Apple Watch frustration resolved after nearly 7 years with watchOS 8.5
On Monday, Apple began rolling out watchOS 8.5, one of many OS updates that it introduced this week. While Apple did not include many changes in its release notes, it has clarified a new feature in a separate support document. As the screenshot below shows, Apple has introduced a recovery mode, although there are some caveats.
Specifically, you can only recover an Apple Watch running watchOS 8.5 or later. Hence, you cannot use the new recovery mode on the original Apple Watch, Watch Series 1 or the Watch Series 2. Also, you must have updated your Apple Watch to watchOS 8.5 before being able to recover it. Additionally, the recovery mode requires iOS 15.4, available to the iPhone 6s or later.
Moreover, recovery mode can only begin once you have unlocked your iPhone and switched on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. To begin recovering your Apple Watch, Apple recommends placing it on charge and double-pressing its side button beneath the Digital Crown. However, your iPhone will only receive a notification to recover the Apple Watch if it is nearby.
Incidentally, Apple states that recovery mode may only be available on 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, not 5 GHz networks. Typically, you should not encounter any issues in this regard, although it notes that you cannot recover an Apple Watch while connected to a captive or 802.1X Wi-Fi network.