Apple Watch screen stuck? Unresponsive scrolling? Try these quick fixes

Apple Watch apple logo on screen after restart or force restart

Several users reported that their Apple Watch Screen gets stuck and becomes unresponsive to scrolling. Here are a few ideas on how you can resolve this issue quickly on your own.

Irrespective of the Apple Watch model, the screen freeze can happen from time to time.

Most of the time, this is related to a software issue, or the behavior happens following an update, or you haven’t updated your Apple Watch with the latest applicable software in a long time. Whatever the reason, here are some potential fixes.

Related reading:

Check with Apple first for problems with a Series 6 watch

Before we head down the path to troubleshooting this issue, it’s important to isolate some of the known issues and guidance Apple offers.

First, if you are having these issues and, more importantly, a blank screen on your Apple Watch Series 6, you may want to reach out to Apple since they offer a free service repair.

Apple has determined that the screen on a tiny percentage of 40mm Apple Watch Series 6 devices may blank permanently.

The affected devices were manufactured between April 2021 to September 2021. Check out this Apple Service Guidance to see if your Watch qualifies. 

Apple Watch screen stuck and unresponsive? Check these tips out

Let’s start with the basic step. Have you tried restarting the Apple Watch?

  1. Press and hold the side button until you see the Power off prompt. Restart by powering off Apple Watch or shut Apple Watch down
  2. Drag the slider, and once the watch turns off, press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo on the screen. Most Screen freeze problems usually get sorted with a simple watch restart.

Try force restarting your Apple Watch

A forced restart does not remove any saved data from your Watch.

  1. To force restart your Apple Watch, press and hold the side button and Digital Crown for at least 10 seconds. force restart an apple watch
  2. Release both buttons when you see the Apple logo.

Force restarting is helpful if your Apple Watch is stuck on a watch face and you cannot swipe up or down on the screen to access the control panel or view your notifications.

Never force restart your watch while it is updating to the latest software.

If your Apple Watch is stuck on the Apple logo, see this article for more tips: Apple Watch stuck on Apple Logo? Steps to fix it

Apple Watch screen unresponsive when pairing a new iPhone?

Sometimes the screen freeze happens when you try to pair your Apple Watch with a new iPhone.

We have seen this issue several times. Remember to keep the watch on the charging cradle when trying to update.

In these instances, your Apple Watch is usually stuck with the Apple logo displayed on the screen. Turn off Bluetooth temporarily.

I have to do this every time I update my Apple Watch. It forces the update to be complete over Wi-Fi, which is way faster than Bluetooth.  

Apple Watch Screen stuck with a red exclamation mark                  

If your Apple Watch shows a red exclamation mark on the screen and is unresponsive, you may have to send it to Apple Support for repair. Apple Watch Red exclamation mark after updateSome folks say that keeping the watch on the charging puck for a day or so resolves this, but we haven’t experienced this.

The best you can do is to keep the watch on the charger overnight and if it is still unresponsive, reach out to Apple Watch customer care.

Apple Watch Side button stuck

 Is your Apple Watch screen stuck on the Power off-screen and keeps auto-dialing SOS / 911?

For many users, this happens because the side button on the Apple Watch becomes unresponsive.

This problem often happens to some watches if they have been exposed to water.

Went swimming? Please switch off the auto-dial feature on the Apple Watch and let it sit on the charger for a day. See if that makes any difference.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap the My Watch tab.
  2. Tap Emergency SOS.
  3. Turn off Hold Side Button to Dial. Turn off automatic dialing for SOS emergency on Apple Watch

If you think it’s swimming and water-related, try using some rubbing alcohol with cotton and clean the side button gently.

If this doesn’t work, send it to Apple Care and have them repair it.

Apple Watch Screen Stuck on the Activity Rings

Here is another trick to get the watch to respond. This especially works if your activity-related data (your activity rings) appears stuck and is not refreshing on the screen.

  • Open the Health app on your iPhone and manually add some workout data.
  • Tap on Browse at the bottom of the screen once you open the Health app.
  • Next, tap on Activity > Steps > Add Data. Manually add steps to iPhone Apple Health app
  • Add in some Steps here manually, and press Add to save it. Save manually added steps to Apple iPhone Health app

This forces the health app to start syncing with your Apple Watch, and it takes care of any stuck activity data on your Apple Watch screen.

Apple Watch Screen stuck with red charging or lighting bolt symbol? stuck on power reserve mode when charging Apple Watch

When you see this screen, it means your watch is in Power Reserve.

Sometimes you intentionally put it in this mode, or your watch’s battery depleted to the point where it automatically turned on (usually when at less than 10% charge remaining.)

But sometimes, it just comes on even when your watch’s battery has plenty of charge remaining.

We’re not exactly sure why this happens, but it happens quite a bit irrespective of Apple Watch models.

Turn off Power Reserve on your Apple Watch

  1. Place your watch on its charger, if available.
  2. Press and hold the side button and release it when you see the Apple logo on its screen.
  3. Wait for your Apple Watch to restart. 

Apple Watch stuck on power reserve mode when charging?

If you put the Apple Watch on its charger and it gets stuck with this power reserve screen, try the following:

  • Remove the Apple Watch from the charger and let it completely discharge.
  • Once it has lost all its charge, put it back on the puck and let it charge overnight. This usually takes care of the problem.

Spotify Downloads appear stuck on Apple Watch? apple watch spotify app

This is another one of those annoying issues where the third-party app, Spotify, in this case, has a bug of sorts.

The download process does not appear to be going anywhere.

The best thing you can do is to switch off the Bluetooth on your iPhone and force Spotify to download your content using Wi-Fi–this should take less than a minute to complete.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Turn off Bluetooth.
  3. Once the downloads are complete, turn Bluetooth back on.


We have tried to cover some of the most common issues about an unresponsive screen on the Apple Watch. We hope that this helps out and saves time for users. 

If none of these have worked for you, you may consider un-pairing the watch and iPhone and then re-pairing them.

Lastly, before you decide to send the Apple Watch to customer support, one last thing that you can try is to factory reset the Apple Watch

Please sound off using the comments below if you have additional questions or want to share a tip or two that helped you get out of this annoyance on your Apple Watch. 

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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