Apple Watch stuck in water lock mode? Steps to fix it

water lock on Apple Watch in control center

One of the great features of the Apple Watch is its water lock mode. With the press of a button, Apple Watch users can use their smartwatch in and around any body of water without any worries or fears of damaging their device.

But some users have noticed that their Apple Watch gets stuck when trying to end this mode.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix for this! Keep reading to learn how to resolve the issue.

Suggested reading:

How to turn off water lock mode

apple watch water lock on

When your Apple Watch is in water lock, you see a small water droplet icon at the top of your watch face. Tapping the screen or buttons has no effect when you see that icon.

The good news is that turning off water lock mode is usually very simple.

First, make sure you (and your watch) are in a dry environment–don’t attempt to remove the water lock when you’re still in the water!

Turn off water lock in watchOS 9
When turning off water lock mode, you must press and hold the digital crown until the circle fills up and is entirely blue.

Then, all you have to do is press and hold the Digital Crown to turn off its water lock and continue pressing and holding it.

For older watchOS versions, quickly spin the digital crown until the water lock mode display pops up on your Apple Watch screen. You can spin clockwise or counterclockwise; it works both ways.

screenshot water lock mode
When turning off water lock mode, you must turn the digital crown until the circle turns completely blue.

A circle appears when you press or spin your watch’s digital crown. You must keep pressing or turning the digital crown until the circle fills up. The circle turns into a full blue bubble. Keep pressing or rotating until you see Unlocked on the screen.

Apple Watch unlocked water lock
Please wait for your watch to show it’s unlocked before releasing the Digital Crown

Once you do that, your Apple Watch beeps. Don’t worry. That’s supposed to happen! The sound helps clear out any liquid that got into your Apple Watch. 

When the sound is done, your Apple Watch should be back to normal. 

I often repeat these steps a few times to eject any excess water, especially if the sound coming out of the speaker sounds crackled. 

If you are experiencing an issue with pressing or turning the digital crown and the bubble is not filling up. Don’t worry. There’s a simple hack for this.

If your Apple Watch gets stuck on water lock mode, all you have to do is charge your Apple Watchcharging accessory for apple watch and iPhone for bedside table

When you place your Apple Watch on its charger, it automatically turns off this feature and goes back to its normal settings.

Also, keep in mind that no sound plays when you do this.  

It should work with any charger you have for your watch, including wireless charging pads. But if you see it’s still stuck in a water lock, place it on its original charger. YOu might need to place it on and off the charger a couple of times. And if needed, force restart it while it’s on the charger.

If charging your watch is unavailable, try force restarting your watch by pressing both the side button and the digital crown simultaneously. Keep pushing until the Apple logo appears on the screen. force restart an apple watch

You’ll need to press both buttons simultaneously for more time than usual due to the water lock, but the restart should happen–wait for the Apple logo, then release both buttons. Booting up also takes longer, so be prepared for that.

Final thoughts

Water lock mode is such a great feature on the Apple Watch! Especially if you find yourself in the water frequently. 

One cool feature of the Apple Watch is that it can automatically turn on water lock mode when starting a water-based workout like swimming or surfing!

Have you used water lock mode on your Apple Watch? Let us know! What do you think?

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!

11 COMMENTS

  1. My watch has been doing weird things the last couple of days and now will not let me turn water mode off.

    It keeps zooming in and out and vibrating.

    Turning the crown no longer works to disable water mode and restart didn’t work either.

    When on the charger the display won’t go out. It’s no longer under warranty and I will try charging when I get home and hope it disables it that way otherwise this watch is useless to me.

    • Hi Kylie,

      Have you tried a forced restart where you hold both the Digital Crown and the side button for about 10 seconds or so–only releasing both buttons when you see the Apple logo on the watch’s screen?

      You can do this forced restart when you watch is on or off its charger.

  2. I think I have one of the first Apple Watches. I was stuck in aWater Lock mode. I came to your site and it helped me to get out of that mode.

  3. We can’t keep the watch charger all the time and suppose the watch is locked for swimming and after the swim we need to drain the water we cannot keep it on the charger and unlock it at that time.Can someone help on this how to fix the issue permanently?

  4. I’ve restarted/ force shut my watch but it still doesn’t respond to touch. It can only scroll up or down but doesn’t respond to taps

  5. I recharge it and the symbol does go away, however, it won’t use the feature at all. Each time I just have to reset it instead of it actually working. Is water already in there and now it’s messed up? Please help.

    • Hi Asia,

      Are you experiencing any other problems with the water other than water lock issues? If water was inside your watch and causing damage, you’d see more issues with your watch other than water lock not working correctly.

      Try the following:

      1. Force restart your watch by pressing and holding both the side and digital crown button until you see the Apple Logo on your watch’s screen.

      2. After your watch restarts, shut it down by pressing and holding the side button, then tapping the power off icon at the top and sliding to power off.

      3. Place the watch on the charger and wait 15 minutes.

      4. Power on your watch, then open control center and tap the water lock symbol and see if it works. If it does, you want to press and hold the digital crown to turn it off and eject any water that remains in your watch.

      5. Repeat turning water lock on and off a few times (like 3-5) and then restart your watch again.

  6. I have a watch ultra. But the same thing happened with my precious watch. In the evening it continually goes into water eject mode.

    There is no water. I have to hold the crown until it thinks it has ejected the water.

    It does this repeatedly, mostly in the evening. Repeat: there is no water. What’s up?

    • Hi Dick,

      Sorry to hear that your Ultra keeps going in water lock mode. Since you mention this behavior is happening repeatedly, we suggest you unpair your watch and then re-pair it and set it up as new.

      To do that, open the Watch app on your paired iPhone. Tap the All Watches button at the top, then tap the “i” icon next to your Ultra and choose to Unpair.

      Wait for the unpairing to complete, then re-pair it but choose to set it up as new instead of restoring from a backup. We suggest setting it up as new instead of restoring from a backup to remove any corrupted setting or file that could be causing this behavior.

      If the behavior continues even after unpairing and setting it up as new, there is a greater problem with your Apple Watch Ultra which needs the attention of Apple techs. We hope it doesn’t come to that!

      Keep us posted.

  7. I also had this issue. I forgot to turn off the water lock.

    A couple of hours later, received a phone call. Tried to turn it off while the call screen was up. It appeared to turn off. Icon was gone, but the screen was not responsive.

    I tried everything short of resetting to factory bc I couldn’t since the screen didn’t work.

    About 25 hours after I initially started the water lock, the screen started working again.

    I think they have some kind of failing mechanism that kicks in after some time. So word of advice is to be patient.

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