Can't make my apple watch change to another face from my iPhone any more

I noticed the other day when I hit the “Set as current Watch Face” button in the apple watch app on iPhone, nothing happens at all. further, I added a new watch face in the iPhone apple watch app, and it doesn’t show on my watch in the list of faces I can switch between. then I also noticed that my omnifocus tasks won’t sync on my watch. everything else I checked worked, such as complications are pulling data, getting notifications, even things like phone calls ringing on my watch and siri still working. it’s an original ultra, running 10.1; haven’t updated to 10.1.1 yet. note I also have an apple watch series 5 which I use as my sleep watch. need to see if that one is controllable from my phone or not, I haven’t checked that.

things I have tried: reboot phone and watch, no change. toggle airplane mode on phone and watch, no change. reset apple watch completely, then set it up again and restored it from backup. that fixed it for a day or two but now it doesn’t work again. and the restore copied a bunch of my faces. so now I have 58 watch faces but almost all are duplicated, and some are duplicated 4 times. so in reality I probably have 25 unique faces.

any advice?

edited to update WatchOS version

Might be worth updating the 10.1.1. Whilst it’s not likely that the update itself will fix it, it might reset whatever is causing the issue.

You can also try (on your iPhone): Watch app - Settings - General - Reset - Reset Sync Data.

I don’t believe this setting removes anything other than what is specifically mentioned on the page, but do your own research to make sure!

If you’ve got the Ultra and have the Cellular enabled, it’s possible that the working areas are doing so independent of the phone, either through your carrier (phone calls) or iCloud.

What happens if you turn off the Cellular on the watch?

I turned off cellular and wifi on my watch, and was able to send an iMessage, and the weather app pulled weather data. so the data conduit over bluetooth is working.

last night I was able to update my phone from 17.1 to 17.1.1.

I also checked on my series 5 sleep watch; that has the same trouble. data in general works, but config items like watch faces won’t copy between phone and watch. (couldn’t set current watch face from phone either).

today I’ll get the watch updated to 17.1.1 but I’m not optimistic.

Got the ultra updated to 17.1.1; no change though.

So I read that watchOS 10.2 will bring back an option to swipe between watch faces like before. Thinking that I may not be able to set that option from the iPhone watch app in my current state, I decide I would reset both watches and only set up my newer one for now to see if that helped. So one last time I tried to set the watch face from the watch app on iPhone. This time it worked. I haven’t tried to do anything else since my last post. So I guess that’s great. Hope it doesn’t stop working again!

I had a couple things going on. first, I’m getting really bad wifi interference at home. walking from one room to another, wifi will quit working. I found if I turned wifi off and back on, on both watch and phone, it would then work again.

second problem was much worse. I’ve never set up my phone as new since when I got my very first iphone, an iphone 3g! I’ve been restoring the same image all these years. my iphone in October starting taking 30 minutes to reboot (not exaggerating, it was actually half an hour!). eventually I woke up one morning and it was on the apple screen and it wouldn’t boot. had to do a dfu mode restore, then restore from icloud. then it happened again, updating from iOS 17.1.1 to 17.1.2. so I did another dfu mode restore then took it to the apple store. all hardware diagnostics passed, so then we rebooted in the store and it was still trying to boot after a few minutes. so I got the dreaded “set it up as a new iPhone” speech. so I did. this was a nightmare, and I’m still not done, not everything is yet configured as I had it. the first week I spent all my spare time configuring stuff. I restored the “problematic” icloud backup to my older iPhone 12 pro max so I could see the old settings and duplicate them by hand on the new, from-scratch set up. then I had to go through the same thing with the watch (restored my old series 5 watch from the old 12 pro max to see the settings, then duplicated it all manually on my ultra, then restored the new image from the ultra onto the 5 which I use as my sleep watch). on the old image I had 396 apps. now I have 171. similarly, on the watch I had 33 watch faces. now I have 15. funny story, the “bad” image works fine on the 12 pro max, and the “from scratch” image works fine on the 14 pro max, but the “bad” image didn’t work at all on the 14 pro max (unless, of course, I never rebooted or updated iOS).

also, the apple store technician recommended not even installing, not to mention using, any third-party vpns. she said she had seen a lot of networking issues with them, even when turned off. so I’ve stuck to that so far, just to eliminate variables.

with the clean installs, I was able to see the home wifi issues clearly. still working on that. I moved my (brand new) cablemodem as far away as possible from the eero base station plugged into it; this increased the wifi speed by an order of magnitude. I imagine the analog circuitry in the cablemodem must be very noisy. but I still periodically have to restart the cablemodem, which makes the eeros reset something, and then the wifi works again for 24 hours or so.

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