How to Fix Apple Watch Always On Display Not Working

Apple Watch Keeps Asking for Apple ID Password

Have you recently come across that the ‘Always on Display’ feature on your Apple Watch is not working as intended?

Smartwatches have been a hit for the past years. Big brands like Apple and Samsung released their own version of smartwatches. But today, we are going to focus on Apple Watch.

Apple Watch has been a success ever since it was launched in 2015. Users love the customization features that let you change the design of the actual clock based on your preference. But, the best feature of the Apple Watch was introduced on the Series 5.

Series 5 of the Apple Watch came with an “Always on Display” feature which keeps the screen on that allows you to see the clock’s face without moving or interacting with your wrist.

However, despite being an awesome feature, users have reported that they are having problems with the “Always on Display”. It is often dimmed or just displaying a black screen.

Today, you’re in luck! We are going to show you easy ways on how to fix the “Always on Display” on Apple Watch.

Let’s get started!



1. Turn Off Automatic Wrist Detection.

Apple Watch has an automatic wrist detection feature that turns off your watch when you are not wearing it. There are times that it may have problems detecting if you are wearing the watch which makes the “Always on Display” to not work.

There are two ways to disable wrist detection on your Apple Watch, you can either do it on the actual watch or on your iPhone. 

You can follow the steps below to guide you through the process:


Disable Wrist Detection Using Your Apple Watch.

  1. To disable Automatic Wrist Detection on your Apple Watch, first, go to Settings.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. Now, inside Settings, find and tap on Passcode.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. Next, you will see a switch next to the Wrist Detection tab. When it is on, the round switch icon would be on the right side with a green highlight. Click it to turn off Wrist Detection.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. After clicking the switch, a prompt will appear confirming your action. Click on Turn Off.



Use Your iPhone to Disable Automatic Wrist Detection.

If you don’t want to use the Apple Watch’s screen because it is small, you can also turn off automatic wrist detection using your connected iPhone.

To do this, proceed to the steps below.

  1. On your iPhone, find the Watch App and open it.
  2. Next, click on the Passcode tab.
  3. After that, scroll down and click on the Wrist Detection switch.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. A pop-up will appear giving out a message that your Apple Watch will no longer automatically lock. Click on Turn Off.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. To confirm that Wrist Detection is disabled, the switch icon would be positioned to the left and the green highlight will no longer be visible.

If turning off automatic wrist detection did not fix the problem with the “Always on Display”, then proceed to the next possible solution below.



2. Turn On Hide Sensitive Complications.

The ‘Always on Display’ feature allows the Apple Watch to still display the face of the clock when your wrist is down.

Some users have suggested that turning on the ‘Hide Sensitive Complications’ setting on their Apple Watch fixed the issue on ‘Always on Display’.

To do this, you can follow the steps below:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app.

watchOS Settings


  1. Second, click on Display & Brightness inside the Settings page.

Display and Brightness Setting on watchOS


  1. Now, find Always-On and open it.
  2. Then, under the ‘Always on Displayswitch, you will find the Hide Sensitive Complications tab. Click on the switch beside it to turn it on.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. After turning on Hide Sensitive Complications, try using your Apple Watch and see if the issues with ‘Always on Display’ have been solved.

Again, if you still observe that your Apple Watch is still encountering problems with the “Always on Display”, then you can proceed to the next method in which we will try to disable the ‘Theather Mode’ setting which is another solution that has been found effective.



3. Turn Off Theater Mode on Your Apple Watch.

For some users, turning off Theater Mode on their Apple Watch seems to fix the problem.

‘Theater Mode’ is a feature that keeps the screen of your Apple Watch dark when you move your hands or receive a notification. This can cause the black screen when you turn on the ‘Always on Display’.

If you want to disable ‘Theater Mode’, simply follow the steps below.

  1. Open your Apple Watch, then from the bottom of the screen, swipe the display upwards.
  2. This will pull up the Control Center, find the Theater Mode icon then tap it to turn it off.

apple watch always on display not working


  1. The Theater Mode icon would be orange in color when it is turned on and gray when off.

After turning off theater mode, we recommend to also restart your Apple Watch. Proceed to the next method below for a more detailed guide.



4. Restart Your Apple Watch.

When you are using your Apple Watch and have been running for quite some time, chances are there are a lot of processes running in the background. This can hog your system resources which can cause errors and performance issues on your Apple Watch.

A simple restart will clear up your system resources which can possibly fix problems with the ‘Always on Display’. 

Follow the steps below to properly restart your Apple Watch:

  1. On your Apple Watch, find the Side Button which is located on the right side of your Apple Watch. Press and hold it until the Power Slider appears on the screen.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. Now, drag the slider to the right to turn off your Apple Watch.
  2. Next, wait for your Apple Watch to completely turn off then wait for another 1-2 minutes before turning on the watch.
  3. Lastly, to turn on your Apple Watch, Press and hold the Side Button again until the Apple logo appears.

After restarting your Apple Watch, Try turning on the “Always on Display” again to see if the simple restart fixed the problem.



5. Check for Software Updates.

Since many users have experienced this issue on their Apple Watch, it’s likely that Apple will roll out a software update to address this issue. 

You can try checking for updates once in a while to see if Apple already released a software fix for the ‘Always on Display’ problem.

To check for updates on your Apple Watch, follow the guide below:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. Next, on the Settings page, find and tap on General.

General Settings on watchOS


  1. Inside General, tap on Software Update. The Apple Watch will automatically check for possible software updates. Follow the on-screen prompts to update your watchOS.

Once the update is done, try turning on the ‘Always on Display’ feature and see if the software update fixed the black screen issues on your Apple Watch.

6. Unpair and Repair Your Apple Watch.

Problems with the connection from your Apple Watch and iPhone can also result in performance issues on your Apple Watch. Repairing your watch with your iPhone can solve connection problems with your device and possibly fix ‘Always on Display’ problems.

Let’s figure out how you can do this:

  1. Open your iPhone and launch the Watch App.
  2. Inside the Watch App, click on the My Watch tab then open Your Watch.
  3. Next, on the Your Watch page, you will see the list of watches that you have paired with. Find the Apple Watch that you want to unpair and click on the (i) info icon beside the name of your watch.
  4. After clicking the Info icon, tap on the red Unpair Apple Watch button. Make sure to hold your Apple Watch close to your iPhone while doing this to ensure that it will create a backup of your Apple Watch.
  5. Now, on your Apple Watch, go to Settings.

Apple Watch Always on Display Not Working


  1. Inside Settings, Click on General.

General Settings on watchOS


  1. Scroll and tap on Reset then, Click on Erase All Content and Settings. Take note that this will restore your Apple Watch to its brand new state.
  2. After Resetting your Apple Watch Re-pair it to your iPhone. Power on your Apple Watch and put it near your iPhone.
  3. Next, wait for the Apple Watch pairing menu to appear on your iPhone then tap on Continue.
  4. Now, position your Apple Watch where it would appear on the viewfinder in the Apple Watch application on your iPhone.
  5. Lastly, tap on Setup Apple Watch then, follow the on-screen instructions on your iPhone and Apple Watch to pair your device.

7. Contact Apple for Help.

If you are still having problems after trying everything on this guide, it can be possible that your unit is defective or having software issues. In this case, it is best to seek expert help and bring your device to the nearest Apple Store.


Apple Store


Sadly, due to the current situations with the Global Pandemic, you should check first the available support for Apple products in your region. In this way, you can know possible options for product replacement or repair for your device. You might need to send the Apple Watch via a courier if it is not possible for you to get to the nearest Apple Store.


Apple Repair Support


If you know other ways to fix the problem on Apple Watch’s ‘Always on Display’ not working, then let us know in the comments section and we’d be glad to give you credit once we updated this article. 😀


If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂



  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter)

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