Why Is My Apple Watch Screen Black? [Troubleshooting Guide]

An unresponsive black screen on your Apple Watch is not a fun sight. After all, it’s meant to make your life easier, not harder. 

Then, why is my Apple Watch screen black? If you’re asking this question, the most common reasons are improper charging, turning on Screen Curtain, and corrupted software. However, in certain Series 6 models, the fault is on Apple’s end.

While little can be done for that last one, a series of troubleshooting steps can take care of the rest. 

What Does Having a Black Screen in Apple Watches Mean?

Those fallen victims of a black screen on their Apple Watch often refer to the scenario as the ‘Black Screen of Death.’ And this isn’t for no reason. 

For one, it means the watch isn’t functioning as expected, or it’s gone completely useless until the issue is resolved. 

Here are some examples of what might happen when you’ve got a black screen on your Apple Watch.

  • The watch won’t respond at all.
  • Its frozen screen won’t receive any input.
  • The screen’s black, yet you can sense its responses when you touch it or input something.
  • You can talk to Siri and hear the notification sounds, but still find the screen black.
  • There’s only a battery indicator and time displayed on the black screen.

Why Your Apple Watch Has a Black Screen

In most cases, black screens on Apple Watches are just the result of simple configuration errors. However, there are also times when it’s due to a hardware issue or a complex software glitch. Here’s an overview of the possible causes. 

  • Almost 80% of the time, the Apple Watch’s ‘Black screen of death’ results from charging issues.
  • Often, certain settings may overload and freeze your watch’s screen.
  • Having a broken screen is also not uncommon. It may just not be visible to the naked eye.
  • You may have your Watch OS bug infected or corrupted.
  • Or maybe you’re updating the OS, and there’s a blackout on the waiting screen.
  • In rare cases, dirt and debris can dust your watch’s internal terminals, causing the circuit to malfunction.

Troubleshooting Tips to Fix the Apple Watch Black Screen Issue

The actual fix to your Apple Watch’s black screen problem lies within a specific cause. Yet, your best bet is to try the following troubleshooting steps one at a time until you find the solution.

Apple Watch Series 6 Owners: Read This First

As we’ve mentioned already, the black screen issue in Series 6 Apple Watches is on Apple’s end, and there’s nothing you can do to fix this.

The company itself said that the 40 mm Series 6 models produced between April and September 2021 might have permanent blank screens. Apple has since launched a free repair program for these particular watches. 

So, if you own an Apple Watch with a black screen issue from that line, you must head to the nearest Apple Store or authorized service provider to get it repaired for free. 

To check your eligibility, follow this link and put the serial number of your Apple Watch. If you don’t know the serial number, here’s how to find it out

Charge Your Apple Watch

It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? You can’t expect an electrical device to carry on displaying stuff when there’s no charge left.

Yet, Apple Watches have one nice feature: even when the battery is low, they show the time and battery life in red to indicate Power Reserve Mode. 

This lets you know the battery level has hit rock bottom, even during screen blackouts, when you press a button. 

So, if your Apple Watch has a black screen, try charging it, preferably overnight, before trying anything else. 

Also, make sure that it’s really charging. If the charger is faulty, there will be no signal or indication. 

Disable Screen Curtain and VoiceOver

If your Apple Watch only has a visually black screen, but you notice it’s actually functioning, you might have inadvertently turned on the Screen Curtain feature. It’s part of the accessibility settings called VoiceOver.

This feature turns the display off but lets the device continue functioning and receiving input, allowing users with visual impairments to save battery life. Disabling this feature can help restore your display. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Watch app on your paired iPhone.
  2. Go to the My Watch tab, and scroll down to Accessibility.
  3. Tap VoiceOver and toggle it off if it’s on.
  1. Or, look for Screen Curtain under the available option and toggle it off.

Turn off Theater Mode

Similarly, Theater Mode can cause a black screen on your Apple Watch if you accidentally turn it on. This feature is designed to keep the display off to avoid disturbing others in dark environments. To disable Theater Mode, follow these steps:

  • Wake your Apple Watch by pressing the Digital Crown or side button.
  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center.
  • Look for the Theater Mode icon, which looks like two theater masks, and tap it to disable the feature.

Do a Hard Reboot

Sometimes, all your Apple Watch needs is a restart to bring it back to life. A hard reboot often eliminates any temporary glitches or bugs that might have caused the black screen issue. Here’s how you do it.

  • Your Apple Watch has a small button beside the Digital Crown button. Press those two buttons and hold them in place.
  • Keep holding them until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

The reboot should start within thirty seconds. If it doesn’t, do it for another thirty seconds.

Update the watchOS

If force restarting your Apple Watch doesn’t resolve the issue, it might be due to an outdated or corrupted operating system. Updating your watchOS can help fix the problem. Here’s how:

  • To check for updates, open the Watch app on your paired iPhone.
  • Go to the My Watch tab, and tap General.
  • Select Software Update if one’s available and download it. 

Unpair and Repair Your Apple Watch

If none of the above solutions work, you may need to unpair and pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone again. 

This process helps you rule out connectivity problems between both devices. But remember, doing this will erase all your Apple Watch settings and content.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Place the two devices close to each other. 
  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap All Watches from the My Watch tab. 
  • Tap 🛈 from the right side of the Apple Watch from there.
  • Now choose Unpair Apple Watch. 

Now, if unpairing the devices solved your problem, follow these steps to pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone again:

  • Put the two devices close to each other and wait for the pairing screen to pop up on your iPhone. 
  • Or, you can open the Watch app and tap Pair New Watch before choosing Set Up for Myself.
  • Now wait for the viewfinder to locate your Apple Watch and pair it with your iPhone. 

Check for Physical Damage

Couldn’t it be that your Apple Watch has physical damage? It’s very much possible that a tiny crack in the screen or a malfunction in the hardware is causing the blackout if none else is helping the issue.

And if that’s the case, you can do nothing other than seek Apple’s Support or professional assistance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have further queries regarding the black screen issue on your Apple Watch? These commonly asked questions and answers might help you out. 

Do I need to change the battery when my Apple Watch has a black screen?

Not necessarily. A black screen doesn’t always mean there’s an issue with the battery. Try charging the device overnight and see if it powers back on. If charging doesn’t help, the problem may lie elsewhere, as discussed in the solutions mentioned above. 

Can I erase everything on my Apple Watch with a black screen?

Erasing everything on your Apple Watch with a black screen issue is only possible from your iPhone. After all, you won’t be able to see and navigate through the settings. However, unpairing the watch from your iPhone will automatically erase all the content and settings.

What is the cost of fixing a black screen on my Apple Watch?

If your device is under warranty or covered by AppleCare+, Apple may repair or replace the watch at no cost. However, you may only have to rely on a third-party provider if there’s physical damage, and the cost will depend on how severe it is.


Experiencing a black screen in Apple Watches is disheartening, especially for people relying on them for notifications, health monitoring, and productivity. 

But hopefully, with the tips mentioned above, you can resolve the issue without needing professional help. 

Yet, if none of these solutions work, seeking assistance from Apple Support or a professional repair service may be your only option.

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