avatarby Ankit BanerjeeMarch 9, 20170 comments

Smartwatches haven’t proved to be as mainstream as OEMs would have liked, but one that is done quite well over the last couple of years is, of course, the Apple Watch. First released a couple of years ago and then refreshed last year with an upgraded display, dust and water resistance, and a larger focus on fitness and activity tracking, the Apple Watch has proven to be a natural companion to iPhone owners, and its popularity has grown from strength to strength.

However, as is the case with any current generation smartphone, tablet, and smartwatch, the Apple Watch is not without its problems. Which is why, we’ve rounded up some of the common issues that Apple Watch users have come across, and offer potential solutions and workarounds to address them.

Disclaimer: Not every Apple Watch will have these problems, and in fact, it is more than likely that you won’t come across any of these issues at all.


Problem #1 – Notifications not appearing on the watch

Some users have found that notifications don’t appear on the Apple Watch. This is particularly seen with text messages, but for a few, no notifications show up.

Potential solutions:

  • If you have a passcode set for the Watch, it will lock automatically when you are not wearing it or if the watch cannot detect that it is on your wrist. A simple workaround is to make sure that the strap is tight and the watch is in contact with your skin. Some users have found that disabling the “wrist detection” setting under General Settings helps fix the notification issue.
  • Another setting that seems to be getting in the way is the “Cover to mute” setting. You can disable this by going to the Sound and Haptics section in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. On turning it off, your notifications should start showing up, and you can then enable the feature again after that.

Problem #2 – Activity tracking not working as expected

The Apple Watch Series 2 comes with a larger focus on fitness and activity tracking, but some users have found that it isn’t working as expected, or not working at all.

Potential solutions:

  • This is another issue that seems to be related to the “Wrist detection” feature. Some users have found that disabling this does the trick.
  • This is more likely to be a calibration issue and you may need to re-calibrate the Apple Watch to improve the accuracy of the fitness and activity data. You can find the step-by-step guide on how to re-calibrate the device here.

Problem #3 – Unable to lock the screen

Users have found that the option to lock the screen is no longer available. Unfortunately, the latest WatchOS version, 3.1.3, removes the manual locking option if you have “wrist detection” enabled.

Potential solutions:

  • One option is to disable the “wrist detection” setting, and you can then manually lock the device when you want. Otherwise, the Apple Watch will only automatically lock when it is off your wrist. Disabling this setting does mean that you might not be able to take full advantage of some other features as well.
  • With the Apple Watch Series 2, you can enable “water lock” by tapping on the water droplet icon in the Control Center. This feature locks the screen to avoid accidental interaction with the screen when the watch is under water, but can be used in any other situations as well.
  • If you use the watch for sleep tracking and don’t want it to light up at the slightest movement at night, you can disable the “raise wrist to wake” feature and enable “wake on tap.”

Problem #4 – Unable to pair to a new phone

Some users have found that they are unable to pair the watch to a new phone. This can be after upgrading the phone, or when buying a second hand Apple Watch.

Potential solutions:

  • The only solution here is to erase the watch and then re-pair it. On the watch, go to Settings – General – Reset – Erase all Content and Settings. You should now be able to pair the watch to your new phone. If the watch is locked, you can also press and hold the side button until the Power Off slider shows up. Then long press on the screen till a “Erase all Content and Settings” message pops up.
  • If it is a second hand device, the Activation Lock should be turned off and the device should be erased by the previous owner. You can find out more about it here. If this hasn’t been done, you will not be able to pair the watch with a new phone, and the only option is to get the previous owner to do these steps.

Problem #5 – Connectivity issues

Some users have found that the Bluetooth connection between the phone and watch tends to disconnect frequently.

Potential solutions:

  • Some users have found that erasing the device and re-pairing it tends to work. You can follow the steps mentioned in problem #4 above to erase the watch.
  • First close the Watch app on the phone by double clicking on the home button and swiping up the app preview. Then unpair the watch and turn off both the phone and watch. Restart the phone first, then turn on the watch and re-pair it.

So, there you have it for this roundup of some common problems with the Apple Watch and potential solutions on how to fix them! If you have come across any other issues, do let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll try our best to find an answer for you.

Till then, don’t let this small list of problems deter you from picking up the Apple Watch. All these issues have simple workarounds and future software updates will continue to improve the overall experience. The Apple Watch has proven to be a fantastic companion to make sure that you aren’t continuously having to reach for your phone, and comes with a lot of useful features, particularly if you are interested in fitness and activity tracking.