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Has your Apple Watch ever crashed, frozen, or run into a glitch? If your Apple Watch is sluggish or something isn’t working right, restarting your watch should get things back to normal. Follow this handy guide to learn how to restart Apple Watch and improve its performance in five easy steps.

Step 1: Take Your Watch Off the Charger

The first step is to take your Apple Watch off the charger. You cannot restart your watch while it is in charging mode. Also, if you are updating your watch’s operating system, wait until the process is completed. Your watch will restart as part of the update process so that no further action may be needed. Once your watch is out of charging mode, you can continue to Step two.

Step 2: Press and Hold the Side Button

The power button will appear when you long press the side button.

If you have an Apple Watch running OS8 or earlier, you will not have a power button on your display. In this case, you press and hold the side button until the Power Off slider appears. You will skip step 3 if your Apple Watch runs OS8 or earlier.

Step 3: Tap the Power Button

Tap the power button in the right-hand corner of your display.

Remember, you will see the power button only if your Apple Watch has been updated to OS9.

Step 4: Swipe Right on the Power Off Slider

Swipe right to power off your watch.

Tapping the power button will bring up a screen with two default options in OS9: Medical ID and Emergency Call. On OS8 and earlier, you will see three options: Power Off, Medical ID, and Emergency Call. Swipe right on the Power Off slider to restart your watch.

Step 5: Press and Hold the Side Button Until the Apple Logo Appears

When your watch screen is completely dark, you will know your watch is off.

Once the watch is off, press and hold the side button again to turn the watch back on. Continue holding the side button until the Apple logo appears. This completes the process of restarting your Apple Watch.

Tips for Restoring Your Apple Watch

Your watch should work fine now, but if you still have issues, try the following fixes.

Restart Your Paired iPhone

You cannot restart your Apple Watch from your paired iPhone, but restarting your iPhone could strengthen the connection between the devices and make both your Apple Watch and iPhone run more smoothly.

If your iPhone has Face ID, you can restart your device by pressing and holding the side and volume buttons. Then, swipe right on the Power Off slider. If your iPhone does not have Face ID, you can press and hold the side or top button until the Power Off slider appears, then swipe right. If Face ID is not working or you’re unsure if you have it, you can also go to Settings > General > Shut Down to restart your iPhone, regardless of the model. Hold down the side or top button to turn your paired iPhone back on until you see the Apple logo.

Force Restart Your Apple Watch

Apple warns users that force restarting the watch should only be done as a last resort. However, if your watch is unresponsive, a force restart may be an option. Do not attempt to force restart your Apple Watch if you’re updating WatchOS. Depending on your wifi connection, it may take some time to update, but once you see the Apple logo and the progress wheel, you will know the watch is in the process of updating. Leave the watch on its charger to finish.

Just as in a regular restart, you will not be able to force restart your watch in charging mode. Once the watch is off the charger, press and hold the Digital Crown and the side button for at least 10 seconds to force restart your Apple Watch. When the Apple logo appears, release both buttons.

What If Your Apple Watch Won’t Restart?

If your Apple Watch will not restart, check to see if the watch is in Low Power Mode (OS9 only) or Power Reserve Mode. If your watch is running OS9, you can tell you are in Low Power Mode when there is a yellow circle icon at the top of your display. Turn off Low Power Mode by going to Settings > Battery, then you can toggle the switch to the off position. When you are in Power Reserve Mode, a red lightning bolt icon will appear next to the time. To exit Power Reserve Mode, press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo appear. Then wait for your watch to restart. Note that you must have enough battery life to exit Power Reserve Mode. If you do not, you will need to charge your watch first.

Restart vs. Reset

The most straightforward approach to solving an issue with your Apple Watch is to restart it following steps 1-5 outlined above. A force restart is also an alternative, but it should only be used when other options have been exhausted. Although a reset is sometimes necessary, you should only reset your Apple Watch if you wish to erase all content and settings and restore your Apple Watch to its factory settings. Otherwise, a restart should be all you need to get back to business as usual!

Now that you have learned how to restart Apple Watch, hopefully, you will rarely experience the issues that make restarting necessary. If you find your watch performance suffering in the future, remember these easy steps to restart and refresh your Apple Watch!

How To Restart Apple Watch, In 5 Steps (With Photos) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Why should I restart my Apple Watch?

Restarting your watch is a good way to improve performance if your watch is running slow, you are experiencing glitches, or your watch is frozen.

How do I know when my Apple Watch has turned off?

When the display is completely dark, the watch is off.

What if I can't restart my Apple Watch?

Check to see if you are in Low Power Mode (OS9) or Power Reserve Mode. If so, turn off Low Power Mode or exit Power Reserve Mode. If your watch does not restart upon exit, charge the watch first.

What should I do if restarting my Apple Watch did not fix my issue?

If your watch is still unresponsive, you can try a force restart as the last resort.

Can I restart my Apple Watch from my connected iPhone?

No. The only way to restart your Apple Watch is on the device itself.

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