How to get watchOS 7.4 on your Apple Watch

How to get watchOS 7.4 on your Apple Watch
(Image credit: Apple)

Following watchOS 7, Apple has now rolled out watchOS 7.4 to Apple Watches everywhere, so you can get a new update complete with additional features, such as the ability to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch when wearing a mask.

That's a significant update, but watchOS 7 itself was even bigger, adding sleep tracking, streamlined complications and more, while the updates in between added the likes of Apple Fitness Plus and Time to Walk, so if you've missed out on any of this, now's the time to get your Apple Watch updated.

Below we'll talk you through how to get the watchOS 7.4 software running on your Apple Watch right away with our step by step guide - and if you've missed out on any of the previous updates, you'll get all of their features as part of watchOS 7.4 too.

1. Is your Apple Watch watchOS 7.4 compatible?

The first thing you’ll want to do is double check your Apple Watch can actually run watchOS 7.4. You’ll need an Apple Watch 3 or newer to get the latest software, so if you have an Apple Watch Series 1 or an Apple Watch Series 2 then you’re out of luck. This is true for all versions of watchOS 7.

The exact devices that can run watchOS 7 through 7.4 are below:

2. You'll need to download iOS 14 first

To be able to download watchOS 7.4, you'll need to have iOS 14 or above downloaded onto your iPhone. We're up to iOS 14.5 at the time of writing so it's worth grabbing that, especially as the ability to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch requires both watchOS 7.4 and iOS 14.5.

To get the latest iOS release, you can just head to Settings > General > Software Update on your iOS device and follow the instructions.

3. Ensure your watch has enough charge

To be able to download this software update, you'll need your smartwatch to have at least 50% charge. Ideally, you'll have the watch fully charged up and ready to go, but you may need to place it in its cradle and go make a cup of tea for a little while now.

4. How to download and install watchOS 7.4

Once you're charged, you should be ready to download the software. Make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and near to your watch, plus you'll want to check that your devices are definitely paired.

Then, put your Apple Watch on its charger - this step is required even if it has plenty of charge. Next, open the Apple Watch app on your phone, tap on ‘My Watch’, and then tap General > Software Update.

You should find the latest build of watchOS listed here, which at the time of writing should be watchOS 7.4, so tap that, accept any terms and conditions, enter your iPhone or Apple Watch passcode if asked for either and the update should start.

You will know it’s working because a progress wheel will appear on your Apple Watch. At that point just leave it to download and install the update – depending on your internet speed this could take a while, but make sure you don’t quit the Apple Watch app or restart either device until it’s done.

When the watchOS 7.4 update is finished your Apple Watch will restart automatically and you’ll now have access to all the new goodies.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.