How To Turn Off Your Apple Watch – And Why It’s A Good Idea To

The Apple Watch is a sleek device with a gorgeous touch screen. But despite its inconspicuous appearance, Apple’s wearable has four buttons. The question is: which one actually turns off the Apple Watch?

One Beautiful Touch Screen, Four Physical Buttons


Yeah, most people think the Apple Watch only has two buttons–but there are actually four. Here’s how they break down:

  • Digital Crown: This is the rotating dial on the side of the Apple Watch. Though it rotates and also doubles as an ECG sensor, the Digital Crown is also one big button. It’s how you navigate between the watch face and app screen.
  • Side Button: The name says it all here, right? The side button is…that long button on the side of your Apple Watch. It sits right below the Digital Drown. Most people will use the side button to toggle back and forth between the Apple Watch clock face and the Apple Watch dock. The side button is also the button you double-click to confirm or bring up Apple Pay.
  • 2 Watch Clasp Buttons: these are the two hidden buttons on the Apple Watch–and they only function as physical buttons. These are the buttons on the underside of the Apple Watch that you press to slide your watchbands out of the watch and that you press when you are sliding a new watchband into the watch.

How To Turn Off Your Apple Watch


So which button turns off your Apple Watch completely? That would be the side button. However, simply pressing the side button once won’t shut your Apple Watch off. Here’s what you need to do instead:

  1. Press and hold the side button for about three seconds.
  2. After three seconds you should feel the Haptic Engine kick in on your Apple Watch. This will make the Apple Watch vibrate on your wrist. Once the Apple Watch vibrates on your wrist you can release your hold on the side button. Now, look at the Apple Watch’s screen. You’ll see three options have come up.
  3. The three options take the form of slider buttons. We’re only concerned about the first here. When you see the three sliders, slide the slider that is labeled “Power Off” all the way to the right.

Once you’ve done the above, the Apple Watch will power off completely. Keep in mind this may take a few moments–even up to 30 seconds on older versions of the Apple Watch.

Notes To Keep In Mind When Powering Off Your Apple Watch


There are a few caveats to the instructions above:

  • The instructions above are for watchOS 7 and later only.
  • Your Apple Watch cannot be turned off (if it is already on) when on the charger. If the Apple Watch is on the charger you will need to remove it from the charger and then turn it off following the steps above.
  • Once the Apple Watch is turned off, you can place it back on the charger. The Apple Watch will still charge even when it is turned off.
  • Some people think the Apple Watch might charge faster if you shut it off before placing it on the charger. While there is some truth to this, the charging time gains will be negligible, so it’s not worth shutting your Apple Watch off before each charge.

So why might you want to power off your Apple Watch?

  • Power it off if you plan to store it away for a long time. This will protect the Watch and battery itself.
  • Sometimes it’s also good to turn off the Apple Watch and then turn it on again, just to refresh operational processes on the Watch.

Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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