How to Make Your Apple Watch Update Faster

If you own an Apple Watch, you know how long it can take to update your device. You’ve probably deferred updates simply because you didn’t have the time—you have to keep the Watch charged and your iPhone next to it, which is inconvenient. This can be a problem, especially if the update is meant to solve a security issue.

Fortunately, there’s a way for you to speed up the Apple Watch update process. Apple doesn’t promote this method, but it’s safe and superior. Let’s take a look at how to make watchOS update faster.

How Apple Watch Updates Work

Apple Watch updates work like most software updates on Apple products. The company makes them available over-the-air (OTA), which means you download them wirelessly. This is much better than the previous method, where you had to connect your iPhone to a computer and grab the update through iTunes.

For the Apple Watch, the default update method is through your iPhone using Bluetooth. This is serviceable, but Bluetooth is notoriously slow. That’s intentional, since Bluetooth is designed for short-range data transfers that don’t consume much power. But when you want your Apple Watch to update quickly, it’s not ideal.

How to Force Your Apple Watch to Update Faster

If you need to update your Apple Watch swiftly, it’s best to do it over Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth. The former is much faster than the latter, though Apple doesn’t recommend using Wi-Fi because it drains the Apple Watch’s battery faster than Bluetooth. Regardless, if you have your charger nearby, there’s no concern. So, let’s see how you can force your Apple Watch to update over Wi-Fi.

First, make sure your Apple Watch is on the charger and at least 75% charged. Apple requires it to be around 50% usually, but using Wi-Fi consumes much more battery. Then connect your iPhone to its charger and hold it near the Watch.

Next, if you have an Apple Watch Series 6 or later, you should ideally connect to a 5GHz network, not 2.4GHz. This will help your update download faster. If you don’t have a 5GHz network or you’re using an older Apple Watch, this process will still work, but it’ll be slower. Also, if you’re running watchOS 5 or later, make sure your Apple Watch is connected to the same Wi-Fi as your iPhone.

If you have a modern router, you’ll most likely see two different Wi-Fi networks that you can connect to, one of which ends in “5GHz” or similar.

Once you’ve done that, unlock your iPhone, open the Watch app, tap the My Watch tab at the bottom-left of your screen, and go to General > Software Update.

Once you’ve accepted the terms and conditions of the update, wait until you see an estimated time. This time will vary depending on various factors, including the size of the update file.

Now, on your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn it off. Once you’ve done that, go back to the Watch app. You’ll be prompted to turn Bluetooth back on (potentially multiple times), but don’t do it; press Cancel.

This way, the update will be forced to download via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. You should find that the estimated download time is now drastically reduced. Once the update is complete, you should enable Bluetooth again, otherwise your Apple Watch won’t pair with your iPhone.

Improve Your Apple Watch Experience

If you have the time and need to preserve your Watch’s battery life, it’s better to update via Bluetooth. But if you’re in a hurry and have your charger to hand, this little trick will help you speed up the process. It’s one of the many tips to improve your Apple Watch experience.

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