How to Turn on Apple Watch in 3 Steps (With Photos)

If you just got a new Apple Watch or your watch‘s battery has fully depleted, you‘ll need to know how to properly turn it on to start using your wearable device. Turning on your Apple Watch is simple and only takes a few moments. Follow this straightforward 3-step guide to power on your Apple Watch.

Step 1: Locate the Side Button

The side button is a small, oval-shaped button on the right side of the Apple Watch casing, just under the textured Digital Crown dial. This button powers the watch on and off.

Apple Watch side button location

The side button on an Apple Watch is located on the right edge below the Digital Crown.

Take note of the side button‘s location so you can easily access it whenever needed.

Step 2: Press and Hold the Side Button

To turn on your Apple Watch, press and hold the side button for a few seconds until you see the white Apple logo appear prominently on the display screen.

Keep holding the button down until the Apple logo pops up, then release. This may take up to 10 seconds. The watch will display a spinning loading circle after the logo as it starts up.

Step 3: Wait for the Watch Face to Load

Finally, wait for the default watch face to load on your screen. This indicates your Apple Watch has successfully turned on.

If your watch was recently turned off or reset, it may take additional time to reboot as it reloads data and reconnects to your iPhone. Just leave it alone for a few minutes.

Once you see the colorful watch face, your device is ready to use! Tap on the screen or scroll the Digital Crown to begin.

Apple Watch turned on

The default Apple Watch face means the device is powered on.

Now that you know the basics of powering on your watch, let‘s go over some additional settings and troubleshooting tips.

Configure the Always On Display

Apple Watches released from Series 5 onward have an Always On display mode that keeps basic watch face information visible at all times. Even when your wrist is down, you can still glance to check the time and date.

To enable this capability:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. Toggle on the switch for Always On.

You can further customize which watch complications and app notifications appear when your watch face is always on from this menu.

Troubleshoot Issues Waking the Display

If your Apple Watch screen remains stubbornly dark when raising your wrist or seems unresponsive, try these tips:

Wake the Display Manually

  • Tap firmly on the watch screen.
  • Press the Digital Crown button down or turn it.
  • Press the side wake/sleep button.

Check Display Settings

Under Watch App > Display & Brightness:

  • Confirm Wake on Wrist Raise is enabled.
  • Check Orientation matches how you wear it.

Exit Battery Saving Modes

  • Theater Mode – Swipe up for Control Center on watch to turn off gray masks icon.
  • Power Reserve/Low Power Mode – Disable from battery settings.

By methodically checking these common issues first, you can revive an unresponsive black screen. Force reboot if problems persist by holding both side and Digital Crown buttons until the Apple logo appears.

Charge a Dead Battery

If your Apple Watch battery has fully drained, the device will be unable to turn back on until it charges sufficiently.

Align the inductive charging disc on the back of your watch with its magnetic charger cable. Wait for the green lightning bolt icon to confirm charging mode. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before coming back to check if powered on.

Charging Apple Watch

Properly aligning your Apple Watch with its charging cable will begin juicing it up.

Leaving your watch charging overnight is perfectly fine and won‘t damage the battery. Once charged enough, it will automatically turn itself back on.

If it still won‘t turn on after extended charging, you may need to try a different charging cable in case the original is defective. As a last resort when unresponsive, force restart the Apple Watch.


I hope this guide gives you confidence on how to reliably turn on and wake your Apple Watch anytime issues arise. Just locate the side button, long press it to power on, and wait patiently for the colorful watch face to load.

Enable Always On display for convenient visibility if you have a compatible later model. Rule out basic display and power mode conflicts whenever your screen is being stubborn. Fully charging a dead battery for at least 30 minutes should restore normal function.

Let us know in the comments if you have any other Apple Watch startup questions!

Image credits: How-To Geek

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