Last week, Apple launched the new Apple Watch Series 6 and a pair of new Watch straps to go with it: the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop. Both are made of stretchy, unbroken material without a clasp or buckle, which makes choosing the right size extremely important.
But as reported by MacRumors, it seems buyers have an extra reason to be careful: if you buy the wrong-sized band, you’ll have to return the Watch and band together to get it changed. With constrained supplies on both the new bands and the Watch Series 6 itself, that might mean a delay of weeks, even months, before your replacement arrives.
Apple customers have been complaining about this on Twitter and MacRumors’ forum. Eli Hodapp, an exec at mobile gaming subscription service GameClub, even shared an exchange he had with an Apple support employee, who agreed with Hodapp’s suggestion that the system was “kind of insane.” As the support worker said: “Yes, totally agree with you. But Apple do have a policy since it is considered a configure to order purchase.”
And as one user posted on MacRumors: “I assumed if you ordered the incorrect size, you could keep the watch and just return/exchange the band. But Apple support through chat said you have to return the watch and the band. That’s so wasteful. And frustrating. I’m selling my S4 watch and the buyer will have to keep waiting until it’s all sorted out.”
(We’ve contacted Apple to confirm the policy and will update this story if we hear back.)
The whole situation has also been made worse by the pandemic. The best way to ensure you’re getting a good fit on a watch band is, of course, to try on various sizes in person. Some customers say they’ve also been able to swap ill-fitting bands in stores. But with so many outlets still closed because of COVID-19 and customers understandably wary about making unnecessary trips during a global pandemic, this isn’t an option for everyone.
Apple has tried to ameliorate the problem by issuing a paper fitting guide, which users can print out and place around their wrist to find their size. But a number of customers say the sizes recommended by the guide don’t always match the fit of the delivered product. The Verge’s own staff have found similar problems, with the band sizes recommended by the guide arriving slightly too loose. This isn’t just a comfort issue, either, as the Watch Series 6’s headline feature, its new blood oxygen monitor, requires a good fit to operate properly.
In other words: be careful when ordering one of the new Solo bands, and if you can (and if it’s not too dangerous), try to try one on in person. If you’ve had any problems with the size or return policies of the new bands, let us know in the comments below.