Perhaps I just had low expectations since I chose to buy a first generation product, but I have been impressed by how solid and reliable my Apple Watch has been to date. Part of this is due to the fact that Apple neutered app makers by not allowing them to access the Watch’s sensors and capabilities natively. Even given that, though, the Apple Watch has relatively few issues overall. That is not to say that the platform is without flaw. In fact, this post is going to describe the 5 most common Apple Watch bugs and tell you how to fix them.
Apple Watch Bugs Issue #1: Slow Loading Apps
One complaint about the Apple Watch that has persisted since the day it launched is that apps are relatively slow to launch on the device. Apple has not really indicated why this is the case, but many have speculated that it probably has something to do with the fact that many apps need to communicate with iPhone in order to get data they need to run.
How to fix: You Don’t. Sorry Apple Watch fans, there is nothing you can personally do about this. However, as both Bloomberg and Business Insider have reported, help may be on the way. Many speculate that when Apple allows for “native” apps, it will help speed up this loading process.
Apple Watch Bugs Issue #2: Bluetooth Connectivity Issues
Probably the most frustrating bug that I have encountered with the Apple Watch is poor Bluetooth connectivity when listening to music directly from your Apple Watch through a pair of Bluetooth headphones. After quite a bit of testing, I have concluded that either the Bluetooth transmitter in the Apple Watch is relatively weak or there is some other bug in the implementation of the Bluetooth for the Apple Watch that causes static and drop outs. Either way, it is extremely frustrating.
How to fix: If you are encountering this issue the only solution I have heard of that seems to work is to move your Apple Watch to your opposite wrist (your right wrist for most people). This seems to help in most but not all of the cases in which this bug exists. It might also be worth trying a different pair of Bluetooth headphones. Even though the issue seems to be with the Apple Watch, a new set of Bluetooth headphones are likely to have a different antenna location and a different receive sensitivity, both of which could improve Bluetooth reception.
Apple Watch Bugs Issue #3: App Updates “Stuck”
Soon after launch, I noticed multiple times that apps on my Apple Watch would seemingly get “stuck” in the process of getting loaded onto the device or when subsequently getting updated. You can see what it looks like in the image titled “App Failed To Load” that I posted in this section. The app that is supposed show up next to The Weather Channel app is stuck and shows up as an odd gray dart board graphic.
How to fix: The first step in fixing this issue is to update your iPhone iOS and Apple Watch OS to the latest version. I have found that since I moved to iOS version 8.4.1, these issues have mostly gone away. If you update to the latest iOS and still have an issue, try deleting the app from your watch by touching and holding it and then clicking the “x” that appears in the upper left of the app. Or you can disable the loading of that app from your Apple Watch app on your iPhone. After you do that and the app has disappeared, turn the app back on for loading in your Apple Watch app by flipping the “Show App on Apple Watch” switch on in the Apple Watch app back to the on position. At that point, you should be good to go.
Apple Watch Bugs Issue #4: Music Playlist Fails to Load
One of the biggest benefits of the Apple Watch for me is the ability to play music when I am working out without having to carry my phone around. In fact, I consider this to be part of the Apple Watch killer app for me. Unfortunately, I have had issues at times getting music to load properly onto my Apple Watch. It seems that sometimes the process of loading a playlist gets “stuck” and I continuously receive a “Sync in progress” message. Fortunately, there is a straightforward fix for this issue.
How to fix: It is important to understand that music and apps will only be loaded onto the Apple Watch when it is on its charger. So first, put your Apple Watch on its charger and see if music is loaded after it has been on the charger overnight. Of course, if that worked for you, then this was not an instance of this bug. The next step to try is to remove the playlist you have selected to load onto your Apple Watch and pick a new playlist. To do this, go to your Apple Watch app on your phone, then to the Music menu item and change the selection under “Synced Playlist”. There have been reports of this working for some users, thought it has never worked for me. Third, make sure that the playlist you have selected to load onto your Apple Watch is not too large for your memory allocation. The easiest way to do this is to select a playlist that has only one song in it (create one specifically for this purpose) and see if it loads. You can also up the “Playlist Limit” on the Apple Watch app Music settings screen to the max (2 GB) just to make sure you have space. If none of these options work, then you will be forced to do what I did and reset your Apple Watch completely. In order to do this, go into your Apple Watch app on your iPhone and then go to the General settings. At the bottom of that screen, there is a menu item to Reset your Apple Watch. Select that and then select “Erase All Content and Settings” on the next screen. It is not fun to have to do this, because then you need to reconfigure many of your watch settings, but I have found this to work for me.
Apple Watch Bugs Issue #5: Audiobooks Not Available
Okay, I admit it. I am cheating on this one because the lack of support for audiobooks on the Apple Watch is likely not a bug but a decision that was made by Apple. However, it is very frustrating for me to not be able to listen to books when I am working out, so I consider this a major omission by Apple and I will call it a bug until they fix it.
How to fix: Unfortunately, if you are an Audible user like me, there is no fix for this issue at the present time. Some people have reported that they can get audiobooks to load onto the Apple Watch by making sure they are in MP3 format and then switching the file type in iTunes from “audiobook” to “music”. However, if you use Audible like I do, you cannot get the files in MP3 format and switching the file type in iTunes does no good. So I have not been able to verify this “fix”. Having said that, help is on the way I believe. Apple is going to start to allow developers to write “native” apps for the Apple Watch around October. When they do that, I suspect that Audible will be able to write an app that directly loads audiobooks onto the Apple Watch via their own native app. Let’ hope I am correct, though, as this is an important “bug” for Apple to fix in my opinion.
What additional bugs have you encountered on the Apple Watch? Share them with me and I will see if I can help find a fix for them.