May 09, 2020

I ordered my first Apple Watch the day they went on sale, April 24, 2015. I was slow enough completing the process that it didn’t ship for a couple of weeks, so I didn’t get the watch until early May.

I’ve worn it, and later the Apple Watch 4 I bought to replace it, every day since. Initially I closed some of the rings some days, but rarely all three rings in a day. Beginning in August 2015 I started closing all three rings every day.

I’ve closed all three rings every day for 1,722 days. One thousand, seven hundred and twenty-two days.

That streak is not at an end, but the “official” record of it on my iPhone is in jeopardy. On Wednesday, three days ago as I write this, my iPhone, a now five-year old iPhone 6S Plus, freaked out and started asking me for my iCloud password repeatedly. After entering that password, I discovered I had to re-enter my mail password, re-setup Authy, and sign back into other apps that sit behind passwords.

At the time I found this annoying, but didn’t really think too much about it. Yesterday afternoon I realized my Apple Watch was no longer syncing with my phone. Looking at the Activity app on th phone I could see a partial day recorded for Wednesday, and nothing at all for Thursday or Friday. It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach.

I immediately rebooted my phone and then my watch. Still no connection. I called Apple Support. Within minutes I was talking to a very helpful woman who gathered some data and had me try restarting my devices again. When that didn’t work she escalated the case to a higher level of support. The next woman and I spent more than 90 minutes on the phone together. By the end of the call she had opened a ticket with engineering, and had captured some log files from my phone. I also sent her several screen shots from the phone and the watch. We also did a full back up of the phone to my computer, using a password so that the health and activity data would be backed up too.

I’m now waiting for a return call on Monday, hopefully to set up a call with the engineering folks. Since the end of yesterday’s phone call, I’ve discovered what I think is the problem: the iPhone’s Bluetooth is not fully functional.

It is only paired with my Airpods. It shows an entry called “Apple Watch”, but there’s no “I” icon to allow seeing more information about that connection. When I try to pair the iPhone and my iPad, the iPad sees the phone, but cannot connect to it. The phone doesn’t see any nearby Bluetooth devices.

From the phone I can “find my watch”, but the reverse is not true. From the watch I cannot ping the phone to locate it.

Whatever happened Wednesday morning about 11 am has damage/crippled/borked the Bluetooth interface on the phone. My hope is that engineering can somehow reset that interface in a way that doesn’t lose my activity data.

I asked during the call how long the watch will store data without syncing to the phone. The answer is: until it runs out of storage, usually about 7-10 days. My watch has 5 GB of used space and 7 GB of free space. There is about 3 GB of music on the watch that I would instantly remove, however, that requires that it be synced with my phone.

It is not possible to pair the watch to a new phone with out wipingg it clean—losing all the data it has. If that were possible I’d go buy a new iPhone today, and restore the backup to the new phone and then pair the watch.

On my iPhone the activity history shows 1,719 days with all three rings completed. The watch has data showing 3 more days (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday), bringing the (potential) total up to 1,722 days. By Monday that potential number will be 1,724 plus Monday.

I am on tenterhooks waiting for Monday’s call. Both tech people were impressed with the length of my streak, and the second one in particular is determined to keep it if at all possible. I fervently hope she can pull that off.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.