How to Download WatchOS 7 & Install the New Apple Watch Update

WatchOS 7 is finally here! If you're reading this on September 16 and haven't received a notification on your Apple Watch, be patient; Apple rolls out its new Apple Watch software update gradually, beginning on the release date. The latest Apple Watch update includes new workout types, Maps updates, the ability to create your own custom Apple Watch faces, Apple Watch sleep tracking, a handwashing timer, and many other improvements and fixes. Ready to update to the latest watchOS update, watchOS 7? If you've been wondering how to update your Apple Watch, we’ll cover which Apple Watches are compatible with watchOS 7, how to get the watchOS 7 download, and how to update to watchOS 7 so you can begin to take advantage of the new Apple Watch software capabilities and features right away.

Related: Apple Announces WatchOS 7: Sleep Tracking, Face Sharing & More

A quick note on the question, "why is my Apple Watch update so slow?" A lot of people in our Facebook group have mentioned that the Apple Watch update has taken an unusually long time this year. It's normal for an Apple Watch software update to take up to an hour, so make sure to update when you don't need to use your watch; overnight is ideal.  

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watchOS 7 Compatibility: Which Apple Watches Are Compatible with the New watchOS Update?

To update your Apple Watch to the latest Apple Watch Update, you'll need an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 14 or later and one of these Apple Watch models:

How to Update Your Apple Watch to watchOS 7 using Your iPhone 

If you don't see the update as available right away once Apple has announced its release, give it a day or two. By then, the software update should be rolled out to all users.

To update your Apple Watch to Apple's latest operating system:

  1. Be sure the iPhone paired to your Apple Watch is updated to iOS 14
  2. Your Apple Watch should be charged to at least 50 percent and kept on its charger. 
  3. Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi. 
  4. Keep your Apple Watch next to your iPhone.
  5. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap the My Watch tab.
  6. Tap General, then tap Software Update.

    apple watch software update
  7. Download the update; enter your iPhone passcode and Apple Watch passcode if asked.
  8. A progress wheel will appear on your Apple Watch; don't quit the Watch app or restart your Apple Watch or iPhone until the update completes.
  9. Your Apple Watch will restart when the update is complete. 

How to Update Your Apple Watch without an iPhone

If your Apple Watch is already updated to watchOS 6, you don't need your iPhone to install watchOS 7 or future updates. All you need to do is:

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi.
  2. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch. 
  3. Tap General, then tap Software Update
  4. Tap Install if you see that watchOS 7 is available.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to install watchOS 7. 

Welcome to watchOS 7!

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.