Apple Kills watchOS 5.1 Update After It Reportedly Bricked Devices

Apple Watch Series 41 Credit: quangmooo / Shutterstock
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Apple has temporarily pulled watchOS 5.1 after reports indicated that the update bricked certain Apple Watch devices.

The bricking is apparently taking place during the installation process, or shortly thereafter. It’s not clear how widespread the issue is, but it doesn’t appear to affect every Apple Watch device. Still, there are multiple reports spread across Reddit, Twitter, and other platforms and outlets.

Impacted users report that their Apple Watch devices freeze or get stuck on the Apple logo after the update installation process. For many users, the Watch gets stuck indefinitely.

There does not appear to be a fix or workaround for the issue, as reports indicate that restarting the affected Apple Watch or a paired iPhone do nothing to mitigate the bug.

The problem is made worse by the fact that users can’t plug their Apple Watches into a computer for a full reset.

It’s also worth noting that the majority of users who have experienced the bug have the Apple Watch Series 4, though we can’t currently confirm if that is the only affected model.

This isn’t the first time that a watchOS update has caused problems for users. Back in June, Apple Watch owners experienced similar bricking when attempting to update to the first watchOS 5 beta.

watchOS 5.1 itself was a relatively minor update to the wearable OS. It included audio-only support for Group FaceTime and introduced more than 70 Unicode 11.0 emoji characters and new all-color watch faces. On the other hand, it did not add the highly anticipated ECG app.

What Do I Do?

Users who have had their Apple Watch devices bricked are encouraged to contact Apple Support. According to several users, Apple is shipping out new replacement watches to impacted Apple Watch Series 4 owners.

As of the writing of this article, watchOS 5.1 is no longer available to download.

For users that have downloaded but not installed the software, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t proceed with the update.

Apple, of course, is aware of the issue and is likely working to fix the bug within watchOS 5.1. As mentioned earlier, the company will also take measures to send replacement devices to users with bricked Watches.

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