Several users have complained that it has become almost impossible to install watchOS updates starting with the Apple Watch series 3. While the problem is still there, Apple seems to have made some changes in iOS 14.6, which now automatically prompts the user to restore their Apple Watch S3 before updating it.
Apple Watch Series 3 not enough memory
The problem is directly related to the GPS version of the Apple Watch S3, which only has 8GB of internal storage. Every time a user tries to update a Series 3 GPS model, they receive an error message stating that there is not enough space available to install the update.
Consistently users who own an Apple Watch S3 always get the same error when trying to install system updates. watchOS tells them that there is not enough storage space, even when they don’t have any third-party apps installed or stored music. According to Apple, the not-so-user-friendly solution is to completely restore all Apple Watch data and settings to install the latest version of watchOS.
Restore Apple Watch S3 prior to installation
With the latest versions of iOS and watchOS, Apple seems to have stopped trying to force users to remove apps and media manually, which almost never solves the problem. As it is shown in 9to5Mac on Twitter (with a screenshot in Portuguese), iOS 14.6 simply asks the user to unpair and restore the Apple Watch S3 to install the watchOS updates.
To install the watchOS update, unlink your Apple Watch and pair it again in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
Previously, the message only recommended that the user delete some of the content before trying to install the update again.
To install the watchOS update, your Apple Watch needs at least 3.0 GB of available storage. You can free up storage space by deleting apps using the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
Unfortunately, this also suggests that Apple is unlikely to fix this for Apple Watch Series 3 users. If this means that the S3 models will be discontinued and not compatible with watchOS 8, we’ll find out in a few days at WWDC 2021.