Fix a faulty Digital Crown on your Apple Watch

AppleWatchOne of the interface features of the Apple Watch that Apple has been proud of is its digital crown, which as a jog-dial acts somewhat similarly to the crown on traditional watches (though winding it will not charge your watch). Given that it is central to operating your watch, you may find yourself a bit frustrated if the crown becomes a bit rough to rotate, or has trouble registering button presses. If these happen to you, then you may be surprised at the suggestions Apple offers for fixing your watch.

Apple takes advantage of the fact that its watch is built to be fairly water resistant, and in essence recommends you wash out any debris from the digital crown with water:

  1. Turn off your watch
  2. Remove any non-metal or rubber straps
  3. Let a gentle stream of water flow over the crown
  4. Press and turn the crown for 10-15 seconds
  5. Remove and dry your watch

Unfortunately there is no way to raise or remove the digital crown from the watch to clean it, as could be done with the trackball in a classic mouse, but since water should be able to get into the recesses of the crown, it should help dissolve and dislodge any debris in there. Note that Apple recommends you not use any solvents, soaps, or anything but clean water for this process.

When done, the crown may rotate and press as expected, but if your watch is still not responding then you may need to reset it by restarting your watch. To do this, press and hold the side button until you see the power-off slider and then slide it to shut the device down. Then press and hold this button again to start the watch back up.

Again test the digital crown to see if the Apple Watch responds, but if not then you can perform a hard reset of the Apple Watch to re-calibrate it:

  1. Hold both the digital crown and side button for 10 seconds
  2. Wait for the device to go black and for the Apple logo to appear

2 thoughts on “Fix a faulty Digital Crown on your Apple Watch

  1. Joe

    I keep seeing the crown referred to as the “digital crown.” Why not just the “crown”? Is there also an analog crown somewhere on the watch? Should the face of the watch be referred to as the “digital face”? Argh!

    1. Topher Kessler Post author

      It is just a jog dial, but I think it’s just to differentiate from the classic mechanical crowns, as well as push a marketing term that Apple can associate with its products and trademark, if necessary.

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