We never said updating to a new operating system was a perfect process. In fact, you can do everything right and still run into issues on your otherwise benign smartphone, tablet, or watch. Make all the backups in the world, and you could still encounter bugs or mystifying problems when you update your OS—and there might be no going back.
At least, that’s what’s happening to an unknown number of Apple Watch owners who reported some quirky issues after updating to iOS 14 and, subsequently, watchOS 7. These range from the annoying, like an Apple Watch failing to record your outdoor workout with the GPS, to the problematic, like an Apple Watch suffering reduced battery life for no obvious reason.
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Apple has published a laundry list of potential issues, which is worth reading if your Apple Watch has been acting strangely following your recent update:
- Your workout route maps are missing in the Fitness app on iPhone for previous GPS-enabled workouts from your Apple Watch.
- The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
- The Fitness app or Health app fail to launch or load data on your iPhone.
- The Health app or Fitness app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your iPhone.
- The Activity app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your Apple Watch.
- Your environmental sound levels data or headphone audio levels data from Apple Watch is missing in the Health app on iPhone.
- Increased battery drain on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
Thankfully, the Apple-blessed solution to address these issues is simple. Start by opening up the Watch app on your iPhone, and then tap on All Watches in the upper-left corner, tap on the “i” icon next to your Apple Watch, and tap on Unpair Apple Watch.
Your phone should make a backup of your watch before the unpairing process begins—which resets the Watch, naturally, so you’ll then use that backup to restore back to what you had previously.
Apple also suggests that if this doesn’t work, you might want to try the nuclear approach on your iPhone: erasing all settings. That seems a bit much, but it’s an option if your Apple Watch issues remain unsolved. Make sure you’ve made a fresh backup of your iPhone prior to the big erase, which you can do by plugging your iPhone into your computer and pulling up Finder (or iTunes, on Windows) or by using the much simpler iCloud method for backups.
Once you’re ready, pull up the Settings app, tap on General, scroll down a bit to tap on Reset, and tap on Erase All Content and Settings. Once your iPhone has finished its self-purge, you can restore from your backup. And if that doesn’t fix your Apple Watch issues, it might be time to have a chat with a Genius.