Skip to content

How to reset Apple Watch Series 3 to install new watchOS updates

Many Apple Watch Series 3 owners are unable to update to the latest watchOS release because their device doesn’t have enough storage space. But Apple says there is a way to get around this issue.

The solution is to reset your Apple Watch, wiping all data and settings, before updating. We’ll show you how.

The problem has been plaguing owners of Apple Watch 3 GPS models in particular. It’s because the device, unlike its cellular siblings or more recent Watch models, has just 8GB of internal storage instead of 16GB.

When you attempt to install a watchOS 7 update, you’re greeted by an error that tells you don’t have enough storage space — even if you remove all installed apps and everything else that can be deleted.

But there is a workaround, Apple says. In iOS 14.6, you’ll be prompted to reset your Apple Watch Series 3 before attempting to update it.

How to reset Apple Watch Series 3

You first need to reset your Apple Watch Series 3 to remove all data, then install the update. You can then restore from a backup if you wish, or start from scratch. Start by following these steps:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone, ensuring your Apple Watch is nearby.
  2. Inside the My Watch tab, tap All Watches at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap the i button next to your Watch.
  4. Tap Unpair Apple Watch, then tap again to confirm. Choose to keep your cellular plan if you have a GPS + Cellular device.

How to reset Apple Watch 3
Tap “Unpair,” then tap again to confirm.
Screenshots: Cult of Mac

You will need to enter your Apple ID password to disable Activation Lock and complete the unpairing process. Before your data is erased, a fresh backup is created and you can use that to restore Apple Watch later.

Updating Apple Watch Series 3

When Apple Watch has finished unpairing, it will restart and you can set it up again. It’s important that you set it up “as new” the first time — before any data is restored — so that you can then update the device.

To install the latest watchOS update, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Under the My Watch tab, tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.

How to reset Apple Watch 3
Tap “General,” then “Software Update.”
Screenshots: Cult of Mac

Your Apple Watch Series 3 should now update without any errors.

Restoring from backup

If, after the latest watchOS update is installed, you want to restore your Apple Watch data, you’ll need to repeat the steps above for resetting your device to remove all data again. You can then choose to restore from your latest backup, rather than setting up “as new.”

It’s a long-winded process but, sadly, it’s the only watch to update Apple Watch Series 3 for now. Given the complications, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s next-generation watchOS 8 update drops support for Series 3 devices altogether before they are finally discontinued.

Previous article Ingenious AirTag mount doubles as a reflector for discreet bike tracking
Next article Casetify Ring makes iPhone easier to hold onto, doubles as a stand

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

★ Customer reviews

Let customers speak for us

730 reviews
81%
(591)
10%
(75)
6%
(41)
1%
(7)
2%
(16)
Almost perfect

Application was simple but despite careful cleaning/prep, two faint bubbles occasionally appear, but since they're along edge, don't affect functionality. Otherwise, performs as advertised.

Quality paper textured screen protector 5/5

Using the Apple Pencil 2nd gen with this gives far more control and a more traditional writing feel. It definitely makes sketching and even taking notes anymore natural experience. However, finger sensitivity does go down a bit. You’ll have to be more intentional as light touches will no longer be recognized as easily. It also completely removes screen glare which is awesome, but it does make greasy smudges more difficult to clean off, and you can still see smudges in the textured surface.

But the negatives are only mildly annoying. The benefits far out way anything negative.

My Thoughts on SwitchEasy PaperLike iPad Screen Protector

Lengthy product title....Yes, I ordered this screen protector based on Cult of Mac's product description that it's like writing on paper. Bottom line...it's a far better screen protector that aids "writing" with an Apple Pencil (I have the 1st gen version), greatly reduces finger prints (always good) when using the Apple Pencil, input is immediate and precise. I'm a lefty and this screen protector allows minimal effort when writing electronically. I'm not an artist so I cannot rate how this screen protector handles an artist's desires. I will say my primitive artwork (cups, objects, etc.) drawn with my iPencil are spot on and represent my vision for my coffee cups, primitive as they may be,.

Overall, I have no buyer's regrets for this purchase. However, some caveats...the application instructions are verrry sparse (A and B on two tabs, that's it). Once on, the tactile sensation is different...it has a "pebbly" like feel when you run your finger over the screen protectors surface. It's a strange sensation that always surprises me, yet, its this "pebbly" surface that allows the user to work their magic, whether writing or drawing as well as keeping fingerprints to a minimum. For use on a iPad, it works wonderfully and will capture your vision. However, this screen protector will never feel the same as writing with a fountain pen on quality paper.

Again, no buyer's remorse...just my thoughts on a quality product that works well on an iPad.

Tom

Very nice metal strap

Looks good, quality feels good as well.

Cute, yet effective protection for my AirPods Pro

This AirPods Pro case fits pretty snugly, and seems to protect my AirPods pretty well. Wireless charging through the case works great -- and it is also easy to access the Lightning charging port on the bottom. The ring for attaching to a backpack or belt loop is fairly solid. And it looks like a tiny suitcase :) Overall, it works great for me!