Is Your Apple Watch Not Charging? Here’s What to Do
While the Apple Watch is a fantastic smartwatch, it’s not immune to fault. If your Apple Watch isn’t charging, there’s no need for immediate panic. You might need to try another charger or perform a software update. In some cases, the device itself might be faulty, but hopefully this doesn’t apply to you—seeking repair can be a hassle, especially out of warranty.
To help you out if your Apple Watch isn’t charging, we’ve rounded up all the fixes to try. Follow these through in order and hopefully your Apple Watch will successfully charge once more.
How Does the Apple Watch Charge?
Since the Apple Watch was unveiled in 2014, the charging method has remained the same for all models. The device uses a slightly modified Qi wireless charging technology that only works with official Apple chargers and authorized third-party accessories.
All Apple Watch models have a slightly curved base that allows a magnetic connector to adapt to the device’s surface and charge the Apple Watch. This method exists because the Apple Watch wouldn’t be water-resistant if it had a Lightning or USB-C port.
Wireless charging often brings more problems than just using a cable, and maybe that’s why your Apple Watch isn’t charging anymore.
1. Update watchOS
In most cases, your Apple Watch won’t charge because of software issues, which can typically be resolved by updating watchOS. To do this, open the Watch app on your iPhone. Tap the My Watch tab from the bottom menu and go to General > Software Update.
If there’s an update available for your Apple Watch, press Download and Install and wait for the process to complete. If there isn’t an update available, you’ll see this message: “Your Apple Watch is up-to-date with all the latest bug fixes and security enhancements.”
2. Try Another Charger
Your Apple Watch’s charging issues may not be with the device itself, but rather the charger. Try powering the charger through a different power source (another USB port or wall socket).
If that doesn’t work, try using a different charger entirely. You might not have a spare, so see if you can borrow one from a friend before shelling out for a replacement.
3. Clean the Watch and Charger
Wireless charging technology is quite complex, so dirt or something else between the charger and the Apple Watch can be the cause of your device not charging. As such, you should clean the Apple Watch and its charger.
First, turn off the Apple Watch, remove it from the charger, and remove the band. Take a non-abrasive, lint-free cloth, lightly soak it with fresh water, and carefully clean the base of the device. Disconnect the cable from the power adapter and gently clean it. Dry both the Apple Watch and the cable with another cloth. Lastly, connect everything and check if the device is now charging.
4. Look Online to See If the Issue Is Widespread
If you found that the charging issues occurred soon after an update, check online to see if others are having the same problem. If that’s the case, Apple will likely release another patch imminently, especially if it’s widespread.
Alternatively, in the rare circumstance that an update has bricked your smartwatch, Apple might acknowledge its fault and replace your device, even if it’s no longer under warranty.
5. Unpair Your Apple Watch
If you continue having issues, unpair and repair the Apple Watch from your iPhone. This restores your Apple Watch to its factory settings, though your iPhone will create a backup. To do this:
- Go to the iPhone Watch app.
- Tap the My Watch tab from the bottom menu.
- Select All Watches in the top-left.
- Tap the information icon next to your Watch.
- Press Unpair Apple Watch.
Once you finish this process, you can then pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone again by bringing the two devices close together. When done, see if your charging issues are resolved.
6. Factory Reset Your Apple Watch
If you still can’t get your Apple Watch to charge, try manually triggering a factory reset. This wipes your data from the Watch and sets everything back to default, just like unpairing does, but it’s worth trying this separately anyway.
To do this:
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
- Select My Watch from the bottom menu.
- Go to General > Reset.
- Tap Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings.
- Enter your passcode to confirm.
Wait until you see that the Apple Watch is ready to pair again. But before you do that, try charging it. If it works, you should be able to pair it with your iPhone and your problem will be solved.
7. Make a Genius Bar Reservation
The Apple Store specialists have advanced diagnostic tools that can help determine the exact problem with your Apple Watch. To make a Genius Bar reservation, go to Apple’s website and click Get hardware help. You should take your charger with you in case that was what was causing the issue after all.
If your Apple Watch is still under warranty and has no visible damage, you’ll have to wait at most 48 hours for a replacement. However, if your device is no longer covered by Apple’s warranty or has visible damage, and you don’t have an AppleCare+ contract, be prepared to spend some money on repairs. Depending on the model you own, it may even be cheaper to buy a new device.
Make the Most of Your Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is an expensive device, so it’s important that you get the most out of it. If your watch suddenly stops charging, there are plenty of things you can try before thinking about a replacement. Hopefully this guide will help you enjoy your Apple Watch for many years to come—besides, there are still plenty of features to discover!