Apple has officially released watchOS 3, the major software update that significantly improves all Apple Watches. Apple Watch owners can download and install watchOS 3 for free from the built-in Watch app on iPhone. There are a few requirements to keep in mind before updating…

How to prepare Apple Watch for update

  1. Before you update to watchOS 3, you will need to update your paired iPhone to iOS 10 which is also available starting today. The iOS 10 GM should be fine, but you won’t be able to update to watchOS 3 from iOS 9 or earlier.
  2. Your Apple Watch will also need at least 50% charge to update. Apple Watch charges quickly but it won’t update even if it’s connected to the charger and not at least at 50%. If your iPhone is at 50% or higher already, you’ll still need to keep the charger attached as the update could take a while and you don’t want to have your watch power down before the update is complete.
  3. Your iPhone will also need to be on Wi-Fi to download and install the watchOS 3 update to your Apple Watch. This won’t work over cellular. Be sure to keep your iPhone and Apple Watch in close range during the update process to avoid interrupting the update or having a slower experience.

How to update Apple Watch to watchOS 3

  1. Now that you’re prepared, launch the Watch app on your iPhone, then look for the My Watch tab and General → Software Update sections.
  2. Enter your Apple Watch passcode if prompted, and follow the on-screen prompts from your iPhone.
  3. Wait for Apple Watch to update. You can view the progress from the Watch app. Expect two restarts on the Apple Watch during the process as the progress indicator completes two times.

The free watchOS 3 software update is available for all Apple Watch models including Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition. New models including Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2 should ship with watchOS 3 pre-installed, and the same update steps apply to future watchOS updates.

Check out Jeff Benjamin‘s hands-on video from the watchOS 3 beta period below:

And read our watchOS 3 feature overview to see what’s new.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created