The Apple Watch is one of the smallest devices Apple has ever made. But its diminutive size has also made it one of the most popular. But what many Apple Watch newbies find themselves asking first is, “How do I turn the Apple Watch on?” Here we’ll discuss how to do just that.
The Apple Watch Power Button
Despite what you might assume, the Apple Watch doesn’t actually have a traditional power button. That is, there is no one button that is solely designed with the purpose of turning the Apple Watch on and off. Matter of fact, all Apple Watch buttons perform a wide variety of actions.
Each Apple Watch has two main buttons (though there are two on the underside of the device, they are solely for attaching and detaching Apple Watch straps. Those two main buttons are the digital crown and the side button.
The digital crown is that prominent button that sticks out from the side of the Apple Watch. It’s the button that you can rotate around and use to do everything from zoom in on a map to adjust the volume in the Now Playing app. The digital crown also acts as the contact point for your index finger when taking an EKG reading (note: not all Apple Watch models support this feature).
Below the digital crown, you’ll find what’s called the side button. Yeah, pretty bland name, right? This side button has a long, thin shape and is rounded in the corners–kind of like a pill. As with the digital crown, the side button has multiple purposes. For example, you press the side button to confirm an Apple Pay payment or bring up Apple Pay altogether. You also press it to toggle between the Apple Watch’s dock and the watch face or currently open app.
But then, this side button has one more feature, too. You guessed it: it also acts as the power button.
How To Turn On An Apple Watch
When you get your Apple Watch you’ll want to turn it on first before you set it up. To turn on your Apple Watch, do the following:
- Make sure the Apple Watch is strapped around your wrist.
- Press and hold the side button for about two to three seconds.
- Once you see the Apple logo appear on the Apple Watch screen, you can remove your finger from the side button.
If this is the first time you’ve ever turned on the Apple Watch, you’ll be taken to a setup screen. If you’re just turning your Apple Watch on after having already regularly used it, you’ll be presented with the PIN screen where you enter your four-digit pin code. Once you do this, you’re Apple Watch will default to your selected watch face.
What If My Apple Watch Won’t Power On?
Sometimes your Apple Watch might not power on–though this is very rare. If you follow the steps above and your Apple Watch still does not power on, the first thing you should do is place it on the charging cable that came with the Watch. It’s very likely that if your Apple Watch is not powering on it’s because there is no battery left.
Another common reason the Apple Watch doesn’t appear to power on because it’s in what is calls “Power Reserve” mode. This mode only displays the time on the Apple Watch in digit-format. The mode is designed to save power at all costs. To exit this mode, press and hold the side button for between seven and ten seconds. After you do this, the Apple Watch should start up as normal.
If it does not, it’s time to take the Apple Watch into a repair specialist as the battery may be dead.
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.