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

Is your Apple Watch showing a big red exclamation mark in the middle of the screen? After performing a watchOS update, I encountered this problem and tried resetting my watch multiple times, but had no luck.

I even contacted Apple, and while they initially said they would fix the issue for free since it was a software problem, I later received an email stating that there was actually a hardware issue and that I would have to pay $229 plus tax for the repair.

In this blog post, I will share my experience and provide solutions for fixing the Apple Watch red exclamation mark (!) on the screen.

How to Fix Apple Watch Red Exclamation Mark

Let’s start by force restarting your Apple Watch to see if it resolves the issue. Follow these steps:

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

To avoid encountering this issue in the future, ensure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and power when updating the software.

Also, your Apple Watch needs to be connected to its power source and keep both devices close to each other throughout the update process.

Bad updates are often the cause of these error messages.

If force restarting doesn’t work, you may need to send your watch to Apple for further assistance. When you see the red exclamation mark on your Apple Watch screen, check the URL shown with the error for guidance on what to do next.

In my case, I contacted the Apple Support team, sent in my watch, and they replaced it with a new one. The process may differ depending on where you originally purchased your Apple Watch, but many people have reported success in getting a replacement if their watch shows a red exclamation mark.

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

If your Apple Watch has a red exclamation mark on the screen, it is likely that certain operating system files have been damaged during an update.

In some cases, attempting to force restart the watch may not resolve the issue. If this happens, you will need to schedule service with Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP).

When you bring your watch in for service, it’s possible that they will order a unit replacement.

Whether or not you will be covered by AppleCare or other warranties will depend on factors such as the age of your watch and whether there is any damage to it.

If you’re experiencing this issue and you have AppleCare coverage, it’s worth contacting Apple Support to see if they will replace your watch for free. In many cases, they will provide a replacement without charge.

Leave a Comment

    • 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.


Leave a Comment

Cydia Geeks