How to turn on an Apple Watch

Apple’s lineup of smartwatches is brilliant – whether you’re looking for a value option or a top-of-the-range premium pick, the best Apple Watch for you can take a few different shapes.


However, whether it’s the Apple Watch Exaltado or the more affordable SE, every Apple Watch model shares the same user interface, and turns on and off in the same way. Find out how to work it, right here.

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How to turn on my Apple Watch

Turning on your Apple Watch is very simple, provided there’s nothing wrong with it.

  1. Hold down the side button next to the Digital Crown until the Apple Logo appears
  2. Wait for the watch face to appear

Depending on your model of Apple Watch (particularly if you have an older one) you might find that it takes a little while for your watch to fully boot up ready to use, but newer versions are getting faster all the time.

Apple Watch Series 8-1

Apple / Pocket-lint

Apple Watch Series 8

The Apple Watch Series 8 has a great design, heaps of sensors, and more features than you’ll probably know what to do with. Its battery life isn’t the best on the smartwatch market, but fast charging makes it easy to charge daily and the fitness features are superb.

How to make my Apple Watch turn on again

If you’re finding that the above steps don’t work, there could be something funky going on with your Apple Watch, and the below options could help you to toubleshoot it.

Charge your Apple Watch

It might seem obvious, but if you haven’t used your Apple Watch in a few days and can’t get it to turn on, it could just have no battery left. Apple’s watches only last a couple of days at most on a charge (unless you’ve got the Exaltado), so it’s easy to forget to charge them.

To charge your Apple Watch, just connect it to the magnetic charging puck that it comes packaged with and wait for it to display its charging status.

If you find that it won’t charge, you could have a faulty charging cable or power outlet, both of which are worth swapping for alternatives to see if they’re the source of the issue.

Apple Watch SE (2022) review photo 17

Reboot your Apple Watch

Sometimes Apple’s software can get thrown for a loop and your Apple Watch can be left unresponsive – a reboot can help break it out of this cycle more quickly.

Why won’t my Apple Watch turn on?

If none of those fixes have worked for you, there could be a few things wrong with your Apple Watch, and it could be worth heading to an Apple Store to see if an employee can help you figure things out (or book in a repair if needed).

However, there are still a few things that could be happening.

Apple Watch frozen

Sometimes (rarely, but still) your Apple Watch will have a bit of a heart attack and just freeze up – it’s hard to detect, but if the watch is unresponsive and won’t turn on or off, this could be the cause.

Fixing this could be a matter of a simple reboot as discussed above, but if you still can’t jog it into life then you might have to head to an Apple Store.

Apple Watch Ultra initial review: Rugged and ready photo 25
Pocket-lint

Theatre Mode or Power Reserve

Apple Watches have two modes that can make them look unresponsive if you’re tapping the screen – Theatre Mode and Power Reserve.

The first is activated by swiping up from the bottom of the watch screen to access the Control Center, where you can hit the Theatre icon to activate or deactivate it, to stop your screen lighting up and disturbing anyone. However, clicking the Digital Crown or side button in Theatre Mode will wake your watch, so if it’s still not responding it won’t be this.

The same goes for Power Reserve, which Apple Watch models can use to keep their battery going for longer when they’re on very low charge, turning off power-hungry settings to go more basic. Again, though, clicking the side button or Digital Crown should wake it.

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