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Here’s How Long the watchOS 5 Update Takes to Finish



The watchOS 5 update is live and it brings a ton of great new Apple Watch features. This is a major update and it can take a long time to install, especially on the first few days of the release. We’re seeing download estimates of up to two hours right now.

The watchOS 5.0 update is a free download for the Apple Watch Series 1, Apple Watch Series 2 and Apple Watch Series 3. It is not coming to the original model. It ships on the Apple Watch 4.

Even when your watchOS 5 download is quick this takes a while to complete because of the transfer process. Before you start, make sure you follow these steps to take before installing watchOS 5, and read our guide on how to install watchOS 5.

How Long Does the watchOS 5 Update Take?

This is how long the watchOS 5 update takes to finish installing.

This is how long the watchOS 5 update takes to finish installing.

Expect to spend at least an hour downloading and installing the watchOS 5 update this week. This may take even longer on the first day as download speeds are typically slower due to high demand.

If you are now upgrading directly from watchOS 4.3, this process may take much longer as you need to download a bigger update and this adds to both download and transfer times.

This time doesn’t include the time it takes to install iOS 12, which you need before installing watchOS 5. You need to plug your Apple Watch in, it needs at least 50% battery life and you need WiFi.

This table outlines how long the watchOS 5 update takes to finish. This is the same for all Apple Watch models. The new Apple Watch 4 ships with watchOS 5, so you won’t need to do this until watchOS 5.0.1 or watchOS 5.1 arrives.

Backup Apple Watch (Optional)1-30 minutes (Automatic)
watchOS 5.0 Download5 to 10 minutes
watchOS 5.0 Update Installation20-60 minutes
Total watchOS 5.0 Update Time35 minutes to 1.5 hours

In many situations you can finish the watchOS 5 upgrade in about 30 to 60 minutes, but it may take longer. We’ve seen very long watchOS 5 install times in the past when Apple delivers a major update and that looks like the case so far today.

The watchOS 5 upgrade process is very slow compared to iOS 12, so plan for that and don’t expect to start this upgrade and then dash out the door in 15-20 minutes.

The best time to install watchOS 5 is when you have plenty of time and you are at home with your Apple Watch on the charger and your iPhone nearby. Don’t try this in a public setting or at work if you need to leave anytime soon.

Once the watchOS 5 update install finishes, you will see a notification on your iPhone. Be sure to start by, testing out the new watchOS 5 features show below.

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