Apple’s latest watchOS update, 8.5, now has a recovery mode that allows you to restore your Apple Watch if it gets stuck on the dreaded red exclamation point screen (via 9to5Mac† The update was outlined in a support article updated on Monday – while the previous version of the article only recommended restarting the watch and then setting up a repair via email with Apple support, it now describes the process of restoring your Home look.
Apple’s article states that you need an iPhone with iOS 15.4 to go through the steps. If your watch shows an animation of a phone and watch being brought together, or a red exclamation mark, the process to fix it is relatively simple:
- Put your watch on the charger
- Unlock your phone and bring it close
- Double click on the side button of the watch, next to the crown
A prompt should then appear on your phone informing you that it has detected an Apple Watch in recovery mode, and should initiate the steps you can follow to restore the Watch.
There can be some pickiness about the type of Wi-Fi network your phone is connected to during the process so if the restore doesn’t work, you may want to read the fine print of the article.
A colleague asked if this new feature would make it less risky to run beta software on your Watch. The answer to that question seems to depend on the type of risk you’re talking about. If you’re concerned about your watch being bricked by unfinished software (a few beta testers have reported seeing a red exclamation mark before, leading to a conversation with Apple support), it seems like this feature could potentially be a home remedy. to make.
It’s probably still best to leave Watch betas to the brave – some reports of bricking describe an infinitely spinning loading screen, which this process may not solve. There’s also not much reassurance for those concerned about getting stuck with an unusable buggy watch. Apple’s beta software FAQ still states that “Apple Watch can’t be restored to previously released OS versions once the public beta is installed,” meaning this restore feature won’t help you revert to a public version of Apple Watch. watchOS.
Apple did not respond to a question from The edge asking if there is a way to use this feature to go back from a buggy beta.
Whether or not this update changes the beta calculus, it’s definitely a win that users will be able to fix firmware issues at home instead of sending their watches in for service. To update to watchOS 8.5, you can follow Apple’s instructions here. If you have a Series 3, keep in mind that the process can be more complicated due to limited storage space.