We’ve all been there — you lift your hand to check the time or notifications on your smartwatch and realize the screen is blank.
But like other types of wearable technology, smartwatches can occasionally run into glitches that cause them to crash and stop working properly.
That said, if your smartwatch is not turning on, don’t panic just yet!
You can try several troubleshooting steps to get your smartwatch powered back on before you have to pay for any repairs.
In this post, I will show you how to fix a smartwatch that won’t turn on using 11 easy & DIY solutions.
11 DIY Fixes for How to Fix a Smartwatch That Won’t Turn On
Smartwatches can stop turning on for a variety of reasons.
Fortunately, you can easily turn it on and get it working normally with one of the following 11 DIY troubleshooting methods.
1 — Reboot Your Smartwatch
The first easy fix to try is to reboot your smartwatch. Similar to restarting a computer, rebooting a smartwatch can help clear out any minor software glitches that may be preventing the device from powering on.
To reboot your smartwatch, hold down the power/side button for at least 10 seconds. This will force your smartwatch to power off.
Rebooting gives the internal software a fresh start, often resolving temporary issues that may have caused the watch to get stuck while turned off.
2 — Force Restart Your Smartwatch
If rebooting your smartwatch didn’t get the job done, the next step is to force restart it.
Think of force restarting as a more advanced reboot that clears out any software issues at a deeper level.
Force restart procedures vary by smartwatch brand and model, so you’ll need to look up the steps for your specific device.
For example, to force restart an Apple Watch, hold down both the side and Digital Crown buttons until you see the Apple logo.
For a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch, press and hold the Home key to bring up the power-off prompt. Continue holding the Home key through the reboot until you see the Samsung logo.
If you use some other brand’s smartwatch, check your smartwatch manual or the manufacturer’s website for exact instructions on force restarting your model.
Performing a force restart often helps get a watch powered on when standard reboots don’t work.
3 — Charge Your Smartwatch
If force restarting your smartwatch still doesn’t turn it on, make sure the device is charged.
It sounds obvious, but many times a “dead” smartwatch simply has a drained battery.
These wearable devices have limited battery life, often lasting just a day or two per charge depending on use.
So, make sure your smartwatch is actually charged. If it’s not, let it charge for at least 30 minutes before attempting to turn it on again.
Most importantly, be sure to use the charger cable that came with your specific smartwatch model. While you can use other cables, using a compatible charger ensures proper charging and avoids issues.
4 — Clean the Charging Contacts
Dirty charging contacts either on your smartwatch or charger can prevent a proper connection, blocking power from reaching your device.
So, try cleaning the metal charging contacts on both your smartwatch and the charging cable/dock using a cotton swab dampened with isopropyl alcohol.
Once done, let them fully dry before attempting to charge again. Debris buildup on the contacts can stop power transfer.
But with a quick cleaning, you can re-establish a solid connection so that your smartwatch can charge properly and turn on.
5 — Try a Different Charger
If your smartwatch still fails to turn on, the issue could be with the charger itself. The charging cable, adapter, or dock contacts could be defective and unable to deliver power to your device.
Try charging your watch with a different certified charger for your specific model. Avoid cheap off-brand chargers, which are often unreliable. Use an OEM charger from the manufacturer or an Apple MFi-certified charger for Apple Watch.
If your watch successfully charges and powers on with a different charger, then you know the original was faulty.
In case you are busy and can’t find time to go to the store to shop for another adapter, consider charging your smartwatch using a laptop or desktop (PC) to charge the smartwatch.
6 — Update Your Smartwatch Software
Another easy fix is to check for a pending software update for your smartwatch.
Most smartwatch manufacturers periodically release updates that include bug fixes, new features, and performance improvements.
Updating to the latest software can potentially resolve an issue preventing your smartwatch from powering on.
So, connect your smartwatch to your smartphone or computer and check if there are any pending software updates available from the manufacturer.
- For an Apple Watch, connect it to your iPhone and open the Watch app – go to General > Software Update.
- For Wear OS watches, connect to your Android phone and open the Wear OS app – go to About > System Updates.
If you see any latest updates available, install them and then try restarting your watch to see if it will turn on.
7 — Factory Reset Your Smartwatch
If your smartwatch still won’t turn on after updating, resetting it to factory settings may do the trick.
Resetting clears out any corrupted data or settings that could be crashing the device.
While resetting will erase your custom settings and installed apps, your activity data, history, and other personal content will be preserved.
If you’re not sure how to reset your smartwatch, refer to the user manual or manufacturer’s website for the reset procedure.
Resetting your smartwatch gives it a fresh start while retaining your irreplaceable data. More importantly, it also resolves deeper software issues blocking it from powering up.
8 — Check App and Phone Compatibility
Smartwatches rely extensively on their companion smartphone apps and paired mobile devices to operate properly.
If your smartwatch is not turning on even after doing a factory reset, make sure both the app and your phone are running the minimum required OS version for compatibility with your watch.
For example, you may need iOS 13 or later for an Apple Watch to sync properly.
Sometimes, outdated or incompatible apps and phone software can prevent connectivity and cause power failure.
So, download the latest compatible OS updates for your phone and companion app. This will help ensure proper syncing that allows normal power on.
9 — Unpair Then Repair Your Smartwatch
Even if your software is up-to-date, simply unpairing and then repairing your smartwatch to your smartphone can help establish a fresh connection between the devices.
Through your watch’s companion app on your phone, unpair or disconnect your smartwatch. Then pair again as if setting up a new device. Input your passcode when prompted to reconnect.
This forces your phone and watch to re-establish their link on a clean slate. Any glitches in the existing connection are wiped out, allowing proper communication for charging and powering on.
10 — Check If Your Power Button Is Not Working
Another simple thing to check — make sure the power/side button on your smartwatch is fully functional.
Sometimes, the button could be jammed or broken, which may be preventing your smartwatch from being able to turn on.
In this case, try pressing the button firmly at different angles to see if it is just stuck.
Does it feel loose or unresponsive when pressed?
If so, this physical button issue needs to be repaired before your watch can turn on.
You may need to take it to a device repair shop to have the button properly fixed or replaced before your smartwatch will power up.
Alternatively, you can also read my other article on How to Turn on a Smartwatch Without the Power Button. I have shared 5 easy methods you can use to turn on a smartwatch without having to use the power button.
11 — Examine Your Smartwatch for Physical Damage
Finally, closely inspect your smartwatch for any signs of physical or liquid damage that could cause power failure.
Look for cracked screens or housings, damaged or missing buttons, leaked battery acid, water corrosion from moisture, or anything else that indicates physical damage.
Any of these hardware issues can prevent a smartwatch from being able to turn on. They require physical repair or replacement, which can often be done through the manufacturer if under warranty.
Use the Last Resort — Contact the Manufacturer
If you’ve tried all of the above fixes carefully with no success, your last resort is contacting the smartwatch manufacturer for assistance.
Visit your nearest service center and explain precisely what is happening when you attempt to turn on your watch while charging.
The manufacturer can help diagnose what hardware or software issue is causing the power on failure. They may have additional advanced troubleshooting tips to suggest over the included basic fixes.
If they determine your smartwatch is faulty and unfixable, they can also assist with a replacement. Most reputable companies have warranty programs in place for manufacturing defects.
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Hopefully, this article has given you some practical troubleshooting steps to try at home before taking your watch for professional service.
Follow the 10 fixes I’ve outlined here in the recommended order, and there’s a good chance you’ll get your unresponsive smartwatch working again.
If the simple at-home fixes don’t work, the manufacturer is there to provide additional support so you can get back to enjoying the convenience and functionality of your smartwatch.