watchOS 8.7.1 fixes the Apple Watch Series 3 reboot bug

If your Apple Watch Series 3 restarts unexpectedly, be sure to download and install the watchOS 8.7.1 update which fixes this apparent reboot bug.

Apple Watch Series 3 with Leather Loop lying on its side on a table
  • What’s happening? Apple on August 17, 2022, released watchOS 8.7.1, a bug-fix software update available only for the Apple Watch Series 3.
  • Why care? The Apple Watch Series 3 suffers from a software bug causing it to suddenly restarts for no apparent reason. This update fixes that.
  • What to do? Choose Software Update in the Watch app on your iPhone to download and install this update on your Series 3 watch and fix the reboot bug.

watchOS 8.7.1 fixes the Apple Watch Series 3 reboot bug

watchOS 8.7.1 is a minor update to watchOS 8, which arrived for compatible Apple Watch models in September 2021. But sometimes a simple bug-fix update is all an annoyed owner of an Apple Watch Series 3 needs.

As one such customer, I can tell you right away that those mysterious reboots have been head-scratching, there’s no question about that. At first, I chalked it up to a worn-out battery on my Apple Watch Series 3, which I’ve owned for five years.

watchOS 8.7.1 release notes

But as it turns out, this is a software bug. Apple acknowledges in the watchOS 8.7.1 release notes available in the Watch app that this update “addresses an issue that may cause Apple Watch Series 3 to unexpectedly restart for some users.”

watchOS 8.7.1 is specifically created to address this annoying issue.. Because it’s unavailable for the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer models, watchOS 8.7.1 doesn’t show up in Software Update on those devices.

How to install watchOS 8.7.1

You must use the Software Update feature in the companion Watch app on your paired iPhone to download and install watchOS 8.7.1 on your Apple Watch Series 3.

  1. Open the dedicated Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Choose “General” from the rot list.
  3. Now touch the option labeled “Software Update”.
  4. Choose “Download and Install” to get the watchOS 8.7.1 update.

You may be asked to enter your iPhone passcode or Apple Watch passcode to proceed. To install the update, your Apple Watch must have at least 50 percent battery, be connected to a charger and be within range of your ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌iPhone‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌.

How to speed up watchOS updates

The Watch app will transfer the update via Bluetooth to the watch. Bluetooth is slow, meaning it could take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or longer for the update to complete. Read: Things to do after getting a new Apple Watch

You can speed up watchOS updates dramatically by switching off Bluetooth on your iPhone as soon as you see “Estimated time remaining” in Software Update. This will force the watch to reconnect to your iPhone using a much faster Wi-Fi connection.