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Normally, your Apple Watch would be on all of the time. However, if you are a new Apple Watch user or your watch ran out of power, you may need to know how to turn it on. We’ve got you covered if you’re in either of these situations! Follow these three easy steps to learn how to turn on Apple Watch!

Step 1: Locate the Side Button

The side button is on the right-hand side underneath the Digital Crown.

Step 2: Press and Hold the Side Button

Press and hold until the Apple logo appears in the middle of the display,

Step 3: Wait for the Watch Face to Appear

Wait for the watch face to appear on your display.

If the watch is on, the Apple Watch face will also appear when you tap on the screen or press the Digital Crown.

Always On

If you have Apple Watch Series 5, Series 6, Series 7, or Series 8, you can use the Always On feature. Even when your wrist is down, Always On will display the watch face and the time. Normal function will resume when you raise your wrist. If you are in Low Power Mode, Always On will turn off.

To use Always On, open the Settings app on your watch. Scroll down and tap Display and Brightness. Then tap Always On. Toggle the switch to turn on Always On, then tap the options on the menu to configure their settings. You can choose which complications, notifications, and apps will show on the display when your wrist is down.

Turn on Always On and choose the configurations for each option.

What if you are not sure your watch is on because the display remains dark? Continue reading to learn about some common issues and how to address them.

Wake Apple Watch

If your watch face is dark, you may need to wake the display. There are four ways to wake the display by default:

  1. Raise your wrist
  2. Tap the display
  3. Press the Digital Crown
  4. Scroll the Digital Crown upward

If your Apple Watch does not wake up when you try these methods, your watch may need to be charged. Although these actions are the default, Wake on Wrist Raise and Wake On Crown Rotation can be turned off in Settings. Open the Settings app on your watch to ensure they are turned on. Next, scroll down to Display and Brightness. Then, toggle the switch to turn on Wake on Wrist Raise and Wake On Crown Rotation.

Toggle the switch from grey to green to turn these actions on.


The issue may be orientation if your watch does not wake when you raise your wrist. If you have changed how you wear your watch, you must also change your orientation settings. Open Settings, then scroll down to General. Select Orientation, then make your changes.

Change the orientation settings if you switch your watch to the other wrist.

Theater Mode

If you accidentally enable theater mode, the screen will remain dark when you raise your wrist. To wake Apple Watch when theater mode is on, you can tap the display, press the side button, or press or turn the Digital Crown. Swipe up on your display to open Control Center to turn theater mode off. Then tap on the masks icon.

Press the masks icon to turn theater mode on or off.

Low Power Mode

You can also check to see if you turned on Low Power Mode. Always On will not work in Low Power Mode, so your watch face will remain dark. Tap the display to see if your watch is in Low Power Mode. If it is, you will see a yellow circle icon at the top of your screen. To exit Low Power Mode, open Control Center, then tap your battery percentage icon. Toggle the switch to turn off Low Power Mode.

The yellow circle indicates Low Power Mode is on.

Screen Curtain

If you use Accessibility features, your display is turned off note when you turn Screen Curtain on. To disable Screen Curtain on your Apple Watch, open up your Watch app on your connected iPhone. From the My Watch tab, tap Accessibility > VoiceOver > Screen Curtain. Then toggle the switch to turn off Screen Curtain.

Toggle the switch to disable Screen Curtain.

What if Your Watch Still Won’t Turn On?

If your Apple Watch will not turn on and your display is dark and unresponsive, your battery may be dead. To charge your Apple Watch, position the back of your watch on the charger. When your watch aligns with the charger’s magnets, you will see the green lightning bolt icon on your display. This indicates your watch is charging. When your watch has enough battery power, it will turn on itself. If that does not work, you may need to try a different charging cable in case your cable is faulty.

If your watch still does not charge or respond, you can try a force restart as the last resort. Press and hold the side button and Digital Crown to force restart your Apple Watch. Then, release the buttons when the Apple logo appears.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn how to turn on your Apple Watch. Now that your watch is on, you can leave it on unless you need to restart your Apple Watch due to performance issues. Remember to keep your watch charged; it will stay on until you turn it off.

How To Turn On Apple Watch In 3 Steps (With Photos) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How can I tell if my Apple Watch is on?

The watch is on if the watch face appears when you tap on the screen or press the Digital Crown.

Why won't my Apple Watch turn on?

The most common reason Apple Watch won’t turn on is low battery. Connect your watch to its designated charger and when your watch has enough battery life, it will power on.

What should I do if my Apple Watch will not turn on and it will not charge?

If your watch will not charge or respond, you can try a force restart as the last resort.

How do I wake my Apple Watch display?

You can wake your Apple Watch display by raising your wrist, tapping the display, or pressing or turning the Digital Crown.

Can I use the Always On Feature on my Apple Watch?

You can use the Always On feature on Apple Watch Series 5, Series 6, Series 7, and Series 8.

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