iPhone 5 update unpaired Apple Watch, Watch now bricked?

mprofit

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Original poster
Aug 4, 2009
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Atlanta
Recently, I updated my iPhone 5 to iOS 10.3.3, and as a result my series 0 Watch, which is running WatchOS 2, became unpaired (obviously I'm very behind on my software updates). Now, it looks like to re-pair my Watch, I need to download and install WatchOS 4, however my Watch app says that there are no software updates available to download. What then happens when I try exiting the Watch app is I can either tap to allow the "update" to continue (which does nothing), or I can cancel out of the "update" process, which then brings me back to the "pairing"/welcome screen of the app.

Re-pairing my Watch with my phone just restarts this process that leads nowhere, so essentially I'm left with a watch that needs its software to be updated in order to function again, but which can't download any updates because there's nothing to download (due to the fact that the Watch app thinks my Watch is up to date).

I've tried restarting my phone and watch, deleting my watch from my iCloud devices, and resetting the watch (by holding both buttons down for ~ten seconds). At this point, help would be very appreciated.
 

bodonnell202

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I'm afraid I'm not much help to your particular problem, but do not upgrade your watch to WatchOS 4 as it is not compatible with iOS 10 (it needs iOS 11), but I think you should be able to upgrade your watch to WatchOS 3.whatever the last version was. Did you try erasing all content and settings from your watch (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all content and settings) and then setup as new?
 

mprofit

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2009
149
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Atlanta
I'm afraid I'm not much help to your particular problem, but do not upgrade your watch to WatchOS 4 as it is not compatible with iOS 10 (it needs iOS 11), but I think you should be able to upgrade your watch to WatchOS 3.whatever the last version was. Did you try erasing all content and settings from your watch (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all content and settings) and then setup as new?
It looks like erasing content and settings that way would only erase from my phone, not the watch (since the watch isn't synced with the phone anymore). Is there any other way to completely erase (or reset) the watch so that it can be set up as if it were brand new?
 

bodonnell202

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It looks like erasing content and settings that way would only erase from my phone, not the watch (since the watch isn't synced with the phone anymore). Is there any other way to completely erase (or reset) the watch so that it can be set up as if it were brand new?
Sorry, I actually meant to do that on your watch, not on your iPhone, which would prepare your watch to be paired to a new iPhone. That said, I'm not totally sure if the menu options have changed since WatchOS 2, but I think they are the same.
 

Solver

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It looks like erasing content and settings that way would only erase from my phone, not the watch (since the watch isn't synced with the phone anymore). Is there any other way to completely erase (or reset) the watch so that it can be set up as if it were brand new?
“...from your watch (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all content and settings)...”
 

mprofit

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2009
149
1
Atlanta
“...from your watch (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all content and settings)...”
Unfortunately and for whatever reason, all I can do on my watch right now is select a language and prepare it to sync with my phone, and I'm not able to go on the watch and erase settings. It seems the watch in "out of box" mode, but I can't actually use/activate it because of the update problem mentioned above.
 

Hater

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Sep 20, 2017
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It won't let you pair until it's updated, but the Watch app on iOS 10 won't show the WatchOS 4 update because it doesn't work with iOS 10

Keep your eyes out for a cheap 5S or SE I guess :(

Apple won't allow you to install watchOS 3, it has stopped being signed...
 

Solver

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Unfortunately and for whatever reason, all I can do on my watch right now is select a language and prepare it to sync with my phone, and I'm not able to go on the watch and erase settings. It seems the watch in "out of box" mode, but I can't actually use/activate it because of the update problem mentioned above.
Do you have any Profiles installed on the iPhone or watch?
 

mprofit

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2009
149
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Atlanta
It won't let you pair until it's updated, but the Watch app on iOS 10 won't show the WatchOS 4 update because it doesn't work with iOS 10

Keep your eyes out for a cheap 5S or SE I guess :(

Apple won't allow you to install watchOS 3, it has stopped being signed...
Would it be possible to download the final WatchOS 3.x update from here https://ipsw.me/ and install it by following the directions here https://www.wikihow.com/Downgrade-iOS? It looks like (from that site) WatchOS 3 still can be opened through iTunes.

Do you have any Profiles installed on the iPhone or watch?
I'm not sure what a profile is? Where do I find that?
 

Solver

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Would it be possible to download the final WatchOS 3.x update from here https://ipsw.me/ and install it by following the directions here https://www.wikihow.com/Downgrade-iOS? It looks like (from that site) WatchOS 3 still can be opened through iTunes.



I'm not sure what a profile is? Where do I find that?
If one is installed it would be under general/profiles in the iPhone settings app or the Watch app itself.

On the watch, after you select a language, does it display,
“open the apple watch app on your iphone and tap start pairing”

Do you see your watch in the watch app?
If not, what do you see?
If so, try this, https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204568
 
Last edited:

mprofit

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2009
149
1
Atlanta
If one is installed it would be under general/profiles in the iPhone settings app or the Watch app itself.

On the watch, after you select a language, does it display,
“open the apple watch app on your iphone and tap start pairing”

Do you see your watch in the watch app?
If not, what do you see?
If so, try this, https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204568
The watch does show up in my Apple ID section of settings on the phone. From there, I can select "remove from account." On the watch itself, after I select a language, it prompts me to open the app to pair watch and phone. However, I can't unpair the watch (as in the Apple support link) because the only page that's accessible while my watch is paired is the update page. If I tap to exit that page, I get the "allow update to continue" or "exit update" options.
 

Solver

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The watch does show up in my Apple ID section of settings on the phone. From there, I can select "remove from account." On the watch itself, after I select a language, it prompts me to open the app to pair watch and phone. However, I can't unpair the watch (as in the Apple support link) because the only page that's accessible while my watch is paired is the update page. If I tap to exit that page, I get the "allow update to continue" or "exit update" options.
I did find this,
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7988404
Is that the problem you are having?
If so, which exact watchOS 2 version does your watch app claim is “up to Date?”
 
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bodonnell202

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The watch does show up in my Apple ID section of settings on the phone. From there, I can select "remove from account." On the watch itself, after I select a language, it prompts me to open the app to pair watch and phone. However, I can't unpair the watch (as in the Apple support link) because the only page that's accessible while my watch is paired is the update page. If I tap to exit that page, I get the "allow update to continue" or "exit update" options.
Is your watch charged at least 50% and on the charger when you are attempting to update? The update won't proceed until both those conditions are met.
 

mprofit

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2009
149
1
Atlanta
I did find this,
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7988404
Is that the problem you are having?
If so, which exact watchOS 2 version does your watch app claim is “up to Date?”
That's the exact problem I'm having! I'm on watchOS 2.0.1.

Is your watch charged at least 50% and on the charger when you are attempting to update? The update won't proceed until both those conditions are met.
I think so, but I'll check on this when I have an opportunity in the next few days. If these conditions weren't met, would I still get the "your Watch is up to date" message, or would it be something else?
 

Solver

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That's the exact problem I'm having! I'm on watchOS 2.0.1.
I also found this,
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8135094

Telling a user that watchOS 2.0.1 is the latest version is just plain wrong!

Last thing to try,
Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap General > Usage > Software Update, then delete the update file. After you delete the file, try to download and install watchOS again.

Otherwise, i could be a serious bug with the Apple Watch app trying to update to the latest watchOS version but not able to update an early Apple Watch with this version so it can’t actually update anything but it must have the lastest update before it can pair the watch so it can work. This catch 22 mess would require Apple to update the watch app or maybe they could do some server side fix.
Talk to Apple.
 
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mprofit

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 4, 2009
149
1
Atlanta
I also found this,
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8135094

Telling a user that watchOS 2.0.1 is the latest version is just plain wrong!

Last thing to try,
Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap General > Usage > Software Update, then delete the update file. After you delete the file, try to download and install watchOS again.

Otherwise, i could be a serious bug with the Apple Watch app trying to update to the latest watchOS version but not able to update an early Apple Watch with this version so it can’t actually update anything but it must have the lastest update before it can pair the watch so it can work. This catch 22 mess would require Apple to update the watch app or maybe they could do some server side fix.
Talk to Apple.
Unfortunately, I can't even access settings in the watch app; in order to do that, I first need to pair the watch and phone, but I can't do that because of this weird "bug."

Thanks a bunch for the help, and for finding that Apple discussions thread. I'm 100% certain my watch isn't running watchOS 4, and so that person's issue is exactly mine. Looks like I need to talk with Apple.
 

Solver

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Unfortunately, I can't even access settings in the watch app; in order to do that, I first need to pair the watch and phone, but I can't do that because of this weird "bug."

Thanks a bunch for the help, and for finding that Apple discussions thread. I'm 100% certain my watch isn't running watchOS 4, and so that person's issue is exactly mine. Looks like I need to talk with Apple.
What happens with the watch app if you completely shut off Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi? It may get you further.
 

bodonnell202

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I think so, but I'll check on this when I have an opportunity in the next few days. If these conditions weren't met, would I still get the "your Watch is up to date" message, or would it be something else?
Good question. Since I don't have your setup it's not something I can replicate, but it seems like something is off as in my head it should work. Are you near an Apple Store?
 

Solver

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Good question. Since I don't have your setup it's not something I can replicate, but it seems like something is off as in my head it should work. Are you near an Apple Store?
All you need to do is go to Settings/Bluetooth and/or Settings/Wi-Fi on your iPhone and temporarily switch it/them off. Then check if there are any new options when using the Watch app.
 
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