Updating Apple Watch (Series 3) Problems

Every time I have to do an OS update on my Apple Watch, I have to unpair it, reset it, and then do an update. Otherwise I simply don’t have enough memory. I don’t have any apps installed or pictures, music, or videos stored on my iPhone. Sometimes simply restarting it will work, but most of the time, I have to do a complete reset.

Does anyone else have similar issues when attempting to update their Apple Watch? It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to do any updates.

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I don’t own a series 3, but this has been an ongoing annoyance posted by a lot of people on Reddit who own S3 with each watchOS 7 update. See for example https://www.reddit.com/r/AppleWatch/comments/l5knhw/watchos73_out_now/

It took me over four hour to update my watch. I started the update which took 1/2 hour to tell me I didn’t have enough room, went through a restart which took 15 minutes, went to another update, another 1/2 hour, then a reset, and pairing, updating my wallet, and finally an update.

Every thing takes forever on that watch. Just turning it off and on takes 10 to 15 minutes.

Started at 7:30 and didn’t finish until noon. Grrr…

It was for that reason that out of frustration I treated myself to a series 6 Apple Watch last fall. Since that purchase I I’ve gone through two updates. Since I still have the series 3 watch I also went through a standard update with that watch too, going through the unpair/pair routine. At the completion of the update on the series 3, I shut it off and did not operate it until this morning when I saw this latest update. After updating my other Apple equipment I decided to run the series 3 watch update as though nothing had changed. It ran perfectly! I’m assuming because I had not used that watch since the last unpair/pair routine none of the precious RAM had been occupied by the normal computer activity.

Sometime ago I raised the issue here about RAM in the various series of watches. I seem to recall that the series 6 had something like three times that of the 3.

I have a Series 3 Nike Apple Watch that I got right after they came out. It still does OS updates like a champ, I’ve never had a problem other than having to remove the passcode prior to each upgrade and replace it afterwards - an inconvenience.

That sounds really frustrating, @david19 . For what it’s worth, I have a Series 3, and have not encountered those kinds of issues. I do all the kinds of things that Apple said were possible with it, and I’d estimate from looking at the app screen that there are about 30 Watch apps installed. That likely includes the required ones, but also tidbits like “Hello Weather”, “Parcel”, and “iPeng”, and the Lutron app for my home automation devices.

When an update, minor or major, comes along, I wait like any good TidBITs reader for a couple of days before installing it. (The one that came out today might be an exception because of the security issues involved.) I authorize the install before I take off my watch for the night, put it on its charger, and go to sleep, as does the watch. The update is installed in the morning, without any recourse to manual resets or restarts.

Offering this as an experience comparison; I do believe there’s an issue with your Watch or what’s loaded on it. What makes it weird is that you say there’s no apps added to it. So, I don’t know what the difference would be between the two instances. I just know mine works the way you’d expect it to.

Good luck with getting this sorted out!

One interesting thing about the S3 is that the cellular version has 16 GB of storage and the GPS version has 8, so I wonder if that explains why some people have this issue and others do not?

Of course it’s not only apps that take up storage; by default the watch app loads some photos and music to the watch as well. I know that I deliberately reduce the number of songs and photos on my watch, as I don’t use my watch yo listen to music or look at photos.

I don’t download music, photos, or mail to my watch. I had the photos watch face, but got rid of that with the last update.

I do have the GPS version only which means it only has 8 gigabytes of memory rather than 16. That might be the difference between our experiences.

My experience matches yours on my Series 3 GPS. It’s a real pain; very time consuming. And don’t get me started on having to redo Apple Pay.

And that’s an interesting thought. I do have the cellular version with twice the storage space. And I have some photos loaded, as well as some watch faces based on photos, but like you, no music.

Apple has consistently seemed to underestimate the minimum RAM required to make a device usable with the kind of user experience they understandable want to provide. Second-time buyers tend to know that the base model isn’t going to make them happy for a Mac or an iOS device.

For the Series 3, though, you really have to dig deep in the tech specs even to know that there is a difference in RAM between the GPS and cellular models. And it’s not like you can get a BTO option to add memory capacity to the GPS model.

While I know Apple sees memory as a profit center, I’d love for the company to reconsider whether they’re doing themselves that much of a favor by offering a sparsely-equipped model. I’m glad for it in something like the iMac, where I can order the minimum RAM config and then replace it immediately with 3rd party boards.

But you can’t do that with a watch, nor can you get more RAM unless you order a model with a fundamentally different connectivity method. That’s what I’d like to see change.

I don’t understand why I have to reauthorize the credit cards with Apple Pay simply because I put them on my watch. I authorized them on my iPhone, and I’m merely copying them over.

Most are fairly easy to verify (but a pain), but there’s one I have to call.

The details for the payment processing are stored in the Secure Element on each device and you really don’t want any process to be able to get the info, as it would be a huge potential security hole. (In other words, if there was a way to copy this info from the secure element on the iPhone to the watch in a way that would allow transaction processing to work, then there would be a way to get that data to another app or device.)

See Apple Pay security and privacy overview - Apple Support for more details on how card data is processed and then protected on the secure element.

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