Apple halts WatchOS 5.1 update after it bricks new Apple Watch Series 4 devices

Apple has pulled watchOS 5.1 after reports it left Watch Series 4 devices frozen on a screen with an Apple logo.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft isn't the only company having update problems. Apple has now pulled the watchOS 5.1 update following user reports that it bricked brand-new Apple Watch Series 4 devices.

Users on Twitter, Reddit, and Apple's discussion forum began reporting Watch Series 4 were stuck on a screen with Apple's white logo after installing watchOS 5.1. The watchOS 5.1 update was released on Tuesday alongside iOS 12.1.

As one Series 4 Watch owner describes it, after initiating the update to watchOS 5.1, "the process seemed to start in that a white apple logo appeared on watch face -- however, it did NOT disappear -- for hours."

Attempts to reset the watch failed as did an attempt at unpairing the device from an iPhone.

In the following hours, as more users reported the same problem, Apple decided to pull the update.

"Due to a small number of Apple Watch customers experiencing an issue while installing watchOS 5.1 today, we've pulled back the software update as a precaution," Apple said in a statement, according to ZDNet sister site CNET.

"Any customers impacted should contact AppleCare, but no action is required if the update installed successfully. We are working on a fix for an upcoming software update."

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The buggy update has left some affected Series 4 Watch owners extremely irate at the prospect of waiting days to have their brand-new Watch replaced.

One Reddit user claims to have been told by a 'Watch specialist adviser' that the model is "out of stock across my region".

"Since I purchased AppleCare+, I would normally be able to just run to the store and get it replaced in person. But since everyone is out of stock, they have to mail me a new watch and then I mail this bricked one back to them," the user wrote.

"My $600 watch is now completely useless two weeks after purchase and I won't have another one until either Friday or Monday of next week. They were unwilling to over-night me a new watch. My guess is it's coming directly from overseas, which is the reason for the three-day shipping."

The Series 4 Apple Watch was released in late September, with the Apple Watch Nike+ becoming available on October 5.

The main feature that watchOS 5.1 delivers to the Series 4 Watch is that it can automatically call emergency services when the device senses the wearer hasn't moved a minute after detecting a fall. It also plays a message that shares the location of the wearer.

The update doesn't bring electrocardiogram, ECG or EKG, functionality to the Apple Watch Series 4. However, Apple has said it will be available by the end of the year.

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