Is Apple Watch not updating the time or showing wrong time?

Always on faces on apple watch

Is your Apple Watch not changing its time, or is it showing the wrong time? Either way, having the incorrect time on your Apple Watch is an annoying occurrence.

We have a solution for every occurrence. Keep reading to learn how to fix this issue.

Before you troubleshoot, don’t forget to check for any updates for your watch and pared iPhone and update them if one is available! This often fixes minor issues like this.

Suggested reading:

How to change time from paired iPhone

Your best bet to make sure your Apple Watch displays the correct time is by changing its time from your paired iPhone. Follow these steps.

Make sure you turn on location services

location services iPhone app

Location services are the most important setting when you want to correct your device’s display time.

  1. To make sure location services are enabled, go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Then scroll down to Privacy and tap that.
  3. Select Location Services. When in the Location Services settings, scroll down to Apple Watch Faces and select it.
  4. Make sure While Using the App is the selected setting.

Check if you have Bluetooth on

iPhone bluetooth settings

You should also make sure Bluetooth on your iPhone is on so your Apple Watch can connect.

To turn on Bluetooth, go to the Settings app and select Bluetooth. Tap the slider button and make sure it lights up green. When it is green, your iPhone’s Bluetooth is on, and your Watch actively connects to your iPhone.

check bluetooth connection

To check your Apple Watch’s Bluetooth connection, swipe up on your Watch Face to bring up the Control Center. At the top of the screen, look for a green light in the shape of a phone.

When you tap that, it should tell you if your iPhone connected to your Apple Watch. If it is connected, then your Bluetooth is working fine.

Restart iPhone and Apple Watch

iPhone force restart

Restarting your devices is always the best first step to take whenever you experience any technical glitches.

To restart your Apple Watch, hold down the side button and slide the power off button. 

To restart your iPhone, you need to hold down the Siri and volume buttons until the Apple Logo appears on the screen. Or, if you have a later model, hold down the side button and the volume buttons until the Slide to Power Off button appears.

When restarting your Apple Watch or iPhone, you should turn your device off for a minute or two and then turn it back on.

Make sure iPhone and Apple Watch are nearby

iPhone and apple watch

Your Apple Watch may display the wrong time or time zone because your iPhone isn’t close enough to your Watch.

If they’re not nearby, your iPhone won’t be able to connect to your Apple Watch. Make sure they’re close by to ensure it updates to the correct time.

Check iPhone’s date and time settings

set date and time automatically on iPhone

If the time on your iPhone and Apple Watch is showing the wrong time or not changing its time, then you should check the date and time settings on your iPhone.

  1. To check your date and time settings, open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down to General and tap it.
  3. Then click on Date & Time.

When you’re in the date and time settings, you can either have it set to automatically change or choose a time zone.

Try toggling Set Automatically off and back on–this often jump-starts your Watch and iPhone to connect to Apple Servers to get the updated time.

How to change time from Apple Watch

If you want to change the time directly from your Apple Watch, there are some ways to fix it. Here’s how.

Check the Face Display Time Ahead setting

apple watch clock settings

On the Apple Watch, there is a setting called Face Display Time Ahead. You can set your Apple Watch clock face to a later time by no more than an hour in this setting.

So if your time is off by minutes, this could be the reason why.

So, check if you set your Apple Watch minutes ahead of your paired iPhone. If you do not want the Watch’s time to be ahead, make sure you set it at +0 minutes.

  • To check this setting, go to the Settings app on your Apple Watch and scroll down to tap Clock
  • If it shows anything other than 0, tap the minutes and turn the Digital Crown, so the + number is zero, then tap Set.
    Appel Watch remove any extra minutes added in the clock app

Restart your Apple Watch

how to restart the apple watch (not forced restart)

Whenever you have any issue with your Apple Watch, restarting it is always your best bet to resolve any glitches.

To restart your Apple Watch, hold down the side button and slide the power off button.

Make sure the time is actually off on your Apple Watch Face

Okay, it might sound silly, but it is important to double-check if the time is off on your Apple Watch Face. Some users have made this mistake before!

Make sure you’re not in another time app like world clock or a sunset/sunrise time app instead.

How to change the time when traveling to different time zones

If you’re planning on traveling to another time zone and want to make sure your devices are at the right time, there are plenty of ways to be prepared.

Automatically connect to local time zone

If you want to have your iPhone and Apple Watch automatically adjust to the local time zone, you can set that by going to your iPhone’s date and time settings.

Open the Settings app. Scroll down to General and tap it. Then click on Date & Time. To set automatically, make sure the slider button lights up green. When it is green, that means that the setting is on.

I also like using the 24-hour Clock when traveling since some countries use this, and you never get confused between AM or PM.Set iPhone time zone automatically

For this to work correctly, you also need to have Location Services on. To make sure location services are enabled, go to the Settings app on your iPhone.

  • Then scroll down to Privacy and tap that.
  • Select Location Services.
  • When in the Location Services settings, scroll down to Apple Watch Faces and select it.
  • Make sure While Using the App is the selected setting and toggle on Precise Location. location settings for Apple Watch faces

Select specific time zone in settings

If you don’t want to have your iPhone or Apple Watch automatically change its time, you can select a particular time zone in the date and time settings.

Open the Settings app. Scroll down to General and tap it. Then click on Date & Time. To select a specific time zone, there are two steps.

  • First, you have to make sure Set Automatically is turned off. Once you toggle the button, you can select which time zone you want.
  • Tap on Time Zone and type which time zone you want. Type in whatever city you want, and select it. Change time zone manually on Apple Watch and iPhone

Apple only offers a certain amount of cities you can choose from. Once you tap your selected city, your device changes its time zone’s location and the current time.

How to update a loved one’s Apple Watch’s time with Family Setup

If you manage an Apple Watch for a child or an elderly parent, you can update their device for them from your iPhone.

As long as you set up their devices by using Apple Family Sharing.

How to set up an Apple Watch for a loved one by using Apple Family Sharing Apple Watch Family Setup

First, turn on the Apple Watch and pair it with your iPhone. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and open the All Watches tab. Then select Add Watch.

When the Apple Watch set up appears, click on Set Up for a Family Member. Then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions to continue setting up the Apple Watch.

See this article for a step-by-step on setting up a family’s Apple Watch for a child or another family member that does not have an iPhone.

After you set up your loved one’s Apple Watch, you can manage their Apple Watch directly from your iPhone.

How to change the time on a loved one’s Apple Watch that’s setup using Apple’s Family Setup

To change the time on a loved one’s Apple Watch, open up their watch settings on the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

Go to the Watch app and choose All Watches. Tap a watch under Family Watches and scroll down to click on General. Then select Language & Region and choose Change Region. This feature changes the Apple Watch’s time zone.

If you are having issues attempting to fix the time, check the Screen Time settings on their Apple Watch.

  1. Open the Watch app on the iPhone that your family uses to manage Apple Watches for your child or another family member that does not have a paired iPhone.
  2. Tap All Watches. All Watches button in Watch app for iPhone
  3. Scroll down to Family Watches and choose your child’s Watch. Apple family watches in family set up
  4. Choose Screen Time and tap Screen Time Settings. Then review your choices and make changes or set it up.

You can also change Screen Time settings for your child’s Apple Watch via the Settings app on your iPhone > Screen Time and then tap your child’s name under the Family and choose your preferred settings.

Some users reported issues with the time caused by the ‘Don’t Allow Changes’ setting for Location Services. Try turning that off then try to change the time zone again.

Temporarily turn Screen Time off for your child

If you still can’t get the correct time for your child or family member’s Apple Watch that’s set up via Apple’s Family Sharing, try turning Screen Time off.

On the iPhone you use to manage your child’s or family member’s watch, go to Settings > Screen Time and tap your child’s or family member’s name, then turn off Screen time.

Restart the child or family member’s Watch and wait to see if the time is updated. If so, go back and turn Screen Time on again.

Final thoughts

Having the time be inaccurate on your Apple Watch can be a major inconvenience. But following these tips hopefully resolve any issue you have on your Apple Watch.

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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