The watchOS 4.3 update is a free download for all Apple Watch owners, even the original Apple Watch, and it will appear as an option after you install iOS 11.3. While the iOS 11.3 update may only take 15 to 20 minutes, the watchOS 4.3 update can take a lot longer to complete.
Even if downloads are fast, you should not try to squeeze in a watchOS 4.3 update if you have anywhere to be in the near future.
How Long Does the watchOS 4.3 Update Take?
Plan on at least an hour to download and install the watchOS 4.3 update to your Apple Watch. This could take longer on the first day of the release and depending on your Internet connection. The Apple Watch update process is slow and frustrating, especially if you are on much older watchOS software.
Before you can install watchOS 4, you need to download it to your iPhone, and then the iPhone transfers it to your Apple Watch where it needs to unzip and install. The Apple Watch needs to be on the charger for this process, and your phone must be on WiFi. You will need at least 50% battery life on your Apple Watch as well.
This table outlines how long the watchOS 4 update will take. This applies to all of the Apple Watch models. The Apple Watch 3 ships with watchOS 4 already installed.
|Backup Apple Watch (Optional)||1-30 minutes (Automatic)|
|watchOS 4.3 Download||5 to 10 minutes|
|watchOS 4.3 Update||20-60 minutes|
|Total watchOS 4.0 Update Time||35 minutes to 1.5 hours|
In most cases you should plan on 30-60 minutes to install the watchOS 4.3 update. This time will decrease after the initial rollout is complete, but not by much. The watchOS update process is painfully slow. Even if you only need to download and install, you should count on the Apple Watch being on the charger for at least an hour, and your phone remaining in range. If you start this update, you cannot leave your watch at home and go somewhere with your iPhone.
The best time and place to install watchOS 4.3 is at home when you have plenty of time to wait for the update to finish. Don’t attempt at work with only a little bit of time or right before you need to leave home and go somewhere. This installation process will take a while to complete.