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How to Fix the Apple Watch “Storage Full” Error

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Jason Fitzpatrick

An Apple Watch displaying a "Storage Full" error.
Apple

If your Apple Watch says its storage is full, and you haven’t packed it with songs and apps, you’ll need to unpair and repair the watch to force it to clear the storage.

If your Apple Watch is complaining the storage is full, and you’ve packed it full of things, then you know what to do. But sometimes your Apple Watch will complain it’s full when it shouldn’t be. Here’s how to fix both situations.

Your Apple Watch Is Actually Full

If you’ve run into an issue where your Apple Watch is legitimately full of content you’ve loaded onto it, then you’ll simply need to remove some of that content.

You can do so easily by opening up the Watch app on your iPhone and selecting the apps in question, such as the Photos app, Music app, Podcasts app, and so on. There you can turn off syncing, delete synced data, and so on.

You can also remove apps you’re not using too. If you have companion apps set to automatically install on your Apple Watch after you install them on your iPhone, you’ll burn up a lot of storage space pretty quickly.

If you have an older Apple Watch and you just don’t have as much storage as you need, you might want to consider upgrading to a new Apple Watch.

The light 8GB of storage found on older models might be fine for casual use, but newer models sport up to 32GB of storage which offers a lot more room for synced content and loads of apps.

Your Apple Watch Is Mostly “Other” Storage

If you’re reading this article there is a good chance you’re not here because you synced too many albums or photos to your Apple Watch. In that case, the reason your watch is complaining about being full is fairly obvious and you have to delete content or upgrade your watch like we just discussed.

There’s another situation, however, that leaves a lot of people puzzled. You’ve barely put anything on your Apple Watch, and it starts complaining that you’re running out of storage. That’s a situation I found myself in and I was more than a little confused—as I purposely only install apps on my watch if I really need them, and I hardly sync anything.

If you’re in a similar situation, you’ll likely be surprised to see that upon checking your Apple Watch’s storage, the majority of space is taken up by “Other” and not your photos, music, or app installations.

an image showing an Apple Watch with internal storage filled up by the "Other" category.

The issue is that at some point in the past, your Apple Watch used that space for something, such as installing an update of watchOS and failed to relinquish it.

Unfortunately, there’s no secret “purge cache” menu option we can call upon to resolve the problem. Instead, we’re going to unpair and repair the Apple Watch with your phone, forcing it to release the “Other” storage and get rid of the error message that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

To do so, open the Watch app on your iPhone, press the “All Watches” text at the very top of the app interface to access your watch list. In the list, click on the information “i” icon next to the watch you need to unpair. In the detailed information view, click on “Unpair Apple Watch.”

images showing the steps in the Watch app to unpair an Apple Watch.

After waiting for a minute or two for the unpairing process, you can simply pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone again by following the prompts on the screen.

You’ll be prompted to either restore from a recent backup or to set up the Apple Watch as a new watch. You can do it either way. Both methods will purge the phantom “Other” storage. The only difference is restoring from a backup will retain your settings and on-watch data, and starting fresh will not.

When you’re done, the storage allocation on your Apple Watch should look much more reasonable.

an image showing an Apple Watch with internal storage with the run away "Other" category fixed and shrunk to an appropriate size.

Now the “Other” category is a scarce 5% of your storage instead of more than half, and you can use your Apple Watch without it chiding you to free up storage you aren’t even using.





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