iOS 14.6 now prompts Apple Watch Series 3 users to restore their device before updating

I recently wrote an opinion piece on why Apple should discontinue Apple Watch Series 3 now, as multiple users have been complaining that it has become nearly impossible to install watchOS updates. While the problem is still there, Apple seems to have made some changes in iOS 14.6, which now automatically asks the user to restore their Apple Watch Series 3 before updating it.

As I explained in my previous article, the problem is directly related to the GPS version of the Apple Watch Series 3, which has only 8GB of internal storage. Every time a user tries to update a Series 3 GPS model, they get an error message saying that there’s not enough space available to install the update.

I constantly hear from friends who own an Apple Watch Series 3 that they always get the same error when trying to install system updates. watchOS tells them that there isn’t enough storage space, even when they don’t have any third-party apps installed or music stored. According to Apple, the not-so-user-friendly solution is to completely restore all Apple Watch data and settings to install the latest version of watchOS.

With the latest versions of iOS and watchOS, Apple seems to have given up trying to force users to delete apps and media manually, which almost never solves the problem. As shown by a 9to5Mac reader on Twitter (with a screenshot in Portuguese), iOS 14.6 simply asks the user to unpair and restore the Apple Watch Series 3 in order to install watchOS updates.

To install the watchOS update, unpair your Apple Watch and pair it again in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

Previously, the message only recommended that the user should delete some content before trying to install the update again.

To install the watchOS update, your Apple Watch needs at least 3.0GB of available storage. You can free up storage by deleting apps using the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

Unfortunately, this also suggests that Apple is unlikely to fix this for Apple Watch Series 3 users. Whether this means that Series 3 models will be discontinued and will not support watchOS 8, we will find out in a few days at WWDC 2021.