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Apple Watch screen not responding to your taps and touch? Let’s fix it.

Apple Watch not waking up or turning screen on

Have you noticed that your Apple Watch screen freezes up and does not respond to your touch? This glitch is very common, and many users have struggled with it. 

Keep reading to learn what could be causing your Apple Watch to not respond to your touch and how to fix it.

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Causes for Apple Watch screen not responding

So, what’s causing your Apple Watch screen to not respond to your touch? Well, it could be several reasons: 

  • Your Apple Watch is in the water lock mode.
  • You use an accessibility touch accommodation setting.
  • Your hands are dirty, wet, or sticky. Or your Apple Watch might not respond to your touch if its screen is dirty, oily, or wet. 
  • You are wearing gloves that are not touchscreen friendly.
  • Your screen protector or case is not compatible with your device. Or, you applied it wrong.
  • The watch has an unresponsive app.
  • Your watch is frozen. 

Any one of these reasons could be the cause of your watch’s issue. But luckily, there’s a fix for each reason! 

How to fix an Apple Watch screen not responding

Since there are so many reasons why your Apple Watch is not responding to your touch, there are a lot of solutions!

Keep scrolling to find the solution that best fits your issue.

Is your watch in water lock?

Look at the top of your watch’s screen. Do you see a water droplet icon?

apple watch water lock mode

If so, your watch has Water Lock on. When you turn on the water lock, your Apple Watch’s screen doesn’t respond to any taps or touches.

So let’s turn that water lock off 

  • Rotate or Press the Digital Crown on the side of your Apple Watch.

    screenshot water lock mode
    When turning off water lock mode, you must turn the digital crown until the circle turns completely blue.
  • Keep turning until the screen says Unlocked. water lock unlocked on apple watch
  • You hear a bunch of beeps as your watch clears any water that remains in its speaker. 

Once done, you should be able to tap and touch your watch’s screen, just like normal!

Check your accessibility settings

Apple includes some accessibility options for folks that have trouble using the watch’s touchscreen. Some of these change how your screen responds to taps and touches.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Choose Accessibility and scroll down to Touch Accommodations and tap it even if it shows that it’s off. Touch accommodations on Apple Watch
  3. Scroll down and turn off all the toggles on, including Touch Accommodations, Hold Duration, Ignore Repeat, and Tap Assistance. Tap and Touch accessibility settings on Apple Watch

Dirty Apple Watch or hands 

If your Apple Watch or hands are dirty, that’s an easy fix! All you have to do is clean it! Give your hands a nice wash. Make sure to dry them well and try again. Apple Watch clean screen

To clean your Apple Watch, give it a nice clean with a tech cleaning wipe or use a microfiber cloth to clean the screen. Remember to be gentle! 

Screen protector issues

If you think your screen protector or case is the culprit, your best bet is to remove it. While screen protectors are great for protecting your device, some for the Apple Watch do not work very well. remove screen protector on Apple Watch

You can try to clean the case and see if that works. Or, maybe you did not put the screen protector on correctly. Try putting it on again and see if it fits better another way.

The best screen protectors for your Apple Watch are made of tempered glass that is anti-shatter and scratch-proof. Look for one rated at a strong 9H hardness level or above that works best for any accidental drops, bumps, or scratches.

Unresponsive app

If your Apple Watch is experiencing an unresponsive app, the best thing to do is to close the app that is not working.

Apple Watch close an app

  • To do so, press the side button on your Apple Watch. This brings up all your active apps.
  • When you see the app, you want to close, swipe from right to left and tap on the X that pops up.

Force restart your Apple Watch 

Now, if your Apple Watch is frozen, that can be a trickier fix. But your best bet is to force restart your watch. force restart an apple watch

Press and hold the side button and the Digital Crown simultaneously and maintain this hold until the Apple Logo appears on your watch’s screen.

This process usually takes about 15 seconds but could be as long as 20 seconds (and maybe even more.)

Other ways to fix

Try these additional tips if none of those worked for you.

Update your Apple Watch

Download and install Apple Watch update on the watch itself

For some users, this issue was a bug from an older version of iOS. So, if you are still experiencing this issue, your best bet is to check to see if your Apple Watch needs an update. 

  1. To check on your Apple Watch, tap on the Settings app.
  2. Then scroll down to General and tap it.
  3. Then select Software Update. If an update is available, connect your watch to WiFi for the fastest way to update your watch, then choose to update your watch.

You can also update your Apple Watch from your iPhone. Open your Watch app and click on General, then select Software Update. If an update is available, go ahead and proceed. 

Unpair and re-pair Apple Watch

unpair apple watch iPhone

If you’re still having issues, you should try unpairing your Apple Watch from your iPhone and then pair it again.

To unpair your Apple Watch, go to the Watch app and select All Watches. Tap on the information icon next to your watch. Then you click on Unpair Apple Watch.

After that, you’re going to want to pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone again. This typically does the trick!

Contact Apple Get Apple to look at your Apple Watch via its support team

Now, if your Apple Watch is still acting up after trying all these suggestions and nothing worked, the issue might be with the watch itself. It might be a hardware problem.

You can always contact Apple’s Apple Watch Support team, but most likely, they’ll give you the same suggestions we did. So, you’re better off just scheduling an appointment at the Genius Bar and having an expert take a look.

Final thoughts

An unresponsive device is the worst thing! Luckily, when your device is unresponsive, there’s usually an easy fix for it.

The tips we listed today also work if you are experiencing a similar issue with your iPhone. 

I hope this helps, and good luck!

I'm a content writer with a passion for all things lifestyle having earned my Bachelor of Science in journalism from St. John's University. I was born and raised in Southern California. My Apple Watch never leaves my wrist, but I also adore Fitbit. I love all things health tech, including fitness and self-care apps. When I'm not writing, I enjoy traveling, reading, and drinking iced coffee!

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