Apple Watch Repair: Everything You Need to Know

Fix it yourself or take it to Apple

Despite being a fashionable timepiece, the Apple Watch is also an advanced piece of technology. Unfortunately, for some people that means it may occasionally fail or malfunction. This guide identifies some of the most common Apple Watch issues and how you can attempt to repair them.

Causes of Apple Watch Issues

Your Apple Watch is a fully functioning miniature computer that lives on your wrist, so issues might not be traced back to the same cause.

A complete computing solution means that there are a plethora of different problems and solutions available depending on what exactly is occurring with your Watch. Sometimes the problem only reveals itself with the corresponding fix.

How to Fix Connectivity Issues With an Apple Watch

You may find that your Watch refuses to connect to your iPhone, a known Wi-Fi network, or an LTE connection. Follow these steps to get your Apple Watch back in communication with the world.

  1. Turn off Bluetooth. If your iPhone and Watch are having trouble communicating, you should begin by turning off the Bluetooth function on each device, then turning it back on to reestablish a connection. On an iPhone, select Settings > Bluetooth and toggle the switch On or Off. On an Apple Watch, swipe up and select the Bluetooth icon, then toggle the switch On or Off.

  2. Restart your iPhone or Apple Watch. If simply deactivating your Bluetooth for a moment does not fix the communication issue, restart both your iPhone and Apple Watch in an attempt to reestablish a normal connection.

  3. Restore cellular connection. If your Apple Watch normally connects to the internet via a cellular connection but has ceased to do so, try toggling Airplane Mode on and then off. Swipe up and select Airplane Mode on your Apple Watch, then toggle the switch Off and then On.

    If you are still unable to connect with your cellular network, we recommend checking with your cellular provider to identify the problem.

  4. Connect to Wi-Fi. If your iPhone is not around, your Apple Watch can attempt to connect to a known Wi-Fi network for internet access. If your Watch is not connecting, ensure that your iPhone has access to the network and has had a chance to share the information with your Watch.

  5. Restart the setup process. If you recently restored your iPhone or purchased a new device, your Apple Watch may not be properly set up with your phone. You can easily pair an Apple Watch with an iPhone for more detail.

How to Fix Battery Issues With an Apple Watch

Is your Apple Watch draining its battery rapidly? Here are a few suggestions you should try to get your device's battery working properly again .

  1. Enable Power Reserve. If you're looking to stretch your Watch's battery life, the easiest way is to turn on Power Reserve. This will disable the heart rate sensor from activating during walking and workouts. The feature will make you calorie burn data less accurate, but it will help preserve battery life.

  2. Turn off notifications and Wi-Fi. If Power Reserve mode isn't doing enough, you can further reduce your watch's consumption by limiting notifications that light up the screen and by shutting off Wi-Fi on your Apple Watch.

  3. Restart the Apple Watch. Sometimes the fix is as simple as a reboot. If your Apple Watch seems to be draining battery life like there's no tomorrow, simply turning the watch off then back on again may help. Do so by holding down the Watch's side button until the Power Off function shows.

    Continuing to hold down the side button after the Power Off function appears will trigger your Watch to issue an SOS distress. Release the button if your watch begins beeping to prevent the SOS function from engaging.

  4. Contact Apple support. If your Apple Watch battery has ceased to charge, it may be damaged. We recommend calling Apple for support or scheduling an appointment at an Apple Store Genius Bar.

How to Fix Physical Issues With an Apple Watch

None of the Apple Watch's hardware is serviceable by users at home, and will typically require a Genius Bar appointment or support call to get fixed; however, here are a few suggestions for common issues.

  1. Clean the Digital Crown. Apple's Digital Crown has been known to have issues where it may become difficult to turn when dirty. To fix this, take off your Apple Watch bands, then rinse the device with warm water while rotating the Digital Crown for about 30 seconds.

  2. Secure the fit. Is the Apple Watch not picking up your heart rate? Don't worry, you're still alive! Ensure that your Apple Watch is secured tightly enough against your skin, as a loose fit won't be able to track your pulse. Additionally, if you have dark colored tattoos on your wrist, your watch may refuse to track the heart rate as it is unable to sense your vein.

  3. Repair a broken screen. Unfortunately, if your Apple Watch's screen is damaged, it must be repaired by an authorized Apple repair facility. We recommend taking the watch to your local Apple Store for a Genius Bar appointment.

    A woman sitting at a desk as if in a help center.
    Rafal Rodzoch/Caiaimage/Getty Images

The Last Resort for Software Problems

If your Apple Watch is suffering from a number of different software issues, or simply one that you can't overcome, Apple Support may recommend that you reset your Watch. Follow our detailed guide on how to reset your Apple Watch by yourself at home before heading into a store.

Resetting your Apple Watch to factory settings will erase all of its settings and data. Proceed with caution and ensure that your Watch is properly backed up before attempting this fix.

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