Estimating the Duration of an Apple Watch Update: How Long Will It Take?


Ted Stinson

Updating your Apple Watch is quite a straightforward process, but estimating the duration of the update can be a bit tricky. To ensure a smooth update, you should have your Apple Watch charged to at least 50%, connected to Wi-Fi, and placed near your iPhone. Depending on your internet connection and the size of the update, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.

Step by Step Tutorial: Estimating the Duration of an Apple Watch Update

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to know that the update process includes downloading the update to your iPhone, transferring it to your Apple Watch, and then the Watch installing the update. Each step varies in time, but we’ll guide you through estimating the overall duration.

Step 1: Check the update size

Go to the Watch app on your iPhone and check the size of the update in the ‘General’ > ‘Software Update’ section.
The size of the update is a good indicator of how long the download phase might take. Larger updates will naturally take longer to download, especially if your internet connection isn’t the fastest.

Step 2: Consider your Wi-Fi speed

Think about your usual download speeds on your home Wi-Fi network.
If you know your Wi-Fi is fast and reliable, you can expect the download phase to be relatively quick. However, if you’ve experienced slow download speeds in the past, prepare for a longer wait.

Step 3: Factor in the transfer time to your Apple Watch

Understand that transferring the update from your iPhone to your Apple Watch can take a while, even with a good Wi-Fi connection.
This is often the longest part of the update process. The transfer is done via Bluetooth, which isn’t as fast as Wi-Fi. Be patient during this phase.

Step 4: Account for the installation process

Consider that the installation process on the Apple Watch itself also takes time.
Once the update is transferred, your Apple Watch will begin installing it. This can vary greatly in duration, but it’s not something you can speed up, so it’s another waiting game here.

After completing the update, your Apple Watch will restart, and you can start enjoying the new features and improvements that come with the latest version of watchOS.

Tips: A Smooth Apple Watch Update Experience

  • Ensure your iPhone and Apple Watch are up to date with the latest software before starting the update.
  • Keep both devices near each other throughout the update process to avoid any connection issues.
  • Avoid using your iPhone or Apple Watch for other tasks while the update is in progress to prevent any interruptions.
  • If the update seems to be taking an exceptionally long time, consider restarting both your iPhone and Apple Watch and starting the update process again.
  • Be patient and avoid interrupting the update by taking your Apple Watch off the charger; this could cause more problems and delays.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my Apple Watch update is stuck?

If you notice that the update progress bar hasn’t moved for an extended period, your update may be stuck.
Try restarting both your iPhone and Apple Watch, and then attempt the update process again.

Can I use my Apple Watch while it’s updating?

It’s best not to use your Apple Watch while it’s updating, as this can interfere with the process.
Wait until the update is complete and your Apple Watch has restarted before using it again.

What should I do if my Apple Watch update fails?

If your update fails, try restarting both your iPhone and Apple Watch and attempt the update again.
Ensure your devices have a strong Wi-Fi connection and that your Apple Watch is adequately charged.

Why is my Apple Watch update taking so long?

Several factors can contribute to a lengthy update, including the update size, Wi-Fi speed, and Bluetooth transfer rate.
Be patient, and make sure your devices remain connected and close to each other during the process.

Can I speed up my Apple Watch update?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to speed up the update as it’s dependent on your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
Just ensure your devices are fully charged and connected to a reliable Wi-Fi network for the best chance at a smooth update.


  1. Check the update size in the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Consider your Wi-Fi speed and its impact on the download phase.
  3. Factor in the transfer time from your iPhone to your Apple Watch.
  4. Account for the installation process on the Apple Watch itself.


Updating your Apple Watch should be a hassle-free experience, but estimating the duration can sometimes feel like a guessing game. However, with a bit of preparation and understanding of the factors involved, you can have a good idea of how long it might take. Remember, patience is key during an Apple Watch update. Ensuring your devices are charged, connected to Wi-Fi, and close to each other will help the process go more smoothly. And if something does go awry, don’t panic—restarting your devices and trying again usually does the trick. So, the next time an update rolls out, you’ll be ready to tackle it like a pro and get back to using your Apple Watch with all its new features in no time.