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

Apple has changed iOS 14.6 to automatically prompt Apple Watch Series 3 users to restore their Watches before updating.

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular)
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular)

Apple in September 2017 introduced the Apple Watch Series 3, adding built-in cellular to the world’s number one watch. Whether users are out for a run, at the pool or just trying to be more active throughout their day, Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular allowed them to stay connected, make calls, receive texts and more, even without iPhone nearby.

Filipe Espósito for 9to5Mac:

The problem is directly related to the GPS version of the Apple Watch Series 3, which has only 8GB of internal storage. Every time a user tries to update a Series 3 GPS model, they get an error message saying that there’s not enough space available to install the update…

With the latest versions of iOS and watchOS, Apple seems to have given up trying to force users to delete apps and media manually, which almost never solves the problem. As shown by a 9to5Mac reader on Twitter (with a screenshot in Portuguese), iOS 14.6 simply asks the user to unpair and restore the Apple Watch Series 3 in order to install watchOS updates.

MacDailyNews Take: In other words, it’ll soon be time for a new Watch!


  1. Not true… This last update after updating to iOS 14.6 did NOT make me unpair and restore. However, the previous significant update (which required 3GB free space) DID make me go through that annoying process with my Series 3 GPS-only

    Probably depends on what is currently on Watch. Mine has Strava app (for tracking my running), not much else. I switched from Nike app because it was so buggy and unexplainably took up a lot of space with user data. Restarting Watch just before updating also frees up a bit more space.

    I’ll bet what this author saw is Watch update process getting smarter about when unpair/restore will be needed. Before, it took time to try to download update to Watch and then inform user if free space not sufficient. Now, it’s probably checking before trying and informing (up front) when unpair/restore will be needed.

    1. Family members with Watch3 all have to do this process.
      All of them deleted every app/song/podcast and not nearly enough room to update.
      For Apple to sell this (as in currently) and make this step necessary, is a joke.

    2. Very true. This last update after updating to iOS 14.6 DID automatically unpair Apple Watch 3 before it updated it.

      This was welcome, because the update process had got totally out of control … even with everything uninstalled, no pictures, no music, no data on device it still didn’t have enough space to install.

      I am very glad that Apple have fixed the process.

  2. Apple knows about this issue. So why have the users do a bunch of steps to get the updated instead they should have the update do all the spec and tell you when it’s done or at lease give users the option of having the program do all the steps.

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