Apple Watch Series 3 was first released in September 2017, bringing improvements in fitness and a faster processor. Nearly four years later, in 2021, Apple is still selling the Series 3 as an entry-level Apple Watch starting at $ 199, which is a $ 80 saving compared to the new Apple Watch SE. As I recently learned, “selling” and “reasonable support” are two very different things, and updating Apple Watch Series 3 in 2021 is a nightmare of fierce technological obstacles to overcome.
Updating Apple Watch is usually a tediously long but simple process: it loads your watch by up to 50 percent, plugs it in, and waits for the slow process to transfer the update and install it on your smartwatch.
But the non-cellular Apple Watch Series 3 has a small internal storage of 8 GB, much of which is used by the operating system and other large software. So installing a major update, like the recently released watchOS version 7.4, happens something like this:
- Unpair your Apple Watch and clean it to factory settings
- Reset your Apple Watch and restore from backup
- I understand that you do not need to restore your backup yet
- Watch an episode or two of Brooklyn nine nine While waiting for the backup to complete the restore
- Restart on step one, but as a new Apple Watch, without restoring an existing backup
- Update the new Apple Watch, which now has enough free memory to upgrade
- Remember how much you want to use this face unlock feature, because everyone activates first.
- Unpair your Apple Watch and delete it for the third time
- Get back from your backup and finally use it normally
The problem seems to apply regardless of whether or not you install an application stack. Apple’s support page does not even recommend it. Series 3 owners try to free up space, and simply plead to go directly to the aforementioned reboot cycle.
The current process is clearly not sustainable.
I’m the editor of a tech news site, and I want to spend a lot of time and energy dealing with this, no matter how frustrating it may be. But if you’re a regular user, the same person who probably had an outdated and outdated watch in the first place, why the hell do you care about the worst update mechanism since GE’s instructions? To replace the smart lamp? The ability to update your device software is important – for example, the recently released watchOS 7.4.1 fixes a serious security flaw. But given the difficulty of installation, it probably won’t bother many Series 3 owners.
I know Apple would like to claim support for as many generations of older devices as possible with each new update. It is one of the biggest draws of Apple’s products, compared to the average refresh rate on competing Android phones (e.g. Galaxy S8 which has just been discontinued).
But the Series 3’s miserable upgrade process is a strong argument that Apple is a little more generous in what it considers “current” devices. Holding the Series 3 at this time has always been a steal, a way for Apple to eliminate old inventory and take advantage of its mature, long-term production processes, even to attract users who Oh true You can no longer pay $ 80 for the significantly better Apple Watch SE. It’s a trend like … The Apple TV HD is inexplicably still for sale, which is about six years old and costs only $ 30 less than the new 4K model. (Just like Series 3, no new Apple TV HD will buy in 2021.)
But hopefully, with watchOS 8 almost certainly announced at WWDC in June, the company takes the basic features of its devices into account when considering what it does and does not support. Because Apple will focus on selling a product of this age in the future, it will need to be more aware of how it actually handles its software support.