Apple Watch Is Too Slow? Learn Why and How to Speed It Up

You think your Apple Watch is getting slower every day? You are probably right. With any technology devices, as the usage increase and more applications are running, it has got to slow down.

You may have seen the new Apple Watch Series 2. There are a lot of selling points to it including built-in GPS, water resistant, and a dual‑core processor. Just to be clear, you will still get the same speed even if you decide to upgrade to the Series 2. As of right now, they both have the same processor and can run the newest version of watchOS 3.

So, instead of getting a newer model, you should do something with the existing one. It’s worth noting that a few changes to the system can make your current Apple Watch run fast again, maybe not as fast as you’d like it to, but the speed will still better than how it’s now.

How to Make Your Apple Watch Run Faster

Before we start, I think it’s important to know the reasons why your Apple Watch is slow. First off, it comes with a variety of applications, mostly mirrored to your iPhone. If you have many apps opened at the same time, they start to eat up the memory of your watch. As a result, the device starts slowing down. That’s normal, and we will show you how to prevent multiple applications from running in the background.

Next, we also have cool animations. I know! All the smooth transitions and effects make everything better. However, they also eat up a lot of memory and slow down your Apple Watch as well.

Now that you know the causes let’s take a look at some solutions.

Disable animations

The first “cool” animation that you see is probably on your watch’s home screen. When you move around, the app icons on the outer screen become smaller, and the apps in the middle become bigger. The sizes continue to change as you zoom to different parts of the interface. This is fresh but is it necessary?

Some people prefer to have their icons remain the same size (large) for better navigation and tapping. And I agreed! Not only it limits the animation, but it also prevents users from tapping on the wrong application due to their smaller size.

To turn off the animation on your Apple Watch’s home screen:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch
  2. Go to General > Accessibility
  3. Tap on Reduce Motion
  4. You can turn it on by switching the setting to green

Besides turning off the animation on the home screen, Reduce Motion also remove the transition when you open an app. Give it a try and let me know if you feel any different on the UI.

Close Apps from the Dock

In watchOS 3, Apple introduced a new feature called Dock. This is similar to the App Switcher on your iOS device. It allows you to manage applications that you’ve opened. Like I mentioned earlier, if you have too many apps running in the background, they will slow down your Apple Watch.

Luckily, the Dock now lets you choose which apps to keep and which one to force close.

timer app in dock

While you’re in the Dock, just scroll through the list of background running apps. When you see an app that you wish to close, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Then, tap Remove. Similar to how you would delete an app from the App Switcher on your iPhone or iPad.

Restart your Apple Watch

When your watch slows down, try restarting it. Press and hold the side button until you see the Power off slider. Drag it to the right, and your Apple Watch will be shut down. You can turn it back on by pressing the side button until you see the Apple logo.

If your Apple Watch refuses to turn off, you can also try a hard reset.

Update Your Software

When I updated my Apple Watch from watchOS 2 to watchOS 3, I saw a big difference in performance. The device was running faster than before. If your Apple Watch is not runing on the newest software version yet, you should update it.

You can do so from the Settings app. Tap on General > Software Update.

Say no to Background App Refresh

This feature not only consumes a lot of your battery but also reduces the speed, making your Apple Watch slower. While Background App Refresh allows your apps to refresh its content in the background (automatically), it does affect the system negatively.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Go to My Watch > General > Background App Refresh
  3. Toggle Background App Refresh to off

Screen Shot 2016 07 11 at 12.48.42 PM

If you want, you can allow a particular app to refresh in the background while disabling the rest. The choice is yours.

Reset All Settings

If you want a fresh start for your Apple Watch, you can also delete everything and put the device back to its factory settings. Some people found it to be a useful last resort if nothing else helps.

  1. On your watch, go to Settings > General > Reset
  2. Tap on ‘Erase All Content and Settings’

Note: This will wipe out everything including your applications and existing settings that you currently have on your watch. The whole point is to start over.

I hope the explanations above help you understand why your Apple Watch is getting slower over time and what you can do to speed it up again. Let me know in the comment section if you found other ways to make the watch faster.

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  1. Folks who’ve gone from Apple Watch 1 to 2: Is there an appreciable speed difference? When I open nearly ANY app on my first edition Apple Watch, it can take a full minute to actually open, and even then, it’s horribly slow.
    Does the second generation majorly fix that, or do we need to wait for the next?

    • There’s a considerable speed difference between the original iWatch (series 0) and series 1 & 2. I assume with first edition you mean series 0?

      • The first generation (Series 0), is noticeably slower than series 1 & series 2, which share the same processor. Series 2 includes GPS built-in, a brighter screen, and is water proof, but is the same speed as series 1. Also, watchOS 3 is a huge speed increase when switching apps in the dock. Nearly instantaneous

  2. Series 2 has a dual core CPU running a little over 700MHz vs. 1 which has only a single core CPU running a little faster than 500MHz.

    There’s a definite difference in speed.

  3. A quick review of watch series 2…. Yes!!! I traded in my original today at Best Buy. The differences are immediately noticeable. Speed and Responsiveness being the main things. It boots a lot faster, Siri actually hears you a lot better now with two built-in microphones. The screen is brighter.

    And one other thing, the redesign of the speaker that allows waterproofing also makes for a much louder and clearer sound from the watch. It’s not muffled like in the original watch. So should you upgrade, if you want a way better watch experience, absolutely. It’s well worth it.


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