My Apple Watch Would Not Install watchOS 6.1.1 ….. Here’s How I Fixed It

Today Apple released watchOS 6.1.1 and I decided to update my Apple Watch from the watch itself at the same time that I was was updating my iPhone. By that I mean using the software update function on each device so that they would update independently of each other. I have done that before and nothing bad has happened. But this time that turned out to be a mistake as the watchOS update would not install. It prompted me with an “Install” button  on the Apple Watch. Then it went to “verifying”, and then it put me back to “Install”. I tried rebooting the Apple Watch and that did not help.

So after I updated my iPhone to iOS 13.3, I tried doing the update from there and got exactly the same behavior. That was interesting. I tried rebooting the iPhone and that didn’t help either. So I tried this as my next troubleshooting step:

  • I opened the Watch app on my iPhone
  • I went to General > Usage > Software Update.
  • I then deleted the update file and tried  to download and install the update again. What was curious about that was that it sat there for a very long time and said it couldn’t communicate with my Apple Watch. Then it deleted the update. Weird.

Now by doing that, I got a different issue. It downloaded the update, but it said that It could not communicate with the Apple Watch. I checked the Bluetooth settings and it said it was connected. But I figured that it wasn’t really connected, so I put both the Apple Watch and iPhone into airplane mode and then took it out of that mode and let them connect to each other. I then tried updating again and it worked.

So, it seemed that I had a couple of problems and I believe that it all started with me trying to update my iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. That’s something that I will not be doing again going forward. Instead I will do the watchOS update from my iPhone after I install the iOS update. That seems to not only the safer choice, but it would have saved me an hour of troubleshooting this. But hopefully my pain is your gain if you find yourself in a similar situation.

UPDATE: Apparently, many other people are in a similar situation with watchOS 6.1.1:

The symptoms above are the same ones I had before I was successfully able to upgrade. And on top of that, one person responded directly to my Tweet trying to solicit help from Apple Support on Twitter:

Clearly there’s some sort of issue with watchOS 6.1.1. I’ll be keeping an eye on this.

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