. I tried all the usual trouble shooting including making sure the OS was up to date, re-starting, logging out/in of my account on various devices. Nothing worked. I contacted Apple support.

The front line person went through the issue with me and we patiently re-did all the trouble shooting I had already done but still nothing worked. A very frustrating problem for both of us. They bumped me up to a more specialized support and the next person was equally helpful and frustrated by the problem. After quite a while they noticed that the e-book I had purchased in August was no longer available in the Apple Book store now that it was September. The sales agreement must have expired, and the reason I couldn’t download the content was that it didn’t exist anymore in the store. [It was a bundled set of Azimov’s Foundation books. We surmised the publisher figured interest in the books would spike with the Apple+ Foundation series soon to start streaming, and they could make more money unbundling the books.]

As disappointing as this was for me, I couldn’t blame Apple for the behavior of the publisher, and my wife and I did still have access to the downloaded content on our original devices. Apple support worked long and hard to resolve the issue, and both agents were very pleasant to work with, so even though I wasn’t able to download the content on another device, I understood what was going on and was satisfied with how the issue was handled by Apple.

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As a complete digression, I just wanted to mention that I met Asimov at the first Star Trek convention in NYC when I was a teenager. We rode the elevator together, and I sat next to him during the blooper reels. I even gave him change for a quarter.

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You don’t always get to speak to support people located in the US if you are in the US. At least I haven’t, and I’ve encountered some awful ones. If you live near an Apple Store, I’ve gotten better support there.

I met him in person a few times when I worked for Omni magazine. I had some signed copies of his books, but unfortunately they were destroyed when there was a big leak in my apartment. It still makes me very sad.

You can move the book to a new device with iMazing on a Mac. You can probably do it by syncing with Books on a Mac too (like with iTunes on earlier systems), but I don’t have any new enough systems set up to have tried it. iMazing has the advantage of working the same way from el cap onwards. (Though I don’t like their new license scheme at all.)