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Apple pulls buggy watchOS update after bricking devices

Despite having its share of critics, an Apple Watch is the perfect complement to an iPhone. With fitness tracking, built-in heart wellness sensors, haptic notification alerts, voice-activated messaging, Dick Tracy-like phone functionality and Apple Pay on your wrist – the Apple Watch embodies the bold vision Apple has for wearables and mobile computing, in general.

If you already use one of these smartwatches, you know that it receives watchOS updates and new features on a timely basis. Typically, watchOS updates are released the same time iOS updates are.

After Apple’s successful hardware event on Tuesday, where the new MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and iPad Pros were unveiled – like clockwork, the iOS 12.1 and the watchOS 5.1 updates also started to roll out.

However, it’s not all well in Apple land. Read on and see why one of these updates was pulled unexpectedly.

WatchOS 5.1

Apple rolled out watchOS 5.1 on Tuesday, together with iOS 12.1, but some users who updated their Series 4 Watches were left with a “bricked” watch instead. Bricked means the gadget is completely unable to boot, possibly permanently. Yikes!

The new update brings a bunch of improvements to the Series 4 fall detection feature. With watchOS 5.1, a recorded audio message with location information can now be sent to emergency services after a detected fall.

But Apple Watch Series 4 owners were also hoping that the long-awaited ECG functionality of their smartwatches will finally arrive with watchOS 5.1.

They were greeted with an endless restart loop instead.

9to5Mac first revealed that several users in Reddit and Twitter are reporting that their newly updated Apple Watches are getting stuck on the Apple logo. Rebooting nor resetting the gadget doesn’t appear to fix the issue.

Some owners even tried unpairing their Apple Watches from their iPhones to no avail. Their watches just won’t go past the Apple boot logo.

Apple pulls the watchOS 5.1 update

Although the issue seems to only affect a small subset of Apple Watch owners, the company has pulled back the watchOS 5.1 update as a precaution and it is no longer available.

Apple is now working on a fix and it should be available soon. Here is Apple’s official statement:

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. 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.

Are you affected?

So do you now own a shiny new Apple Watch Series 4 brick? Well, here’s what you can do:

Apple’s recommended fix for locked screens has always been a forced restart or reset. Note: To perform a forced restart, press and hold both the side button and Digital Crown for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo.

But since even this method will not work for this particular problem nor can the watch be updated while it is in this state, your only other option is to have your Apple Watch serviced.

You can either take it to an Apple Store or click here to begin the process with Apple Support. In most cases, the watch will have to be sent to Apple so they can replace it.

Keep in mind that this bricking issue only affects some Apple Watch Series 4 owners and the majority of Apple Watch owners were able to successfully update to the new watchOS 5.1.

But for now, if watchOS 5.1 is waiting for you to install it, the best thing you can do is to hold off at this time. Apple is working on a fix and waiting for the next watchOS update is your best course of action.

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