How to Fix Apple Watch Showing Red Exclamation Mark (!) on Screen

A question from Md: Any idea how to solve this? Apple Watch black screen with red exclamation (!) mark. I followed the instructions provided by Apple but it does not work.

We all know that the Apple Watch can sometimes be problematic, but most issues can be fixed using generic solutions such as quick restart, factory reset, and unpairing.

Apple Watch Shows Red (!) with “” Text

Louis Weinreb asked a question

My watch was working perfectly and I performed the iOS update and then my watch had a big red circle with a big red exclamation point in the middle. I tried to reset the watch multiple times but no luck. I called Apple and they said that since it was a software issue they would fix it no charge. Today I got an email that said there was a hardware issue and I needed to pay $229 plus tax for the repair. WWHHAATT!!!!!!! I said I don’t believe that as my watch was working perfectly before the update and if there was a hardware issue I would have seen it before the update… Well they are not fixing my watch…. what a bunch of garbage….

How to Fix Red Exclamation on Apple Watch Screen

The first thing we’re going to do is force restarting your Apple Watch. This can be done by:

  1. Press and hold the Digital Crown and side button simultaneously
  2. Keep holding for 10 seconds
  3. You will see an Apple logo

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to send your watch to Apple. As recommended by the URL shown with the error on your Apple Watch, you will need to contact the company for further assistant.

I got in touch with the Apple Support team, sent in my watch, and replaced it with a new one. It may work differently for you depending on where your Apple Watch was originally purchased. So far, I found that most people could get a replacement if their watch shows a red exclamation mark.

Kimberly Trevillion

When you update your software please make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and power. Also make sure that your Apple Watch is connected to its power source. Do not move the products far from each other and do not disconnect from the power. Most of these error message comes from bad updates. And being that you can’t fix the software with a computer like iOS devices and macs, you have to send it in to Apple.

Will Apple Replace My Watch if It Has Red Exclamation Mark?

It’s basically done for, needs to be set up for mail in or store. The red exclamation mark is basically equivalent to Windows blue screen of death

Jenifer Lambert

Something happened to your watch while it was updated, and can mean that certain operating system files are damaged. If attempting to hard reset doesn’t work, you’ll need to schedule service with Apple or an AASP. Most likely they’ll order a unit replacement, and, depending on how old it is, if you have AppleCare coverage, and if there’s any damage, then you’ll be covered.

Ian Harwood

I had the same issue…just complaint in apple support and they will replace it for free of cost.

Ashish Antony

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    • I sent my watch to get repaired after online support and a visit to the Apple store were unhelpful. They sent it back within 2 days fixed! Mine was out of warranty and they repaired it for free.

      • Could you please share the details because the same thing happened with me and the apple support told me that its a hardware based issue on my Series 3. But my watch worked perfectly fine before the update. My watch is out of warranty. Kindly help me out.

        • Did you get it fixed? My watch is having the same issue after an update, and I heard the lamest excuse from Apple technician ever. Its a hardware fault. The software update did not cause the issue. The hardware fault was already there, and the software update brought it to light!!

  1. My warranty is up by 3 months . I was updating it and this happened . I was told I have to pay 289 dollars to fix a device that I didn’t break. My device was working perfectly fine before this update . This is ridiculous

  2. Hello
    I updated my Apple Watch just after a while a red exclamation mark appears and since then I am trying to get rid of it but just can’t
    I unpaired it as well but can’t pair it any more

    • Try the steps outlined above. When updating, if the watch is moved away from the phone just an inch too far, or your phone loses WiFi, it will only partially install the update, resulting in errors with proper function. You can try the steps above, but if they don’t work, you’re basically out of luck. Apple really needs to step up for this issue, or someone needs to start a class-action.

  3. Had this happen to a Series 1 watch, am a US resident. After a chat session where they required the serial number and that it be unpaired, Apple is sending a prepaid box to ship it in for repair. As long as it’s a software issue they will fix it. It’s my daughter’s watch and she got a different answer at the Apple store, $199 repair cost. She actually bought a series 3 for $199 instead. Maybe she didn’t explain the issue properly to them at the store, not sure but hopefully this works out and I’ll have a backup watch or one to sell.

  4. My Gen3 Apple Watch was out of warranty and they wanted 249+Tx to reload IOS…seems to me this is a ripoff since it’s their IOS. I didn’t do anything to it, only had Apple support help me to force the update, it was working fine til I updated. I miss my watch but I won’t buy another one. They broke my watch with their update and their support people. I think that’s a scam and a “gotcha by the balls” mentality.

    • I agree, Apple should be responsible for this issue. They will never take on the responsibility unless someone is able to successfully sue them or have them forced to by court order. Sadly, Apple is a corporation, and the goal of any corporation is profit. Any way they can get it. They can do it the fair way, or the not so fair way, since they are all-powerful and nobody can take them on. They’re too big to lose.

  5. Having this issue, and cannot get it fixed. Bought my watch 14 months ago. I had my other one for more than 5 years-then the battery popped my screen off and messed my watch up.


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