Apple Updates Apple Watch Solo Loop Sizing Tool (Here Are Some Great Tips to Find the Right Size)

Apple Watch Solo Loop Bands Credit: Apple
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If you’re a fan of Apple’s new Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop Apple Watch bands, you’re going to face the additional challenge when ordering a new Apple Watch online of making sure you get the correct size; as several new Apple Watch customers have already discovered, if you get it wrong you’ll need to return the whole Apple Watch and wait for a new one.

It’s a problem that hasn’t really affected most Apple Watch users in the past — although the Solo Loop isn’t the first one-piece Apple Watch band that the company has ever released, it’s certainly the first time it’s offered as an entry-level option that’s likely to be insanely popular. Plus, it comes in twelve sizes, so there’s a lot of variability here.

It also doesn’t help that we now find ourselves in an era where simply visiting an Apple store in person to try on the different Solo Loop sizes isn’t exactly as easy of a thing to do as it once was.

As a result, Apple published a helpful PDF Sizing Tool that users could print out on their own, cut out, and use to measure their wrist to find the correct size. Unfortunately, many users who went down that road still found themselves with Solo Loop bands that didn’t quite fit as well as they had hoped; in many cases they were too lose, although we’ve seen a few reports of customers getting versions that were too snug.

To add insult to injury, it seems that the Solo Loop bands that Apple’s PR team sent out to product reviewers were eerily accurate — despite the fact that Apple never asked anybody to measure their wrist sizes.

Whoever on the Apple’s Watch team decided which sizes to send me absolutely nailed it. It’s uncanny. I checked with a few of my fellow hacks and Apple sent them the exact right sizes too. Nobody was asked to measure their wrists, nobody was asked which hole they use in the regular Sport Bands. I can’t get over this. I feel like I just lost $5 to a carnival barker who correctly guessed my age to the exact year, and I want to get back in line to bet another $5 to see if he can guess my weight.

John Gruber, Daring Fireball

While Apple’s original PDF sizing guide was pretty well put together — it even included a credit card outline to make sure you printed it out at the correct size — there was still room for some confusion, since the instructions simply said to wrap it around your wrist “snug but not too tight,” likely leading many to feel that it should replicate how the actual Apple Watch band would feel, when in reality it should be used as you would a measuring tape.

So following the reports earlier this week of many customers being frustrated by ill-fitting Solo Loop bands, Apple has now updated its PDF sizing tool to provide more clarity on the instructions, telling customers to “make sure the tool feels snug and doesn’t slide up or down.” Apple also clarifies that if a user’s wrist measurement falls exactly between two sizes, they should choose the smaller of the two.

Measuring with Your Current Apple Watch

If you’re upgrading to an Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE, or even if you’re just buying the Solo Loop for your current Apple Watch, there’s actually an easier way to determine the correct size than worrying about Apple’s PDF sizing tool — it turns out you can simply use the Sport Band on your current Apple Watch.

In a really useful experiment, John Gruber discovered that Sport Band holes actually map exactly to the new Solo Loop sizes.

Gruber took the time to not only lay out the Sport Bands against the measuring tool to discover that they lined up exactly, but he also went back and got all four sizes of Sport Band, photographed them against Apple’s measurements, and came up with a useful one-to-one comparison that will allow you to determine which size Solo Loop to order based on which Sport Band hole you normally use for your current Apple Watch.

As Gruber notes, each Sport Band, regardless of size, has exactly 7 holes, and these map one-to-one to the Sport Loop sizes, with the smallest Sport Band (the small-medium for the 38/40MM watch) covering sizes 1-7 and the largest, (the medium-large for the 42/44MM watch) covering sizes 6-12, while the others fall more or less in the middle. In other words, the smallest and largest possible Sport Band adjustments correspond exactly to the smallest and largest Solo Loop sizes.

For example, if you have a 42mm Apple Watch Series 3 or older, or a 44mm Apple Watch Series 4 or Series 5, and you wear the medium-large (M/L) Sport Band and normally do your strap up to the second hole (closest to the watch), then you should order your Sport Loop in a size 7. On the other hand, if you have the smaller 38MM or 40MM models and wear the small-medium band in the same position (second hole), you’d go with a size 2 Sport Loop.

38MM/40MM Apple Watch Models
(1 is closest to watch body, 7 is farthest)

S/M HoleM/L HoleSport Loop Size

42MM/44MM Apple Watch Models
(1 is closest to watch body, 7 is farthest)

S/M HoleM/L HoleSport Loop Size

You can see the original photos in Gruber’s post at Daring Fireball, which provide a much better illustration of how the bands work against the sizing tool.

While this might make you wonder why Apple hasn’t just told this to customers, Gruber also offers a possible explanation for that; not only is it likely that many Apple Watch customers don’t have access to a Sport Band — the Apple Watch attracts a great many new customers each year who are buying the wearable for the first time, and even existing Apple Watch users could very easily be using a different band — but with two sizes of Apple Watch each including two Sport Bands, there are actually four different sizes of Sport Bands to contend with, and it might be difficult for users to even remember which one they’re using.

Still, as long as you know which Apple Watch Sport Band you’re using, this provides a much easier way to determine which size of Sport Loop you should order, and of course if you’re not entirely certain, you can always turn to Apple’s PDF Sizing Tool for a second opinion.

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