How Long Does watchOS 3.0 Update Take to Finish

The watchOS 3.0 update is finally here delivering better performance, new features and new watchfaces to your Apple Watch. This software dramatically speeds up the Apple Watch, which may be enough to keep you from buying the Apple Watch series 2.

Apple now offers the watchOS 3.0 update on the Apple Watch as a free update to all users. You need to install iOS 10 on your iPhone before you can install watchOS 3.0 on your Apple Watch.

Advertisement

The iOS 10 update takes 30 minutes for most users, but can take an hour or longer if you need to update or run into any troubles. Here’s how to install iOS 10 if you need to do that first.

Now that the the watchOS update is out and many users already downloaded it you shouldn’t need to wait for slow downloads, but it can still take a long time to install the new Apple Watch update.

How Long Does the watchOS Update Take?

How long the watchOS 3.0 update takes to install on the Apple Watch.

How long the watchOS 3.0 update takes to install on the Apple Watch.

Advertisement

You should plan on at least an hour to download and install the watchOS 3.0 update on your Apple Watch. This could take as long as two hours depending on your Internet connection and other factors.

Advertisement

How to Install watchOS 3.0 Update

Part of the reason the watchOS 3.0 update takes so long is because it first downloads to your iPhone and then is sent to your Apple Watch where it unpacks and installs. You need to have your Apple Watch on the charger and your phone must be connected to WiFi.

The table below outlines how long it takes to update to watchOS 3.0 on the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport.

TaskTime
Backup Apple Watch (Optional)1-30 minutes (Automatic)
watchOS 3.0 Download15 to 60 minutes
watchOS 3.0 Update1-2 hours
Total watchOS 3.0 Update Time1.5 hours to 2.5 hours

In our tests it takes about two hours to install watchOS 3.0 on average, which is what you should plan for even if you don’t need to do all the steps listed above.

Advertisement

The best time to install watchOS 3.0 is when you are going to be sitting at your desk for a few hours or right before you go to bed.

The bulk of your time will not be downloading and preparing for the watchOS 3.0 update like it is for iOS 10. Instead it is spent actually installing the new watchOS update on your Apple Watch 2.

The slides below show you what’s new in watchOS 3.0 and why it might be enough to keep you from needing to upgrade to the Apple Watch 2.

What’s New in watchOS 3.0: Get the Best Apple Watch 2 Features Today

Faster Apple Watch Apps & Performance

1 / 9
Faster Apple Watch Apps & Performance

When you launch an Apple Watch app on watchOS 2, you may need to wait a full minute to use the app. With watchOS 3.0 the same apps open instantly.

This means that many apps that were useless in many situations are now worthwhile and easier to use.

Advertisement

Background app updates are also possible so that when you open the app, the info you want is already there.

Developers don't need to update apps to make this work. The Apple Watch is just faster with watchOS 3.0.

Advertisement

This is the most important every-day watchOS 3.0 feature, but it is not the only big feature that Apple announced.

1 / 9