Apple has decided to stop rolling out its watchOS 3.1.1 update after several consumers claimed that their Apple Watch have been bricked by the firmware.
At this point, the update is no longer showing up for download in the Watch app on the iPhone. Devices with 3.1 firmware are also now stating that the installed watchOS is the latest.
Bricked Apple Watch
Immediately after the watchOS 3.1.1 release, worried users began posting images of their devices in social media. These showed Apple Watches sporting black displays splashed with a huge pink exclamation mark.
They came with a link to the Apple Watch support page but to the dismay of affected users, the resource only provides a guide on force restarting the device.
"Press and hold both the side button and Digital Crown for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo," Apple said. "If force restarting your Apple Watch doesn't resolve the issue, you'll need to have your Apple Watch serviced."
Unfortunately, Apple Stores will not be able to offer any effective solution either because the problem requires the Apple Watch to be restored using the device's small diagnostic port. These facilities do not cover this particular service and the offshoot is that owners of affected devices now have to send their Apple Watches directly to Apple and wait for a replacement.
Cause Of The Problem
As of this writing, Apple has not released any statement about the issue. There is, therefore, no clear explanation as to the reason devices are getting bricked.
Some observers point to the fact that the bulk of affected devices involve the Apple Watch Series 2. The problem, therefore, could be caused by an incompatibility specific to its hardware. But this is complicated by the fact that some Series 2 Watches had successful installations. In addition, some older devices may also experience the problem.
Stuck watchOS Update
The problematic update process also revealed few details. Some users did not immediately brick their devices. The problem just arose when their devices got rebooted after the update has been stuck for several hours. There are also those who said they never touched their devices. The exclamation point just popped up without any attempt to force reset or even touch the wearable.
Whatever the case is, Apple is probably working to address any flaw in the code. If your Apple Watch is bricked, you need to visit Apple's support page first to initiate the process before shipping the device for replacement.
Apple last faced a bricking issue when iOS 9.3.2 was released. It has damaged numerous devices and unleashed a torrent of bugs that included battery drainage and persistent crashing, among others.