Reasons Your Apple Watch’s Touch Feature Isn’t Working

Apple Watch screens are quite resilient, but every now and then, you might notice that the touch capabilities aren’t functioning properly. This can be very frustrating, especially if you’re trying to access one of your Watches many useful features. So, what causes the touch feature to malfunction, and what can you do about it?

Dirt or water on the screen, outdated software, or a simple glitch may cause your Apple Watch’s screen to not respond to touch. First, make sure the screen is both clean and dry. Restart the device if it’s still not working. After that, you can make sure it’s up to date re-pair it with your phone.

Sending your watch to a repair shop may be the most effective way to solve issues with your screen if it’s damaged, but that’s a costly and time-consuming option. Instead, we’ve outlined several simple fixes that might do the trick for you below!

Why Your Apple Watch Isn’t Responding to Touch

Female hand touching on smartwatch

For the most part, the Apple Watch (on Amazon) is resilient, scratch-proof, and generally doesn’t break easily. But several factors can affect its responsiveness to touch. The following are possible reasons why your Apple Watch isn’t responding to touch as it should: 

Your Device Has Frozen From a Software glitch

Most devices feature complex inner mechanisms that are susceptible to errors and glitches, and the Apple Watch is no different. Numerous factors can cause the watch to freeze and that automatically affects the screen’s responsiveness. 

Your Fingers May Be Dirty or Covered

The science behind this is that most touch screens are powered by capacitive technology. In short, this technology leverages the fingers’ natural conductive properties to detect touch.

Gloved fingers or fingers covered by oil or dirt particles may compromise the conductive properties. 

The Screen Is Dirty

Any dirt or oil on the screen creates a barrier on the screen, which prevents your fingers from effectively making contact with the screen. 

How to Fix a Screen That Isn’t Responding

Now that we know why your screen isn’t working as it should, let’s go through some easy fixes that will hopefully get your watch back to normal.

Try Unpairing and Repairing Your Apple Watch

Unpairing and repairing your watch is the first thing you want to try if your Apple Watch screen goes cold on you. The issue could be with an app or other content, and pinpointing the source can be challenging to say the least.

Unpairing your watch is an effective fix because it erases all media and other content from your watch. It may erase invaluable content too, but in most cases, it will also take care of the problem. 

You can set up a backup to save all your data, but we wouldn’t recommend it. When restoring your data, you may unknowingly restore the faulty app or file. Follow these steps to unpair your watch safely:

  • Keep your iPhone and watch nearby throughout the entire process. 
  • Launch the Apple Watch app on your phone, select the ‘My Watch‘ tab then select ‘All Watches.’
  • Locate the watch you want to unpair then tap the (info) button.
  • Tap ‘Unpair,’ then confirm. 

It’s Time for a Software Update

Software updates are crucial for computers and mobile devices, not just because installing new updates adds new features, but also because it fills gaps vulnerable to security breaches and hacks. In addition, up-to-date software ensure devices are always running optimally. 

Each software update smooths out bugs and other technical issues on the Apple Watch. So, when you fail to update your watch’s software, the watch’s performance is affected. 

You Need to Clean Your Apple Watch Case

We mentioned previously that any dirt particles on the watch’s screen can render it unresponsive, but sometimes the dirt actually comes from an Apple Watch case like this one from Mixsi (on Amazon). The Apple Watch case should be cleaned regularly to avoid any build-up of oil and dirt.

A mixture of warm water and soap will remove all the dirt and oil from your case. Dip a soft bristle toothbrush or cloth into the solution then use it to lightly scrub the case.

Be sure to work into all the crannies and nooks. Once you’re done scrubbing, rinse the case with cool water and let it dry.

What to Do When Troubleshooting Doesn’t Work

Smart watch on a man

The troubleshooting tips we mentioned above are only quick fixes that you can easily try at home, and they should work in most cases. However, if the issue isn’t surface level, the above solutions may not work. In that case, you’ll need to bring in a professional to have a look at your watch.

The worst thing you can possibly do in this scenario is to take your watch apart in an effort to fix the issue. Not only do you risk inflicting even more damage to your screen, but you’ll also void your warranty if it’s still valid.

If none of the quick fixes do the trick, you can either contact Apple for tech support or take the watch back to the retailer who supplied it. 


Frozen Apple Watch screens are a common issue that users face. Usually, restarting the watch, updating the software, unpairing and repairing, or cleaning the screen and the case takes care of the problem.

In spite of that, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a more serious underlying issue causing your watch to be unresponsive. 

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