Samsung Galaxy Watch not turning on or shows a black screen? How to fix it

Is your Samsung Galaxy watch suddenly stuck on a black screen and won’t turn on when you tap the display or press the buttons? Sadly, you are not alone.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch is a top smart and fitness watch, rivaling the best Apple Watch.

So, it’s really frustrating when your Samsung Galaxy Watch suddenly doesn’t turn on, gets stuck on a black screen, and is unresponsive to your taps! A high price means it has a lot to prove.

The larger battery capacities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch suggests that the battery might not be the main reason for your watch not turning on.

Before troubleshooting, ensure your watch and the Wearable app run their latest versions. Outdated firmware and software can cause these issues!

In a hurry? Updated in a hurry

Don’t have a lot of time? Then, check out our top recommended tips.

  • Check that your watch is charging when on the charger. Try a different outlet to charge from or a different charging cable.
  • Clean the back sensors to remove anything that might block its connection to the charger.
  • Force a reboot. Press and hold the Power and Back buttons until Rebooting appears on the screen, then release.
  • Update the Wearable app and any watch plugins.

Related reading:

Update the Wearable app and your watchSamsung Wearable app or Samsung Gear app update in Google Play Store

Your watch connects to your phone using the Samsung Wearable app and the Wearable Watch Plugins.

So, if your watch isn’t responding or turning on, check for any updates to the Wearable app and its plugins. Check for updates in the Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, or iPhone App Store.

Then, place your watch on its charger, open the Wearable app, and see if it connects to your Samsung watch. If so, check for an update on the watch. 

In the Wearable app, select Watch settings and then tap Watch software update. 

Samsung Wearable app update watchIf an update is available, install it.

Keep it on the charger overnight Charge Samsung Watch

One of the main reasons a Galaxy Watch doesn’t turn is that it’s not charged enough to boot up. A low battery also causes your Samsung Watch to randomly shut down.

If your watch’s battery is completely discharged, it cannot power on. So you need to charge it for some time before turning it on using the correct charger for your watch.

We recommend using the original charger that came with the watch, plugging it into a different outlet than usual, and leaving it on the charger overnight or at least for a few hours. If you have an extra charging cable, try that too.

After allowing the watch to charge for a significant amount of time, keep it on the charger, press the power button (home), and keep pressing it until the screen lights up–it might seem like a long time before the watch responds.

If your Galaxy watch still won’t turn on or if it doesn’t seem to charge, continue to the next steps. The underlying problem could be almost anything from a bad charger to a connection issue or even a bug in a recent update.

Try a forced restart (reboot) if you can hear sounds or feel the watch vibrate

If you feel your watch vibrate or hear it make some sounds, that’s good news and means that your watch is on. However, the screen is not turning on.

So, let’s force the watch to reboot. Press and hold both side buttons on the watch until the screen displays “Rebooting…”

You don’t need to dock the watch on its charger to reboot it. 

How to force reboot your Samsung watch Rebooting Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

  1. Press and hold both buttons on your watch, and don’t let go of those buttons until you see the Samsung logo and the words “Rebooting…” on your watch’s screen. This usually takes 10-20 seconds.
  2. Once rebooting appears on the screen, release the buttons and wait for the watch to restart.
  3. If you can’t press a button, make sure there’s nothing stuck or blocking it by cleaning the button(s), and then try to force a restart again.

Another option is to place the watch on its charger and repeat the steps for a forced restart. Remember to hold both buttons for 10-20 seconds or more.

You may need to repeat these steps several times before your watch’s screen turns on. So if it failed on your first attempt, try a couple more times.

Thinking of replacing your watch’s battery? It’s likely not necessary BiaActive Sensor on Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

The chances are that there is an easier fix for this issue with your Galaxy Watch than replacing the battery.

In our experience with smartwatches, we often find that this problem happens when a faulty connection problem is related to the charging cradle.

This article looks at some of the main issues that might lead to your Samsung Galaxy watch not turning on and provides helpful tips that save you time and dollars.

Start with the charging dock for your Galaxy Watch 

  1. Leave your Galaxy Watch on the charger overnight and charge it to 100%. The charge time for the watch depends upon the watch’s condition and the charger’s condition. There is a chance that your watch has completely drained its battery. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on charger and charged to 100
  1. If you have already tried charging the watch overnight and had no success, there is a chance that the outlet that you regularly use is not operating. We suggest that when you charge your watch overnight, use an alternate outlet or power source that you know works correctly. 
  1. Inspect the Samsung Wireless charger cable. If you see any signs of fraying, it may suggest that the charging cable has run its course, and you need a new Samsung Charging wireless cable. If getting a replacement isn’t possible, use electrical tape or Sugru over the fraying portion and try charging. Damaged charging cable
  1. And the obvious? Are you using the correct wireless charger? We use different smartwatches in our household, and most of these chargers look the same. Flip your charger over and use the right charger to charge your Galaxy watch. Old Galaxy Watch Active chargers may not charge your newer Samsung Galaxy watches. Samsung Galaxy Watch Wireless charging cable

Galaxy Watch not turning on due to faulty charging

  1. Start charging your watch using the wireless charger that comes with it, and let it sit on the cradle for a couple of hours. 
  2. After an hour or two, if you don’t see the charging indicator on your watch’s display, press the Power button on your watch while leaving it on the charger. Does your watch turn on to show the power indicator? If it does, let the charging process continue until the watch is fully charged.
  3. Hold down the Power button while the watch is on the charger and wait for the watch to power on or respond.
  4. After an hour or two of charging, if your Galaxy watch does not show charging status when the Power button is pressed but appears warm to touch, it may mean that your Galaxy watch is too hot (thermal shutdown mode.) Your watch cannot charge until it cools down. Remove the watch, wait until it cools off, and then place it on the charger. Runaway apps can cause the watch to enter into thermal shutdown mode.
  5. Verify nothing is between the charger and the device, i.e., no dust, tape, etc. We have seen many instances where there is accumulated dust or debris on the charger or the back of your smartwatch has collected dust from use. Use a clean piece of cloth to clean out any dirt from the charger and the back of the watch, and then try charging. 
  6. Try changing the charger’s power source, i.e., move to a wall outlet from the laptop. When charging via PC or laptop, the device must be ON and not in sleep mode. You can verify that the charger gets power by using the USB head on another device or outlet.
  7. Drain your watch’s battery entirely by leaving it uncharged for several days or more. Then, place it on the charging dock, wait an hour or so, and press the Power button briefly. See if it shows that it’s charging now. 

If you notice that your watch is charging very slowly, it may be time to get a replacement charging cradle for your Galaxy Watch. 

Check for stuck buttons and clean themUse a microfiber or lint free cloth to clean your Samsung smart watch

With everyday use of the watch, the side buttons on the watch can also accumulate dirt or debris over time.

If you notice that the side buttons aren’t working or require multiple attempts, clean them with a microfiber cloth and if needed, some rubbing alcohol. 

Generally, put a little rubbing alcohol on your finger and rub around the buttons. Push them repeatedly to try and loosen anything that’s built up and prevent them from depressing properly.

What does the charger’s LED light mean?

If your charger has an LED light and shows different color lights, you can interpret this as:

  • Red: Charging
  • Green: Fully charged
  • Red > Green > Orange: Standby mode
  • Orange: Connected to a low-power adaptor

This is true with third-party chargers as well. It is best to use the Samsung-approved charger for your Galaxy watches.

Samsung Galaxy Watch shows a black screen and is unresponsive

If you notice that your watch is charging okay, but the screen turns black and unresponsive, it is not the charging circuitry or battery causing this issue.

  • Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone to confirm this, and look at the battery information at the top of the screen.  

If the battery percentage is greater than 20 – 25% and your watch shows a black screen or is not responsive to the touch, a soft reset helps fix this issue. power off feature on Samsung Galaxy Watch

  1. Press and hold the Power button on the watch while it is charging
  2. You see the ‘Power Off’ button show up on the Options screen
  3. Tap on “Power Off”
  4. Once the watch is powered off, press and hold the Power button until the Samsung Galaxy logo appears, then release the button.
  5. This softest process should help fix the unresponsive issue on your watch.

The other way to reboot is doing it using the long-press method rebooting Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

  • While your Galaxy watch is charging, hold down the power button and keep it pressed until your watch shows that it’s rebooting.
  • It’ll reboot automatically after about 5-10 seconds, and your watch should work normally.
  • If it doesn’t show that the watch is rebooting, press and hold the Power and Back buttons simultaneously until you see a message that it’s rebooting. 

Power Saving Mode and charging

Sometimes, you may have to leave the watch on its charger overnight or more before restarting it. 

This is especially true if your watch was already in power-saving mode before losing all the charge. 

Some users have suggested that when the wireless charger for the watch is not showing signs of charging, you can try the Wireless Power share on the back of your Galaxy S20+ phone or another Galaxy phone with wireless power share and try it.Use Samsung Wireless Power share to charge the watch

If your watch shows the charging indicator when getting power via the Wireless Power share of your phone, use the power button on the watch to soft reset the watch.

If the battery is extremely low, as in this case, the watch display may remain blank for up to 5 minutes before a low battery image appears. It may take 15 minutes to 2 hours before the device can be powered up using the normal wireless charger.

Ideally, to avoid these unresponsive issues on your Galaxy watch, make sure not to allow the device to drain its charge completely. 

Galaxy Watch charging but keeps blinking?

Some users had the issue where their watch screen was unresponsive even to the power button. There was no way of discovering if the watch was getting into reset/ reboot mode.

Other users found that it charges when they put the watch on the charger, but the watch screen blinks.

If this happens to you, you can use the ‘Reset’ feature from the app on your phone and reset the Samsung Galaxy Watch.

There’s a good chance that even though your watch’s screen is not turning on, it is still connected to your phone via Bluetooth connection.

Proceed with caution when resetting. This should be the last thing you try because it disconnects the watch from the app and your phone.

Backup first! 

We recommend that you back up the data on your watch before you do the Reset, if possible.

  • Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your paired phone.
  • Tap Watch settings, and then tap Account and Backup.
  • Tap Back up. Samsung Wearable app backup data from watch
    • Any Music you save on your watch is not backed up.
    • Backups include app data and app settings, your watch faces and their settings, and any customized system settings.

How to reset your Samsung Galaxy Watch using the Wearable app

  1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your Phone.
  2. Some models also require you to tap Watch settings. galaxy 4 watch settings in Samsung Galaxy Wearable app
  3. Tap on General.
  4. And then, choose Reset. Wearable app reset watch back to factory standards

When resetting your watch, it returns it to its factory defaults. So all your personal information and any settings or personalized features are lost UNLESS you backed it up first.

If you don’t have access to the Wearable app or your watch doesn’t show up, you can also try to manually reset the Galaxy Watch using the buttons on the watch and enter reboot mode. This might jump-start your watch to show its screen!

  1. Press the Home and Back buttons until Rebooting displays on the watch’s bottom.
  2. Immediately press the Home button repeatedly until you see the REBOOT MODE menu on your watch’s screen.
  3. Press the Home key multiple times until you select Recovery. Recovery in reboot mode menu on Samsung Watch 4
  4. Press and hold the Home button and keep holding it until you see Rebooting at the bottom of the watch face.
  5. The wearOS Galaxy Watch models show an additional menu:
    1. Swipe down and select Wipe data/factory reset, then swipe right. wipe data and factory reset Samsung Galaxy Wear OS 3 watch like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
    2. Swipe down again to select Factory data reset, and swipe right again to execute the reset.
    3. Once the reset completes, swipe right to reboot the watch again.

Restore your Galaxy Watch’s data after a reset

If you need to factory reset your Samsung Watch, you can restore any data from your backup if you choose.

  1. Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your paired phone.
  2. Tap Watch settings, and then tap Account and Backup. 
  3. Choose Restore data.
  4. Select the data you want to restore, then press Restore at the bottom. Restore data on Samsung Wearable app

Final thoughts

We hope you can fix this annoying problem of your Galaxy Watch not turning on or becoming unresponsive.

If you have tried all the steps and also tried charging the watch with a new charger and have not found success, you may need to contact Samsung’s experienced technicians and have them look at your device.

Your Galaxy Watch may need a new battery. If you prefer to replace the battery on your own (not recommended for novice users), you can follow the steps provided by iFixit after buying a suitable replacement battery.

Please let us know if you have any questions or some additional tips and tricks that worked for you. 

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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.

33 COMMENTS

  1. My GW3 went black screen after an hour in a (warm?) pool. It vibrates and charges but no image on the screen. It did survive several swimming tours in the warm and salty Meditteranean sea without problems before.

  2. I did all the things you told but it still does not work my screen is still black, I remember when I was in the swimming pool it got wet (cold water) I don’t know what to do please help me
    (Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2)

    • Hi Balkaran,

      We’re sorry to hear that your Galaxy Active 2 isn’t turning on. If you haven’t tried charging it using another wall outlet for the charger, please try that. People often overlook this tip.

      Since you suspect the problem might be related to water, we also suggest placing your watch in a box with some of those dried silica packets that come packaged with many electronics for a few days. Those packets are dessicants and help remove any moisture.

      If your Active 2 continues to not work, contact Samsung Support.

  3. I agree they are designed to fail. $100 per year to own a watch is so NOT worth. Samsung is absolutely no help either. Went back to wearing my timed. It’s true…takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Black face but the watch itself is still working. Still rings for incoming calls etc and can still see what it’s doing in the app. There is no reason these days for the watch not to waterproof. Making it break after a couple of years just made me say I don’t need one. It didn’t make me run out to buy another.

  4. I have a GW4 and after trying to restart it, afterwards it would power on. Tried everything and nothing, ended up taking it to Samsung. They are telling me that it needs a new MB at a cost around $100. The watch is one month out of warranty. Been reading that this problem seems to pretty common all of a sudden.

  5. My wife and I both had our watch 4, running the latest release version stop working. 2 watches, same/identical symptoms.

    We were changing the watch face and it froze on the watch even though you could set other faces on the phone interface.

    We hit the power button and go the power off prompt at which we did.

    Watch disconnected from the phone Bluetooth and went black as if off. Now it will not turn on or allow a force start.

    Putting on the charger does nothing, no sound or vibration. It is as if the watch is dead.

    • Hi Lee,

      Oh my goodness, given that it’s both watches, it’s really suspicious behavior! So, since the watch disconnected from your phones (and the Wearable app,) we’ll need to troubleshoot on the watch itself.

      If you didn’t try this already, change the outlets that your watch chargers connect to–if you’re using a USB port, switch to a wall outlet.

      Then, let the watches charge again for a few hours. After charging, try the reboot procedure by pressing both the side buttons and keep pressing until the screen shows that the watch is rebooting–ignore the Power off option if it appears.

      You may need to press both buttons for up to 30 seconds to get the watch to reboot. I know this seems like it won’t work, but I’ve done this many times and just switching to a different power source often works!

  6. I have Samsung Galaxy Watch.
    After long laying unchanged I’m trying to revive it.
    Looks like it charging ok. I see precent of battery during charge, but I’m unable to start it. Tryed all combination – just black screen.
    Maybe the is some specific combination to make it run?

  7. I simply washed my hands after work as I do every single day when I arrive home from anywhere outside the house, and, as I went to remove my watch and power it off to preserve the battery for my next day of work, I had a black screen.

    The watch still vibrated, the app showed power saving was on, charged 30%, but just couldn’t see anything.

    I thought this was strange. Since when does washing my hands disrupt this watch? I have used it daily for work for a couple of years with no issues.

    I left it on the nightstand to charge and thought maybe it’s glitchy, and I’ll look up how to reset it later, which is how I ended up on your page.

    In the a.m., the app showed 100% charge, and I followed all the suggestions you listed and hate I did the phone app reset because now I have nothing as it would no longer connect to the app to see any status.

    After the 2-button hold on the charger step, I now have no vibration either. I really believe these new tech devices are designed to fail after a couple of years. Its all for the $$$.

  8. I was swimming one afternoon and noticed my Samsung Galaxy Watch Active’s screen was totally black.

    I thought the battery had died. I went home and put it in its charger. I opened the Galaxy Wearable App, and it showed me the phone was over 50% charged.

    So right away, I knew it was not a battery issue. I tried to soft reset and reboot it, but the watch face was still black, and the watch would not reset nor reboot. No response whatsoever.

    I could see in the wearable app that the watch was connected to my phone via bluetooth. The only option I had was to open the wearable app, and I chose the option to reset the watch that way.

    After I did that, my watch was no longer connected to my phone via the app.

    I tried the app again to try to link the watch to my phone, but the app would not discover the watch.

    I did have bluetooth turned on, and still, it would not find the watch to connect to the app.

    I tried leaving the watch on the charger while trying to reset and reboot and yet the watch is still black and unresponsive.

    I would try to hold both buttons together for up to 60 seconds to no success….I could hear a short vibration sound whenever I place the watch on the charger, though. I can no longer try anything on the app, and the watch face is black, so I have no options left since I tried everything else.

    Any suggestions?

    • Hi Audrey,

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear your Samsung Galaxy watch isn’t working–it sounds like it may be related to the swimming you mentioned. There could be water that got into the watch itself–the seals degrade over time. Try placing your watch with some kind of desiccate, like those silica packets you often get with shipped electronics and other items. Don’t use rice as it rarely works! Or even place the watch near a cool fan to try and get that water to evaporate.

      Unfortunately, even though the watch is marketed as water resistant and they claim you can swim with it, Samsung does not cover ANY liquid damage, including water from swimming, under its limited warranty.

  9. Active2 used half dozen times for golf which it is a golf edition it went black and dies nothing no reboot no reset nothing so 50 bucks a use not worth it

    • Hi Seif and Mike M,

      If none of the tips worked and your screen still isn’t showing anything other than a black screen, I would contact Samsung Support.

  10. Samsung Gear Sport

    Blank face, fully charged. Tried all the above steps, no luck. Tried resetting using the Wearable app. Cannot reconnect.

    App wants me to confirm pairing number on watch, but watch face blank. I can feel/hear watch vibrating waiting for pairing permission. Tried hard reset, pressing both buttons simultaneously but nothing ever happens.

  11. I have a Samsung galaxy watch active.

    Got it at Xmas and it’s stuck on a black screen. I’ve tried to reboot and also did a reset on my phone, but now it’s not connecting to my phone and is still on the black screen.

    It vibrates when I put it on to charge, but still a black screen.

        • HI RT,

          Sorry to hear that your Samsung watch isn’t turning on or is stuck on a black screen. Did you update any apps or the software recently or add any new apps to the watch?

  12. I have a galaxy active, on the charger it shows charging, but it’s very dark and the icon is green and at times blue but it’s so dark.

    Once on the charger, the screen goes blank and I cannot see anything. The app does show my watch is connected too.I’ve tried everything.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Oh, I am so sorry to hear that your Samsung Galaxy Active watch’s screen isn’t turning on. Since you mention that you tried everything, I assume you tried to restart (reboot) your watch and that the problem remained.

      Although uncommon, let’s check if you turned on some accessibility settings. Open the Wearable app, choose Watch Settings (you might not see this option,) then select Accessibility. Tap Screen reader and toggle Voice Assistant off if it’s on. If you can access Settings, tap that and toggle everything off.

      Return to the Accessibility menu and tap Visibility enhancements. If anything is on, toggle it off.

      Now, go back to Watch Settings and choose Display. Check the level of screen brightness and turn it up. Toggle off auto low brightness.

      Hopefully, one of those was the culprit. If not, talk to Samsung Support–there may be some damage and you might need a repair.

  13. Hi, I have an active 2 galaxy watch and the screen is black with blue lines across the middle. I have tried resetting it, and now , even though my phone can find it, I cannot reconnect as I can’t read anything on the watch

    • Hi Gary,

      Try rebooting it using reboot mode and see if the reboot screen shows up and is legible.

      1) On your galaxy Active 2, press both buttons and wait for the word “rebooting” to appear on its screen (hopefully)

      2) Once you see Rebooting, release both buttons and then immediately press the Home button repeatedly and keep doing this until you see a Reboot Mode menu on the watch’s screen

      3) Choose Continue from the menu and wait for your watch to reboot

      4) Once your watch reboots, open the Wearable app and see if you can connect it. If the Wearable app doesn’t recognize your watch, run through the steps again but choose Recovery instead of Continue from the reboot menu.

      Keep us posted if this doesn’t work or if your watch doesn’t show the reboot mode menu.

  14. so i wanted to see what voice assisants can u do so i turned it on and i saw dark screen so i enable it and now my screen is total black when i try rebooting the samsung logo pops up and i wanna go in my watch but its black what do i do?? btw its a galaxy watch 3

    • Hi Josh,

      Sorry about your watch being stuck on a black screen after giving Bixby a try. Try this: in the Wearable app > Watch Settings > Apps > choose Bixby. At the bottom, tap Force stop or Uninstall.

      I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with your watch, so here’s some additional suggestions:

      1) Open the Wearable app > Watch Settings > Display and toggle on Always on display (or if that’s on, toggle it off and on) and toggle on Touch screen to wake. Just the brightness and see if that makes a difference

      2) In the Wearable app > Watch Settings > Advanced features, choose a different action for double press and press and hold

      3) In the Wearable app > Watch Settings > Accessibility, toggle off TalkBack if it’s on

      4) Open the Wearable app and use a different watch face

      Hope something helps!

      Amanda

  15. My Samsung Active Watch 2 is only 2 months old and suddenly the screen is black and will not work no matter what I do.

    I tried holding down both buttons while charging and not charging. Was at 100% so it is not the battery.

    Followed another suggestion about doing a reset but now all that’s accomplished is me not being able to see anything about my watch on my phone.

    The screen doesn’t work at all so I can’t see the 6 digit code to connect my phone n watch. I know it’s still on bcuz it vibrates. HELP!

    • Hi Dreama,

      We are very sorry to hear that your Samsung Active 2 Watch isn’t turning on. Please try and press&hold the bottom button (called the Home button) and maintain this hold until the screen reactivates (hopefully.) You may need to press and hold that button for about 30 seconds to get your watch to reboot. If you hold it longer than 45 seconds and still nothing happens, then release it.

      • I have the same problem and also tried the reset on my phone and now the watch doesn’t show on my phone either. It vibrates so I know it’s on but nothing else. Have tried all of the suggestions and nothing has worked. My watch is just over 2 years old

        • Hi Melanie,

          Oh, no! Sorry to learn that your watch is stuck in a black and unresponsive screen. Can you let us know what model (Galaxy Watch 3, Active 2, etc) you have some we can provide some tips specifically for that model.

          Does the Galaxy Wearable app recognize your watch?

  16. Please could you help me .. my Samsung watch has a blank face and I have tried reset and holding buttons in and almost everything …

    • HI Gina,

      Sorry to hear that your Samsung Watch isn’t responding. Can you please let us know what watch model you use?

      • I’m having the same issue but I don’t know what model it is, but it’s a rose gold color if it helps and It doesn’t show an additional menu in the reboot screen

        • Hi Kaden,

          Samsung offers several models with a Rose Gold color (or similar, like pink.) Only the Google Wear OS models, like the Watch 5, have the additional menu for factory resetting. For the older models, use the Recovery mode option in the boot menu. Follow these steps:

          1) Press and hold both buttons on your watch.
          2) When you see the rebooting screen, press the home/power button (at the bottom) multiple times until you see Select Reboot Mode at the top.
          3) Tap the home/power button to scroll through the options and stop at Recovery–then press and hold the home/power button to select it.
          4) Wait for the watch to run through its recovery process.

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