How to Fix the Apple Watch App

Introduction

Your Apple watch generally relies on your iPhone's Watch app to allow the two to communicate so it can bring you alerts about incoming text messages, emails, phone calls, etc. This guide will go over some basic troubleshooting steps if your Apple Watch app is not functioning properly.

Make sure to test your devices after performing each one of these steps. Any one of these steps may individually resolve the issue you're experiencing. If you feel like a particular step has resolved your issue, feel free to skip to the end of this guide.

iPhone and Apple Watch together.

1 Check Connection

If you don't get notifications, messages, or calls on your Apple Watch, your Apple Watch and iPhone might not be connected.
  1. To open Control Center, swipe up from the bottom of the watch face.
    Swipe motion indicated on watch face.
  2. If your Apple Watch is not connected, you will see a green iPhone icon in the top left corner of the screen:
    iPhone connected symbol pointed out on watch screen.
  3. If your Apple Watch is not connected, you will see a slashed red iPhone icon in the top left corner of the screen:
    iPhone disconnected symbol pointed out on watch screen.
    Or even a red X in the top left corner of the screen:
    Red X pointed out on watch screen.
  4. If you see the airplane icon lit up within Control Center, Airplane Mode is on. Tap it to turn it off.
    Airplane option highlighted on watch screen.

2 Check Connection

  1. Keep your Apple Watch and paired iPhone close together to make sure that they're in range.
  2. On your iPhone, make sure that Airplane Mode is off and that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on. To check, swipe up to open Control Center.
    iPhone control center screen highlighting connectivity options.

3 Restart

To restart your device:

iOS devices with side buttons pointed out

Restart your iPhone X

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either volume button until the slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn your iPhone X completely off.
  3. After your iPhone X turns off, press and hold the Side button again until you see the Apple logo.

Restart your iPhone 8 or earlier, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Press and hold the Top (or Side) button until the slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn your device completely off.
  3. After the device turns off, press and hold the Top (or Side) button again until you see the Apple logo.

With iOS 11 or later, you can also turn off your device by going to Settings, then General, then Shut Down.

4 Restart

If your Apple Watch is charging, take it off the charger first. When your watch is charging, you can't restart it.

  1. Press and hold the side button until you see the Power Off slider.
    Side button highlighted on Apple Watch and Power Off sliding direction pointed out.
  2. Drag the slider to turn off your device.
  3. After your watch turns off, press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo.

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Your Apple watch generally relies on your iPhone's Watch app to allow the two to communicate so it can bring you alerts about incoming text messages, emails, phone calls, etc. This guide will go over some basic troubleshooting steps if your Apple Watch app is not functioning properly.

Make sure to test your devices after performing each one of these steps. Any one of these steps may individually resolve the issue you're experiencing. If you feel like a particular step has resolved your issue, feel free to skip to the end of this guide.

iPhone and Apple Watch together.

If you don't get notifications, messages, or calls on your Apple Watch, your Apple Watch and iPhone might not be connected.
  1. To open Control Center, swipe up from the bottom of the watch face.
    Swipe motion indicated on watch face.
  2. If your Apple Watch is not connected, you will see a green iPhone icon in the top left corner of the screen:
    iPhone connected symbol pointed out on watch screen.
  3. If your Apple Watch is not connected, you will see a slashed red iPhone icon in the top left corner of the screen:
    iPhone disconnected symbol pointed out on watch screen.
    Or even a red X in the top left corner of the screen:
    Red X pointed out on watch screen.
  4. If you see the airplane icon lit up within Control Center, Airplane Mode is on. Tap it to turn it off.
    Airplane option highlighted on watch screen.
  1. Keep your Apple Watch and paired iPhone close together to make sure that they're in range.
  2. On your iPhone, make sure that Airplane Mode is off and that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on. To check, swipe up to open Control Center.
    iPhone control center screen highlighting connectivity options.

To restart your device:

iOS devices with side buttons pointed out

Restart your iPhone X

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either volume button until the slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn your iPhone X completely off.
  3. After your iPhone X turns off, press and hold the Side button again until you see the Apple logo.

Restart your iPhone 8 or earlier, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Press and hold the Top (or Side) button until the slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn your device completely off.
  3. After the device turns off, press and hold the Top (or Side) button again until you see the Apple logo.

With iOS 11 or later, you can also turn off your device by going to Settings, then General, then Shut Down.

If your Apple Watch is charging, take it off the charger first. When your watch is charging, you can't restart it.

  1. Press and hold the side button until you see the Power Off slider.
    Side button highlighted on Apple Watch and Power Off sliding direction pointed out.
  2. Drag the slider to turn off your device.
  3. After your watch turns off, press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo.
If your Apple Watch still can't connect, these steps will take you through the process of unpairing your devices and then pairing them back together again.

Depending on which version of the Apple WatchOS your device is running, what you see on your watch may differ slightly from these photos. However, the steps outlined in this process should be no different.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
    Apple watch settings icon.
  2. Tap on the General setting.
    Apple watch settings screen with general option highlighted.
  3. Select Reset.
    Apple watch general settings screen with reset highlighted.
  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
    Apple watch reset screen with erase all content and settings highlighted.
  5. Type in your passcode (if prompted).
    Apple watch enter passcode screen.
  6. Scroll or swipe to the bottom of the on-screen message and select Erase All (or, if you have a cellular plan and wish to keep it, Erase All & Keep Plan).
    Apple watch cellular plan option screen.
  7. Your watch will now begin the unpairing process.

It'll take a few moments for your Apple Watch to complete the unpairing process. Once finished, your Apple Watch will need to be re-paired with your iPhone in order to be used again.

Depending on which version of Apple's iOS your device is running, what you see on your screen may differ slightly from these photos. However, the steps outlined in this process should be no different.

  1. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
    Apple Watch.
  2. Tap your active watch at the top of the My Watch screen.
    Apple watch app highlighting the currently installed watch.
  3. Tap the info button to the right of your current watch.
    Apple watch app highlighting current watch's info button.
  4. Select Unpair Apple Watch.
    Apple watch app highlighting the unpair apple watch option.
  5. Confirm the process by pressing Unpair [watch name].
    Apple watch app confirmation prompt highlighting the unpair watch button.
  6. If you have cellular service, choose to Keep or Remove your plan.
    Apple watch app cellular plan prompt displaying options for removing device's cellular plan.
  7. Disable Activation Lock by entering your Apple ID password and pressing Unpair.
    Apple watch app Apple ID prompt highlighting the need to enter the associated password.
  8. Your watch will now begin the unpairing process.
    Apple watch app beginning the unpairing process

It'll take a few moments for your Apple Watch to complete the unpairing process. Once finished, your Apple Watch will need to be re-paired with your iPhone in order to be used again.

Before you begin, make sure Airplane mode is off and Bluetooth is on. To do this, swipe up on your iPhone to open Control Center.

  1. Turn on your Apple Watch.
    • To turn on your Apple Watch, press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo. This may take a few minutes.
      Side button highlighted on Apple Watch.
  2. Put on your Apple Watch.
    • Hold your Apple Watch and iPhone close together. Wait for the Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch message to appear. Tap Continue.
      iPhone and Apple watch attempting to automatically pair. Continue button highlighted. Illustration.

      Keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together until you complete these steps.

  3. Hold your iPhone over the animation.
    • Center the watch face in the viewfinder on your iPhone. Wait for a message to say that your Apple Watch is paired.
      Capturing Apple watch screen with the iPhone's camera. Illustration.
  4. Set up as new or restore from a backup.
    • Then choose which wrist you want to wear your Apple Watch on. Read the Terms and Conditions and tap Agree, then tap Agree again to continue.
  5. Sign in with your Apple ID.
    • If asked, enter your Apple ID password. If you aren’t asked, you may be prompted to sign in later from the Apple Watch app.
  6. Choose your settings:
    • You can set up Location Services, Route Tracking, and Siri. If Siri isn’t already set up on your iPhone, it will turn on after you choose this option.
  7. Create a passcode.
    • You can skip creating a passcode, but you will need one for features like Apple Pay.
      Apple watch app create passcode screen.
  8. Choose your settings:
    • You will be taken through setting up features like SOS and Activity. If you have a Series 3 Apple Watch with GPS & Cellular capabilities, you will also be prompted to set this up as well. Then you can choose to install apps that are compatible with Apple Watch.
      Apple watch app install available apps screen.
  9. Wait for your devices to sync.
    • Depending on what options are chosen and how much data is being synchronized, syncing might take some time.
      Apple watch app beginning synchronization screen.

Keep your devices close together until you hear a chime and feel a gentle tap from your Apple Watch. Once this happens, your Apple Watch has been successfully paired with your iPhone.

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