Following the public rollout of iOS 15.4 and watchOS 8.5 on Monday, Apple updated its support document saying that users can now restore their Apple Watch firmware using an iPhone. Previously, in case of firmware issues, they needed to be sent to an Apple Support center for service.
If your Apple Watch stops working due to some firmware issue, you will see an alert on your device. In case it shows an animation with a watch and iPhone being brought close together, it means that you need to update or restore your Apple Watch via a nearby iPhone. In some cases, it might also show a red exclamation mark.
Note that your iPhone needs to have iOS 15.4 or later and your Apple Watch requires watchOS 8.5 or later for the update process to work. Additionally, your iPhone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth need to be turned on. Your Apple Watch needs to be put on the charger during the update. To initiate the restore process, you simply have to press the side button twice and follow the steps that appear on the iPhone.
Apple notes that if these steps don’t work, you’ll have to ensure that your Wi-Fi uses a 2.4GHz network instead of 5GHz. Also, make sure that you’re not on a captive or 802.1X network.
Previously, Apple Watches that showed a red exclamation mark icon needed to be sent to an Apple Support center for service. The latest update should now let Apple Watch users restore their firmware themselves without contacting Apple Support to initiate a mail-in repair.