Your iPhone Is Out Of Date – Apple Watch Error, Fix

Are you having problems when you try to pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone?

Several users have said that they could not pair their iPhone devices with an Apple Watch. Users may see the following error message:

“iPhone Out of Date. Your iPhone is out of date. Before you can pair it with your Apple Watch, you’ll have to update it to the latest version of iOS.”

iPhone Out of Date error

This is an important problem. Unless you fix it, you will not be able to use your Apple Watch. Here is how you can troubleshoot this problem:

See also: Apple Watch: Sign Into Complete Purchase, Fix

iPhone out of date – Apple Watch

As the message state, update your iPhone. Here is how:

  • On your iPhone, tap Settings > General > Software Update. If there is an update available, update your iPhone by tapping Download and Install. This will let you update your phone wirelessly.
  • You can also update your iPhone using a computer. Simply connect your iPhone to your computer. Open Finder (or iTunes if you are running an older version of macOS) and select your device and click General or Settings, then click Check for Update. And if there is an update, click Update.

If this does not solve your problem, and when you try to update your iPhone, your iPhone says “your software is up to date”, there are few things you should try and know. If this is the case, here is what you can do and what you should know:

  • If your Apple Watch Series has been updated to watchOS 6,  your watch will not work with your iPhone 6 or earlier. You can pair your watch (Apple Watch Series 1 or later) with an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 13 or later. This is because watchOS 6 requires iPhone 6s.
  • You may be wondering if you could downgrade watchOS on your Apple Watch. The answer is no, you cannot. It is not possible to downgrade watchOS on your Apple Watch.

So do you have an iPhone 6s and later and still see this message? Here is what you can do:

  • Restart your iPhone:
    • iPhone X or iPhone 11: Press and hold the volume up (or down) and the side buttons together until you see the slider. Then slide the slider. Wait until your phone completely powers off. Then press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.
    • Other iPhone models: Press and hold the side or top button until you see the red slider. And then slide the slider. Then again press and hold the side or top button until the Apple logo appears.
  • If restarting does not resolve your problem, try force restarting your device. Here is how:
    • iPhone 8 or later: Press and release the volume up button and press and release the volume down button and now press and hold the power button until your device restarts.
    • iPhone 7 models: Press and hold the top and volume down buttons together until the Apple logo appears.
    • iPhone 6s: Press and hold the home and the side buttons together until your device restarts.

See also: How To Reset Apple Watch Password When You Forgot

  • Unpair your Apple Watch. Note that this action will erase your watch. Here is how:
    • On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app.
    • Tap My Watch.
    • Tap the info (i) button.
    • Tap Unpair Apple Watch (if you are asked if you want to keep your cellular plan, keep your plan since your will pair your device again).
    • And follow the onscreen instructions.
    • Now after your this, you will need to set up your watch.

See also: Apple Watch Not Getting Notifications From iPhone, Fix

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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15 thoughts on “Your iPhone Is Out Of Date – Apple Watch Error, Fix”

  1. I just ordered iPhone SE from my carrier $250. My iPhone 6 still works fine but won’t pair with my Apple Watch dries 3. Do you think this work ? Then I could return the new phone.

  2. I bought a iPhone 11 in Canada but I live in Thailand! Now I’ve returned to Thailand and my new watch is not compatible with Thailand networks
    And Canadian sales rep new I live in Thailand
    Called them said bring it in I’m in Thailand!

  3. I have this problem only I don’t want to update my iOS on my iPhone. They just released 14, it’s completely different and I don’t want it yet

  4. I recently purchased an AW3 for my birthday, thinking my phone was the iPhone 6s Plus (I bought it from my cousin a few years ago), when in reality it’s just the 6 Plus.
    I was pretty upset that my brand new watch (with WatchOS 6) wouldn’t pair with my “outdated” phone (that still works perfectly and hardly has a scratch).
    I called Apple and politely explained the situation. They overnighted me a box to send in my watch… I sent it in the next morning, and two days later I received a replacement watch that’s running WatchOS 5 and was able to pair perfectly with my iPhone 6 Plus.
    It’s not something they like to do, but they will under certain circumstances.
    So if you have this issue, don’t give up… there’s no need for me (or you) to go buy a newer model iPhone to pair with my watch when my 6 Plus still works just fine.
    I am now a happy camper with my watch that has literally changed my life, I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without one considering that my work requires me to stay in constant contact with my boss.

  5. Me too. So angry and frustrated with Apple. I had no idea that my new watch wouldn’t work with my iPhone 6. There should have been a very clear statement on their website about compatibility between watch and iPhone versions. Now I have a useless iWatch that a) I spent a lot of money on and b) I was very excited to receive. UGH is right 🙁

    • Call Apple support. Explain your situation.
      They will ship you a box to send in your watch, and they’ll send you back a replacement that’s running WatchOS 5.
      I just went through the same thing, I thought my phone was the 6s Plus but it’s just the 6 Plus.
      I got the box, sent my watch, and got my replacement in less than a week… my watch is now paired with my phone and everything is working beautifully.
      You may have to be persistent… but good luck nonetheless!

  6. Hello,
    Unfortunately, my apple watch S4 had been failed update. Now, it is not pairing with any iPhones. So I tried do it, however the following message is shown.
    WatchOS 5.3.7 Your software is up to date.

    As you know, my watch isn’t paired, so I’m not able to useful the watch app except the first settings. However, the app isn’t able to find WatchOS 6.2.6, so I’m not able to pairing, and use my watch. Of course, I did reboot both, and pairing with other iPhone (XR 13.5.1), it’s same result. Do you have any idea for solve this?

  7. My series 4 watch was working just fine with my iPhone 6, until I dropped it and had to warrantee it out. Now the replacement they sent me wont pair unless I buy a new phone. I even have cellular so my watch wouldn’t be dependent on my phone and now this.

  8. Well, I too would like to add negative comments about the Apple slight of hand. There should be some alert on each version of the Apple Watch only compatible with “such & such” operating system. I have 1-1/2 year old iPhone 6 with 64M & a new Apple Watch that is now useless due to lack of compatibility. UGH!!

  9. Okay. So the first time, I decide to ask a question online and I found a solution so I’m going to provide it myself. This way if someone has a similar issue, they can try what I did and it could help them out 🙂

    – – – –

    After many permutations and combinations of actions advised by many threads online vaguely resembling my issue, I decided to go off route and my final attempt was as follows (mind you, some steps may have had little or no impact on the result, but as I said, these are the steps that I made in my last attempt that solved the issue for me):

    1. – I pressed and held the crown on my unpaired Apple Watch. Rather than showing the “power off” option, it asked if I wanted to reset the watch; basically go back to the beginning before starting the pairing process. I clicked yes, and it did a factory reset.

    2. – As soon as this was done, I went on my phone, clicked on Settings -> Bluetooth, turned it off.

    3. – Then went back to Settings -> Wi-Fi, and turned it off.

    PS. – It’s very important to do it in your settings app and NOT through Control Center(swipe up) as it doesn’t actually re-initialize your wireless and bluetooth modules (after iOS 11).

    4. – Wait for about 10-20seconds. Again, I doubt there’s any science to these numbers I claim. Even 2 seconds could’ve been enough I guess, but this is what worked for me.

    5. – Then I went back to Settings -> Wi-Fi, and turned it back on.

    6. – Same with Bluetooth (in Settings -> Bluetooth -> Turn On).

    7. – After this I went to Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage -> Watch.

    8. – When I scrolled to the bottom, I saw I had a 2 year old watch backup in there. So I clicked at the bottom-most option: “Delete all backups”.

    9. – Then finally, I backed up into the main Settings page and toggled Airplane Mode ON (after a few seconds, in hopes of that backup actually being deleted).

    10. – A soft-reset (pressing and holding the Home button + the power button till the phone turns off, leaving the buttons ONLY after the white Apple logo shows up) got my phone to restart. After this, I opened the watch app and tried to pair it and it paired in seconds.

    — —

    Apparently, the watchOS had updated and didn’t need installing again. But my Watch app and the actual Watch were confused with that old backup in there. In which case, Step 10 might be the only solution for most who’ll have this issue. But the first 9 seems to have worked for many on other forums, so I decided to put them in too.


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