Updating an Apple Watch Series 3 is a nightmare in 2021

The Apple Watch Series 3 was first launched in September 2017, bringing health enhancements and a sooner processor. Practically 4 years later, in 2021, Apple is nonetheless promoting the Series 3 as its entry-level Apple Watch mannequin beginning at $199, an $80 financial savings in comparison with the more moderen Apple Watch SE. Solely, as I’ve just lately realized, “nonetheless promoting” and “supporting in a cheap method” are two very various things, and updating an Apple Watch Series 3 in 2021 is a nightmare of infuriating technological hoops to leap by means of.

Usually, updating an Apple Watch is an annoyingly lengthy however simple course of: you cost your Watch as much as 50 %, plug it in, and look forward to the gradual strategy of the replace transferring and putting in to your smartwatch.

However the non-cellular Apple Watch Series 3 has a tiny 8GB of inner storage, a honest chunk of which is taken up by the working system and different essential software program. So putting in a main replace — just like the just lately launched watchOS 7.4 — goes one thing like this:

  • Unpair and wipe your Apple Watch to manufacturing unit settings
  • Arrange the Apple Watch once more and restore from backup
  • Notice you weren’t supposed to revive out of your backup but
  • Watch an episode or two of Brooklyn 9-9 when you look forward to the backup to complete restoring
  • Begin from the first step once more — however as a brand-new Apple Watch, with out restoring from an present backup
  • Replace utterly recent Apple Watch, which now has sufficient free reminiscence to replace
  • Take into account how a lot you truly need to use this face unlocking function everybody retains hyping up in the primary place
  • Unpair and wipe the Apple Watch a third time
  • Restore out of your backup and at last use usually
  • And the difficulty appears to use whether or not you’ve put in a pile of apps or not. Apple’s support website doesn’t even recommend that Series 3 house owners trouble attempting to clear up house — it simply advocates that they go straight to the aforementioned reset cycle.

    Screen Shot 2021 05 04 at 2.22.33 PM

    It’s clear that the present course of is untenable.

    I’m an editor at a expertise information web site and prepared to place in the comical period of time and power to handle this, irritating because it could be. However in the event you’re a extra informal person — the identical one who is prone to personal an older, outdated Watch in the primary place — why on earth would you trouble with the worst replace mechanism since GE’s directions for resetting a sensible bulb? And with the ability to replace your {hardware}’s software program is vital: the just-released watchOS 7.4.1, for instance, patches a essential safety flaw. However with it being so tough to put in, there’s a good likelihood that loads of Series 3 house owners gained’t trouble.

    I do know that Apple loves to say help for as many older {hardware} generations as it may with every new replace. It’s one of many greatest appeals of Apple merchandise, in comparison with the lackluster tempo of updates on competing Android telephones (just like the just-deprecated Galaxy S8).

    However the depressing replace course of for the Series 3 is a robust argument that Apple is being a little too beneficiant with what it considers “present” {hardware}. Preserving the Series 3 round this lengthy was at all times a cash seize, a method for Apple to filter out outdated stock and reap the benefits of mature manufacturing processes which have lengthy since damaged even in order to attraction to customers who actually can’t afford the additional $80 for the markedly higher Apple Watch SE. It’s a related pattern to the inexplicably still-on-sale Apple TV HD, which is virtually six years outdated and prices simply $30 lower than the brand-new 4K mannequin. (Very like the Series 3, don’t purchase a new Apple TV HD in 2021 both.)

    However hopefully, with the announcement of watchOS 8 virtually assuredly across the nook at WWDC this June, the corporate takes into consideration the essential performance of its {hardware} when contemplating what it does and doesn’t supply help for. As a result of if Apple is going to insist on promoting a product this outdated in the long run, it’s going to must be a lot extra conscious of simply the way it truly handles its software program help.

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