With the unveiling of Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, Apple introduced two new styles of band called the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. Compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 and later watches, these new bands have no clasp, buckle or other fastener. Instead, they use a single strap of material with a stretchy design that allows them to be pulled on and off your wrist over your hand.
As a consequence of the "Solo" design, Apple offers customers 18 different size options to find a perfect fit. The company also provides a printable tool that can be printed out and used to measure your size before buying one of the bands. The tool is the easiest way to check which size is right for you, but you do still need to take care when using it.
Many MacRumors readers have found that their band orders don't quite fit. A lengthy discussion thread shows many users ending up with the wrong size loop, due to measuring errors, in-between sizing, and fit preference. The experience was also complicated by the fact that returns were difficult. Fortunately, Apple does now allow you to return just the band if needed, but it's still an avoidable hassle, which is why we're providing this guide.
If you don't have a printer handy, Apple recommends that you measure your wrist the old-school way, with a flexible tape measure, or using paper and a ruler. We've included separate sets of instructions to help you out with that, too.
How to Measure Your Wrist Using Apple's Printable Tool
If you don't have a tape measure available, you can use Apple's printable tool to determine your Solo Loop size. Let's take you through the procedure step by step.
Tool Tip: Use a Sport Band to Convert Your Size
Daring Fireball's John Gruber discovered that the holes on Apple's Sport Bands correspond exactly to the new Solo Loop sizes. That means if you have a Sport Band, you can use a simple conversion to work out your Solo Loop size.
A demonstration of aligning the holes of a 40mm Apple Watch Sport Band with Apple's printed tool, via Daring Fireball.For example, if you have a 38mm or 40mm Watch and use the smaller Sport Band on the innermost hole, that converts to a size 1 for the Solo Loop. At the other extreme, if you have a 42mm or 44mm Watch and use the larger Sport Band on the outermost hole, you need to order your Solo Loop in size 12.
How to Measure Your Wrist Using a Tape Measure
If you don't have a printer available to use Apple's printable tool, you can use a common household measuring tape instead. Here's what you need to do to make sure you order the right size Solo Loop for your wrist.
How to Measure Your Wrist With a Ruler, Paper, and Pen
If you can't print out Apple's measuring tool and you don't have a tape measure, there's still a way you can work out your band size. All you need is some paper and scissors, a ruler, and a pen or pencil.
Returning an Ill-Fitting Solo Loop Band
Despite your best efforts at measuring your wrist, you may still find yourself unhappy with the fit of the Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop band you ordered. All is not lost, however, as Apple is now allowing bands to be returned without the need to return the entire watch, which wasn't the case previously.
Apple will do an in-store band swap for anyone who got an ill-fitting band, but if you don't live near a store or your local store isn't open at this time, you can contact Apple and request a swap. Apple's online support staff are not able to initiate this return process, however, so you'll need to call them. Once you've done that, send back the poorly-fitting band and you'll be sent a new one when the old one is received.Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)Related Forum: Apple Watch