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Apple Watch


I wonder if the undocumented connector on the watch can reset it, and if so, why the stores don't have a device that can do it?
After a bit of Googling, it would appear that this is possible. It appears that the undocumented connector is a variation on the Lightning port (but with 6 pins instead of 8).

I found an iPhone Hacks article showing Apple's adapter. I also found third-party adapters (one for "series 0/1" models and one for "series 2/3" models) that claims to do the same thing.

It appears that, with such an adapter and a firmware file (not easily available, of course), one can put the watch into DFU mode and then perform an upgrade or restore via iTunes.

I don't know why the Genius bars haven't been given the hardware and firmware necessary to do this, since we now know that Apple has the hardware, and iTunes (with an appropriate firmware file) is all the software you need.
 


Hah! Good to know that such a thing does really exist. I wonder if that restore operation bypasses activation lock? Unless folks with this problem are getting new replacement watches back, it kind of must, because they're sending in their watches having not signed out of them. If that's the case, I could see Apple not wanting that tech in the hands of all the store employees but rather keeping it under tight control.
 


Oh, here's a question - anyone find since WatchOS 5 (5.0.1) that they're not getting haptic taps for notifications they used to get? I feel like I've stumbled over a bug where setting "Deliver Quietly" on the watch using the "..." option on a notification, then manually restoring the notification settings on the phone (both for the phone and in the watch app on the phone) does not restore the haptic taps for either Mail (and I have explicitly turned them back on in the notification settings in the watch app on the phone), or for any notification that is "mirror iPhone" because there is no watch-side app. It appears you only can get "Deliver Prominently" to show up is if you've modified nothing since doing "Deliver Quietly" but even doing that over and over I lose my haptics.
 


I feel like I've stumbled over a bug where setting "Deliver Quietly" on the watch using the "..." option on a notification, then manually restoring the notification settings on the phone (both for the phone and in the watch app on the phone) does not restore the haptic taps for either Mail (and I have explicitly turned them back on in the notification settings in the watch app on the phone), or for any notification that is "mirror iPhone" because there is no watch-side app.
After doing the 5.0 update I also discovered the issue of "Deliver Quietly". I contacted AppleCare. They couldn't figure out what was going on. The call was escalated. I spent three hours over three days with AppleCare, restoring the Watch from the backup and as a new Watch. Nothing helped. They were stumped.

They did more research and learned that Apple changed how the iPhone and Watch interacted. You now have to have notifications enabled on the iPhone to get notifications on the Watch as well. I didn't want iPhone notifications, but I did want Watch notifications. I complained (loudly) to Tim Cook about the change and about the fact that AppleCare support was not able to learn about the change without wasting my time and theirs. Sheesh, bad decisions all around Apple.
 


Apple have posted watchOS 5.1.1 that supposedly fixes the bricking problem. I had already successfully updated to 5.1 before they pulled the recalcitrant updater but went ahead and up-updated, since it was presented. No issues, completed successfully on my S4.
 


Apple have posted watchOS 5.1.1 that supposedly fixes the bricking problem. I had already successfully updated to 5.1 before they pulled the recalcitrant updater but went ahead and up-updated, since it was presented. No issues, completed successfully on my S4.
I also updated to 5.1.1 last night with no perceived problems.
 



Same experience here. No problems on S4 and very fast update (for Watch - usually glacial).

Quite a different experience with my S2. I had great difficulty getting it to even check for the update, claiming "you're not connected to the internet." I was connected.

I tried several tricks. WIFI on/off. Airplane mode on/off. I had to power toggle the watch to get it to download.

Then the iPhone 7 took a very long time "preparing." The watch update was not quick. About normal watch update long.

So your milage may vary.
 


I updated my Series 4 to WatchOS 5.1.2, which includes the ECG app. For me, this was one major selling point for the Series 4.

After a couple tests, my opinion is this is a total gimmick. There are so many caveats and warnings, it officially does nothing. Its prime feature is detecting a-fib, but it is "not for use with people who have a-fib" Really, Apple?

Admittedly, this is probably heavy FDA and medical regulations. And that's appropriate. It just shows a tricorder is a long way off.

Fortunately I like other features, especially the larger format. While the watch physically feels only a bit larger, the bigger screen definitely helps my eyes and fat fingers.

The ECG function requires updating the host iPhone to 12.1.1. I've had no issues on the iPhone X. The Series 2 watch and iPhone 7 also updated with no issues.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This article talks about some background and issues involved in Apple's dive into the medical market:
CNN said:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta tests the Apple Watch's new ECG heart monitor

... When you hear the term ECG or EKG, it is usually in reference to a 12-lead electrocardiogram, the gold standard for measuring the heart's electrical pattern. A 12-lead ECG is the professional version that is administered in a clinic or hospital setting. Twelve leads (using 10 electrodes) are placed on your limbs and across your torso. They measure the heart's electrical activity in several directions and planes and are highly sensitive. They can detect abnormal electrical patterns and find areas where heart muscle is dying, as in the case of inadequate blood supply or heart attack.

Apple's new app is a much simpler single-lead ECG with limited capabilities. It won't help detect most heart rhythm abnormalities or worsening heart failure. It also won't reliably detect the electrical changes associated with a heart attack. Apple concedes this and provides plenty of labeling on the app and in the accompanying literature cautioning against overinterpreting the results.
 


Shortly after Christmas, my Apple Watch Series 2 (42mm, stainless steel) stopped responding consistently to touch - at the unlock screen, 6 and 0 worked, and nothing else did.

I used Apple's "Contact Us" page and started chatting with an Apple support rep. They have clearly been instructed to be polite to the point of obsequiousness. (I'm not doing very well today, thanks - my Watch stopped working, and it's unnecessary to empathize with my plight.) The rep walked me through resetting the watch to factory default and re-pairing, none of which worked. (I don't think it surprised either of us, but I appreciate trying to narrow it down to hardware or software.) I was disconnected once from chat while I re-paired the watch, and reconnected to a new rep.

Of course, it was determined to be hardware, and I was given a link to a price list for repair/replacement; Apple wanted $250 to repair/replace my $500 watch. I bluntly told the rep I thought that price was ridiculous and asked if there was anything else we could do. Got escalated to someone who listened to my plight, and gave me the party line of paying the repair place - the watch was out of warranty since April 2018.

Okay, so I wasn't entitled to a free repair. It was out of warranty, and every machine will experience some percentage of breakage. That just didn't sit well with me - I purchased the stainless steel case for durability (it's positioned as an exercise watch as well), and the high price for repair rubbed me the wrong way, so I simply asked them to make a policy exception for me. It wasn't quite that simple - I did play the "long-time loyalty" card, and they did look at my purchased history, including a $4000 iMac Retina with AppleCare that had never needed it. That probably was enough to get them to spring for the free repair/replacement.

Once they approved it, I had a shipping box with label filled out the next day, sent it out the following day, and received the replacement (with 90 day warranty) about 4 days later.

Overall, I was glad that Apple can be moved outside their policy boxes occasionally. The reps were professional, and I went out of my way to not be a jerk about it, but I was still fairly insistent. I would've actually paid $100 to get it replaced - that seems at least more reasonable - but I wish they had actually looked at my purchasing history upfront and made the decision without my having to press it. Still, pretty happy with Apple Support - I had resolved to post my experiences here regardless of the outcome.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's some interesting perspective from Howard Oakley on the Apple Watch 4's ECG feature:
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Apple Watch Series 4: ECG wherever you go

... Until I retired almost five years ago, I had spent much of my professional life looking at and trying to interpret ECGs. Plenty of doctors do, but what was unusual in my case was that these were being recorded live from people who were supposed to be healthy, not those with suspected heart problems or heart attacks, and that the great majority were ‘single-lead’ and in challenging circumstances. For example, we might be exercising a healthy person by running them on a treadmill in tropical heat, or immersing a volunteer in very cold water to assess their initial responses – which can sometimes include dangerous disturbances of heart rhythm.

Over the twenty-five and more years that I did this, we used a variety of ECG monitoring systems, some wireless, others using long leads. The very first that I used relied on analogue wireless telemetry, and the latest ran fully digital over Bluetooth. The Apple Watch Series 4 compares very favourably with all of these, at a tiny fraction of their cost.

...

Summary
Apple’s Watch Series 4 has two health features of value to users: ECG and hard fall detection. The quality of the ECG is superb, and forms a system for early detection of atrial fibrillation. Although the users most likely to benefit from this are those over sixty, it has the potential to be valuable for everyone when used according to its explicit instructions. Healthcare professionals may well be able to use ECG traces for other purposes, but those require training and experience in their interpretation, and are currently outside the Watch’s approval as a medical device.
 


My son-in-law, the paramedic, has been carrying the KardiaMobile EKG monitor for a couple of years. The phone App impresses, but then it's all medico-Latin to me. Kardia also sells an EKG touch band for the Apple Watch.

From this article at BusinessInsider, Kardia's been in business 7 years and selling its "FDA cleared" EKG devices "over the counter" for at least some of those years, and the CEO of Kardia was surprised at Apple's claim the iWatch 4 would be the first to offer "over the counter EKG."

I found the Apple Watch Series 4 on a deals site at $384. [It's $384 at Amazon currently -MacInTouch]. The standalone KardiaMobile is $99, as is the Kardia Band for Apple Watch Series 1, 2, 3.

Possible health benefits aside, the privacy consequences of letting "apps" monitor your health merit consideration. Both Kardia and the Apple ECG app require connected smartphones.
Michael Potuck said:
 


Had my annual appointment with my cardiologist. He's head of Cardiology at BJC Hospitals in Saint Louis, and I first got involved with him ten years ago when I was diagnosed with AFib (atrial fibrillation ).

He said the recent conference he attended had a session that covered the Apple Watch Series 4 ECG capability. I was encouraged to use it to confirm when or if I thought I felt my heart going into AFib before I took an anti-arrythmia drug I have for such occurrences. For now, I use the feature daily just to confirm it is working. 30 seconds and simple to use, since I wear the watch all day, everyday. I'm 71 years old.

Since buying the first model in 2015, and now on the Series 4, I use the built-in heart rate monitoring and exercise tracking every day, and the cardiograms are very useful to see how my exercise translates into time, heart-rate and recovery time (from high bps back down to normal).
 


I recently updated my Series 3 (non-LTE) watch from watchOS 5.2 to 5.2.1. Ever since then, the News app has become useless (at least, for its original and intended purpose). It now functions as an extremely minimalist digital watch face. That is to say, the screen is entirely black with the exception of the time in the upper-right corner.

I have quit the app (by pressing the side button, swiping left on the app, and tapping the big red X button), power cycled the watch, power cycled the iPhone, and done everything I can think of.

The only thing I can think of that might have anything to do with this is that my iOS was at 12.2 when the watch update was done; the update to 12.3.1 was done afterwards.

Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks!
 


I recently updated my Series 3 (non-LTE) watch from watchOS 5.2 to 5.2.1. Ever since then, the News app has become useless (at least, for its original and intended purpose). It now functions as an extremely minimalist digital watch face. That is to say, the screen is entirely black with the exception of the time in the upper-right corner.

I have quit the app (by pressing the side button, swiping left on the app, and tapping the big red X button), power cycled the watch, power cycled the iPhone, and done everything I can think of.

The only thing I can think of that might have anything to do with this is that my iOS was at 12.2 when the watch update was done; the update to 12.3.1 was done afterwards.

Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks!
No problems with News on my Watch 4 running 5.2.1 and iOS 12.3.1 on iPhone.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Just a quick question about one single serious frustration with an Apple Watch (Series 4, non-GPS): Are others seeing an extremely high failure rate for the Dismiss button in messages? Is there any solution?

Most of the time it simply doesn't work. Occasionally it does. Such an ostensibly simple thing - pushing a button to get an action - is confounding when it doesn't do what it should.

Everything is up to date. There's not much added to the watch. I've tried every possible combination of button touches. Disabled Handoff, checked and reset and rechecked Blueteeth. I read Apple's documentation... which implies that, before you can use the Dismiss button, you have to spin the stem. For real?!? What kind of hide-and-seek UI is that? But I even tried that, too. Still not having any luck.

Yes, I have restarted the Watch, jumped through many hoops, and tried for weeks. Everything else seems to work.

What am I missing here?
 


Just a quick question about one single serious frustration with an Apple Watch (Series 4, non-GPS): Are others seeing an extremely high failure rate for the Dismiss button in messages? Is there any solution? Most of the time it simply doesn't work. Occasionally it does. Such an ostensibly simple thing - pushing a button to get an action - is confounding when it doesn't do what it should. Everything is up to date. There's not much added to the watch. I've tried every possible combination of button touches....
Have you tried tapping lightly on the Dismiss button rather than pressing hard?
 



Are others seeing an extremely high failure rate for the Dismiss button in messages?
I occasionally have to tap a second or third time on a button, but nothing like what you describe, Ric. It mostly just works. Less than once a month on my iPhone, and even less often on my watch, I feel the need to cycle power for such issues. My watch is the same Series 4 non-cellular. I think a call to Apple is in order.
 


Yes, I have restarted the Watch, jumped through many hoops, and tried for weeks. Everything else seems to work.
I am still dealing with the problem mentioned in this post. A visiting friend asked me if I had done a factory reset on the watch, which I have not done, because there is health data I do not want to lose.

I do not use iCloud, and I am still working out what to do with iTunes on the new iMac, because my iTunes data is nearly double the size of the entire internal SSD. Oops!

Even if I solve that problem, I'd like to avoid taking that step. I hope such a drastic step isn't necessary in your case, either.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A visiting friend asked me if I had done a factory reset on the watch, which I have not done, because there is health data I do not want to lose.
That's a critical issue, and I have no idea where that data is stored, how to back it up and recover it after resetting the Watch or iPhone, or how to access it outside of Apple's apps.

Does anyone know where to find definitive answers to these questions?
 


Is this region of the screen hyporesponsive to taps or pushes in other apps? Could this be due to battery swelling?

On my old iPhone 5, poor response to touches and pushes was a clue to battery swelling pushing up on the screen from below, and on my old iPod Photo (4th gen) it disabled (jammed) the click wheel entirely.

I have now been through four Apple devices with swollen batteries — iPhones 5 and X, one 2015 MacBook Pro 15", which they claimed was not included in the recent battery recall (hmmm!) and an old iPod Photo — and even though the Apple Genius bar is starting to look at me funny, thinking I am doing something to them (I am not), I am beginning to wonder about these lithium batteries.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Is this region of the screen hyporesponsive to taps or pushes in other apps? Could this be due to battery swelling?
Good question, especially considering Apple's history of Apple Watch battery problems.
But, as far as I can tell, there's no visible swelling on this one (and it has had a very sheltered life).
 



That's a critical issue, and I have no idea where that data is stored, how to back it up and recover it after resetting the Watch or iPhone, or how to access it outside of Apple's apps. Does anyone know where to find definitive answers to these questions?
I don't have a watch, but the health app on my iPhone XS has data from both my previous iPhone 6S and iPhone 8. My assumption is that it came from iCloud backups over the years.

Here's a reference:
 


I have not noticed any problem with the Dismiss button when I use it. I have the Series 4 GPS version of the watch, and I find that after I read a message in its entirety, the "Dismiss" button disappears.

Usually, though, if I see the message is long-ish, I'll ignore it and read it on my iPhone. It is very rare for me (although becoming less unusual) not to have both on my person.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I don’t bother with the Dismiss button. I just swipe top-down to dismiss nearly any notification.
When you're reading a message, you have to swipe bottom-up to read through the whole thing, then there's a Dismiss button at the bottom (which often fails to work in my experience).

I had no reason to scroll backwards at that point, and didn't realize you could get an alternate Dismiss function that way, but I tried it, and it seems to work. Completely bizarre user interface design, but, hey, I'll be happier if this functions as a reliable workaround.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Just a quick question about one single serious frustration with an Apple Watch (Series 4, non-GPS): Are others seeing an extremely high failure rate for the Dismiss button in messages? Is there any solution? Most of the time it simply doesn't work. Occasionally it does. Such an ostensibly simple thing - pushing a button to get an action - is confounding when it doesn't do what it should.
I tried some suggestions given above. Powering the watch off and back on may have helped a little but didn't really resolve the problem. What I'm finding is that a light touch, which works on every iPhone or iPad I've ever used, doesn't seem to work so well on the Dismiss button. Instead, it seems to work better if I plaster a large part of a finger over the button (though more experimentation is needed).
I don’t bother with the Dismiss button. I just swipe top-down to dismiss nearly any notification.
So far, this has proved to be the best workaround.
 


watchOS 5.3 (16U569) has some unusual passcode security behavior. My Apple Watch 3 with LTE has a 7-digit passcode that I configured. When I take the phone off the charger in the morning, it is locked. My usual routine is to immediately unlock it on my wrist before exercising. The other day I forgot to unlock it. Imagine my surprise when, an hour later, the watch was unlocked. I did not enter the passcode myself. For the past two days I have repeated this accident, and it reproduced itself each time. Has anybody else observed this behavior?

#security
 






Ric Ford

MacInTouch
FYI:
The Verge said:
Apple announces repair program for cracked Apple Watch screeTITLE
Apple has acknowledged a flaw in certain Apple Watch models that could lead to the screen cracking, and has launched a replacement program for affected users. Apple or authorized service providers will replace the screen on eligible models free of charge.

“Apple has determined that, under very rare circumstances, a crack may form along the rounded edge of the screen in aluminum models of an Apple Watch Series 2 or Series 3,” the company says on its website. “The crack may begin on one side and then may continue around the screen as shown in the images below.”
#applequality
 


I'm still on an original ("Series 0") as it does pretty much everything I want but as its battery is now worn out enough, and an interesting new feature has arrived (always-on), I'm considering upgrading to the 5.
I, too, am still wearing my 'Series 0' every day — as are quite a few of us, judging by comments here — and my battery had suddenly taken to dying after about 4 hours. Now, I understand that a weak battery can be an excellent partial excuse to upgrade. So please do not read the following if your heart is set on buying a Series 5....

Apple has a $79 battery replacement program for the watches, provided your battery is functioning below 80% original capacity. There are a few things worth knowing about this.
(1) The Genius folks at your Apple Store may not know about it, and will insist that your only option is a $199 replacement. I had to show my local Genius people (plural, including the manager) the actual web page on Apple's web site (currently at watch Service Pricing - Apple Support - scroll down). They were very surprised not to have been told about it, very apologetic, and promised to spread the word among themselves.​
(2) Apple will tell you to un-pair your watch before bringing it to the Genius bar. I did this. Do not do this!
(3) Your watch has to be fully paired and functioning for the Genius people to run a special battery diagnostic to test for <80% capacity. Un-pairing my watch at home was quick. Re-pairing takes for… e… ver — for my Series 0, over 45 minutes while sitting in the Apple Store, and that was the 'fast' way as 'new' without re-installing any optional apps.​
(4) My battery 'failed' their diagnostic — it still had more than 80% capacity, they said. Hmph. So I went home.​
(5) After the totally unnecessary and tedious un-pairing and re-pairing as new, and re-installing some apps, surprise! My battery life returned to nearly-new levels. And it has stayed that way. Which is pretty amazing for a 4.5-year-old battery the size of a peanut, used and recharged literally every day. On a few rare days it drains quickly (under 8 hours), for reasons I don't understand, but that's rare.​

I'll add that I bought a Series 4... wore it for 1.5 weeks... and returned it to Apple. Yes, it's sweeter in every way compared to a Series 0. Just beautiful. But my Series 0 is also beautiful, does everything I want (for me), and does 95% of what the new watches do, and costs me $0 to buy at this point, or maybe $79 if the battery ever really dies. We tend to forget just how amazing the original Apple Watch ('Series 0") was and still is.
 


Ken K’s findings about Series 0 battery life have also been found true by me. I unpaired and re–paired my watch a few months after WatchOS 4 arrived and found not only my battery life extended but the watch was a little snappier as well. Just like other Apple devices I own, it’s hard to replace when still working well for many of my purposes, although I do envy the 2-day battery life and other functionality my wife is getting from the Series 3 I gave her in June for our wedding anniversary. I’ll probably have to have someone give one to me again. (My Series 0 was my kids' 60th birthday present to me.)
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
There's a bigger battery in the latest Apple Watch:
iFixit said:
Apple Watch Series 5 Teardown
The big new feature on the Apple Watch Series 5 is its always-on display. Now you can tell the time, anytime—an “innovative” feature that my $20 Timex has had for ages, but it’s easier said than done on a complex device like the Apple Watch. That’s why what really matters is on the inside. Here’s what our teardown uncovered.

We got around to opening up the 40 mm model and noticed a significantly different battery. This one has a snazzy new metal casing, as well as 10% more battery capacity than the Series 4 40 \mm model.
And here's a review from Ars Technica:
Valentina Palladino said:
Apple Watch Series 5 review: A better, more independent timepiece

... You'll likely always need an iPhone to use an Apple Watch, but with every update it continues to get easier to leave that iPhone behind and remain connected to the most important aspects of your digital life by using the Apple Watch.

[SIZE=18px]The Good[/SIZE]
  • Solid build quality and design.
  • Always-on display mode doesn't impact 18-hour battery life.
  • Always-on display mode can be disabled.
  • Accurate internal sensors (heart rate, GPS, etc).
  • On-Watch app store is easy to use and useful.
  • Cycle tracking is thorough and discrete with watchOS app.
[SIZE=18px]The Bad[/SIZE]
  • Activity Trends isn't as detailed as it should be.
  • Still no native sleep tracking.
  • Not many Watch-only apps yet.
  • Only works with iOS devices.
  • Expensive.
[SIZE=18px]The Ugly[/SIZE]
  • No third-party watch faces.
 


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