Tomorrow will be the first day since April 23, 2015 that I have not worn an Apple Watch.
No, this is not a “I’ve given up on the Apple Watch” post, I freaking love my Apple Watch and have no intention of stopping using one for years to come. But I will be spending the new few days without my trusty Apple Watch. Why would I do this to myself? Well, I did the thing that I implore you fine folks not to do, I installed the watchOS 4 beta.
The first 2 developer betas were rough on my watch. Everything from performance to battery life to stability were all terrible on the first 2 betas. Hell, beta 2 was getting anywhere from 6 to 24 hours of battery life. So when I put the watch on in the morning, I never knew if it was going to be a day where I wear my watch all day, or that it would be dead by lunchtime. So when beta 3 dropped last week I jumped on it right away. Surely this beta would fix at least some of my problems, right?
Well, I’ll never know because my Apple Watch stalled when upgrading to developer beta 3 and I never got to use it. It sat on the circular updating screen for the entire 8 hours I was at work last Friday. I used all of the internet’s tricks for fixing this issue and none of them worked. One of them got me temporarily back to the home screen, but the watch would not connect to my phone. After more fiddling I got my watch to go to the pairing screen, but then it wouldn’t see any device I put next to it.
So now I had an Apple Watch stuck on the “please pair me” screen and it would not pair with any iPhone around (tried iOS 10 and 11). I finally gave up and made a Genius appointment for this evening at my local Apple Store where they gave me the bad news: they need to send it to Apple and have them work their magic on it to fix things. They gave me 3-5 days for the Watch to be shipped back to me in working order.
I’m thankful for Apple’s excellent service. The Apple Store’s Genius was helpful, but adjusted to my level quickly (“I’m guessing you Googled a bunch of stuff before coming here, right?”). And the fact that they’re fixing/replacing my busted Apple Watch that I bought 10 months ago for free and with basically no questions asked just makes me a happy customer.
But let this be a warning to everyone out there, betas are trouble. Even if you have a long history of good luck with betas like me, things can still go oh so very wrong. The iOS and macOS betas are bad enough, but the watchOS betas are even riskier since there is no downgrade, there is no DFU mode to get you out of just about any jam. Once things go wrong on watchOS it’s sometimes really hard, if not impossible to bounce back.
I’ll see you again soon, Apple Watch. The next few days are not going to be fun.