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Technology is incredible. It helps us do many things we once only dreamed about. But sometimes, technology can frustrate us because it doesn’t function properly or gets stuck during a process. Ever had an Apple Watch get stuck on an update while trying to pair?

If your Apple Watch gets stuck on an update while trying to pair with your phone, start simple and restart both devices. Check that both the watch and the phone are up to date on software. Unpair the Apple Watch from your phone and then re-pair it. These troubleshooting steps will fix most issues.

In this article, we’re walking through the steps to fix a pairing issue between your Apple Watch and your iPhone. The issue presents as an update that gets stuck. Read on to find out just what to do to solve this problem.

Pairing an Apple Watch with iPhone

Let’s look briefly at how you pair an Apple Watch with your phone. Here are the steps .

  1. Turn the watch on. Press and hold the button on the side to prompt the Apple logo.
  2. Go to the Apple Watch app on your phone. Bring the devices near each other to see the pairing screen appear or open the app manually.
  3. Select ‘Set Up for Myself
  4. Follow the prompts to pair the devices. Bring the Apple Watch into the viewfinder of your iPhone.
  5. Continue through the screens that walk through the rest of the setup.

When the process works correctly, you’re done at this point. If you encounter a message that says you need to update your Apple Watch OS, you’ll need to do that before you can successfully pair it with your phone.

Why Does Apple Watch Get Stuck on an Update While Pairing?

Generally, if your watch gets stuck on an update, it runs on an outdated OS. So, you need to make sure you go in and check what OS your watch is running.

If you find it’s running on an older version, it’s time to update. You could also find an update that was downloaded but never installed. In this case, you’ll need to delete that file and start over. It could be what’s holding up the pairing.

The other thing to look for is a beta profile. If you see there is a beta profile or you already knew of one, try deleting the profile to see if that fixes the issue. A beta profile allows public betas to run on your device that could cause problems like this.

How to Solve the Problem

Now, let’s get into the steps for how you can solve this problem. Try any or all of the following to get your Apple Watch un-stuck from an update while pairing to your phone.

Restart Both Devices

When technology won’t work right, a simple restart or reset often fixes the issue. Software has a way of getting hung up on details. One program may get in the way of another.

Turn the watch off when your Apple Watch is stuck on update and won’t pair. You should also turn the phone off. Restart both devices to allow for a fresh start. You may find your next pairing attempt goes smoothly.

If this doesn’t fix the issue, proceed to the next step.

Install Any Necessary Software Updates

Once you’ve restarted the Apple Watch and your iPhone, check for any software updates. Here’s how to do that:


  • Go into Settings.
  • Scroll down and select General.
  • Tap Software Update.
  • The current iOS version your phone is running will appear. Your device will indicate it’s running the most recent update or you’ll see a new version you can Download and Install.

Originally, you had to update your Apple Watch using your iPhone. Apple changed that. Watches running watchOS 6 and on can update using only the watch.

Apple Watch:

  • Connect your watch to a WiFi network.
  • Go to Settings directly on your Apple Watch.
  • Scroll down and select General.
  • Tap Software Update.
  • As with the iPhone, you’ll find an Install selection if there is a new OS available.

It’s best with both devices to keep them connected to their chargers while updating the software. Updates are draining to the battery and will be processed more efficiently with a stable power source.

Once you’ve updated your devices, try the pairing again. Should you find there is still an issue, move to the next step.

Unpair and Re-Pair

If you’ve restarted and updated your watch and phone only to find out the issue still exists, try selecting Unpair in your Bluetooth settings menu. This will sever any connection that was stuck and allow you to start over.

You can also do this by turning Bluetooth off and back on. Once you’ve reset it, try the pairing steps again to see if your watch gets stuck. Should you find it still doesn’t make it past the update screen, you may need expert help.

Contact Apple Support

There are some issues that should be tackled by an expert. If you try all the steps above and still can’t get your Apple Watch paired with your iPhone, it’s time to reach out for support.

You have several options for contacting Apple Support. You can go online to the website to look for help. There are many topics you can browse or you can chat with a support specialist.

You can also go to your local Apple store to get help. Sometimes you can get help on a walk-in basis but you may want to call ahead and schedule an appointment as they are usually quite busy.

There’s also an Apple Support phone number. Call 1-800-MY-APPLE to speak with a professional who can help you with the pairing problem.

Additional Information

One of the biggest mistakes by consumers of Apple products is failing to consider the compatibility of the devices they’re trying to pair. Your Apple Watch may not be able to pair with your iPhone because it’s too new or, vice versa, too old.

For instance, the watchOS 9 is not compatible with Apple Watches that are earlier than Series 4. The same is true of iPhones, watchOS 9 isn’t compatible with anything older than iPhone 8.

Furthermore, if you have an iPhone 8 and are trying to pair it with an Apple Watch running watchOS 9, the iPhone must be running on iOS 16.

Pairing Success

It’s likely that somewhere along the line, one of the steps we’ve discussed here will get your Apple Watch unstuck and successfully paired with your iPhone. Kudos to you for persevering.

Sometimes it just takes a little patience to get things working properly. Going forward, it’s best you keep your devices updated to the latest versions of their respective softwares because updates help eradicate glitches and keep things running smoothly.


Your Apple Watch may get stuck on an update while trying to pair with your phone. You can try restarting the devices to see if that fixes the issue. Make sure they’re both running the most current software. Try turning off Bluetooth or unpairing then re-pairing the two to solve the problem.

In most cases, you’ll find your Apple Watch un-stuck by this article’s end.