The Apple Watch is a gem of a thing: This writer is on their fifth one, the Apple Watch Series 7. But while it’s beautifully made, it’s more like a phone than a mechanical watch when it comes to its battery: if I don’t charge mine every day it soon runs out of power.
So charging problems aren’t just irritating, they’re disastrous. Luckily, most charging problems are easily fixed. And if the worst happens and your battery’s completely gone it’s not too expensive to replace it.
Here’s what to do when your Apple Watch won’t charge.
1. The basic bits
Let’s start with the basics. Is your Apple Watch completely dead? If it is, it won’t power on the moment that you connect it to the charger even if both watch and charger are perfectly healthy, but the lightning bolt should appear after a few minutes on charge. If it does, give it another 30 minutes on the charger to see if the battery charges normally.
No joy? Make sure that your charging cable is connected to the charger, that its USB connector is fully inserted and that the charger’s plug hasn’t been knocked out fully or slightly. It seems obvious, we know, but not so obvious that we haven’t ranted and raved about a dead device before discovering that we’d knocked the charger when vacuuming or the kids had unplugged it.
If the charger is connected to an extension lead make sure that’s connected and hasn’t been switched off either. Try connecting the charger directly to the wall socket: if that works then your extension lead is the problem here.
2. Use the Apple bits
If your charger isn’t the Apple original, put it to one side and get the charger and cable that came with your Apple Watch. Plug it in, connect the Watch to the charging puck as normal and give it a few minutes to see if the lightning bolt appears. If it does, it’s likely that the fault is with your third-party charger.
3. Check the cable
Is the cable clamping itself to the correct spot on the back of your Apple Watch? Has the protective plastic been removed from both sides of the charging puck? Are the puck and the back of your Apple Watch clean and free from anything that might prevent them from connecting properly?
If you have another USB power adapter, use that instead of the existing one.
If you’ve had more than one Apple Watch it’s likely that you have an old charging cable kicking around. If you do, dig it out, connect it and see if that solves your problem. Apple Watch charging cables don’t tend to suffer the abuse that iPhone chargers have to endure, but they can still break. Signs of wear and tear aren’t always obvious: a cable might look absolutely fine on the outside but be broken inside.
4. Restart if you can
If your Apple Watch still has some battery power, try a Force Restart. You can do this by pressing and holding the Digital Crown and the side button simultaneously and holding them for at least 10 seconds, or until you see the Apple logo. This will reset the Apple Watch software, so if the charging issue is a software glitch it may solve your problem.
5. Call in the big guns
If you’ve tried everything and your Apple Watch is still not charging, it’s time to get some outside help. Apple doesn’t do Apple Watch repairs inside Apple Stores, so you’ll need to visit the Apple website’s Apple Watch section (opens in new tab). From here you can talk to an advisor or arrange to send your Apple Watch in for repair.
It’s important to note that if your Apple Watch is out of warranty, battery replacement is not free unless there’s a manufacturing fault. At the time of writing, out of warranty battery replacement is £82 in the UK and $79 in the US.