Skip to main content

We found the worst Apple Watch Series 9 problems (and how to fix them)

A person wearing the Apple Watch Series 9, using the Digital Crown.
Apple Watch Series 9 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Apple Watch is one of the most popular smartwatches on the market today, and this year, we have the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Though they look exactly like their predecessors and don’t have exciting new health sensors, this year’s Apple Watches do have some fun new features. For example, Double Tap is a new gesture that lets you perform certain actions on the Apple Watch one-handed, and the new S9 chip allows Siri to perform localized requests rather than relying on a data connection.

But even the Apple Watch isn’t perfect. You may bump into some problems every now and then. If that’s you right now, we have a few tips to get you back on track. Here are some common Apple Watch Series 9 problems and how you can fix them.

Double Tap isn’t working

A person using Double Tap on the Apple Watch Series 9.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Double Tap feature is one of the best new features of the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2. This new gesture lets you do things like answer calls, turn off your alarm, reply to messages, and more. To do the Double Tap gesture, you simply tap your index finger and thumb together twice.

No additional setup is required to enable Double Tap on the Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 (these are the only compatible models right now). So, anyone who has the new Apple Watches should be able to access Double Tap right away. But if it’s not working for you, there could be a few reasons why.

The Double Tap symbol on the Apple Watch Series 9
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

First, you need to make sure that your Apple Watch is on watchOS 10.1, as this software version enables the feature. You could also ensure that Double Tap wasn’t turned off accidentally by going to Settings > Gestures and making sure Double Tap is on.

Another thing to note is that Double Tap is not available when the Apple Watch is in Low Power Mode or the Sleep Focus is active. It also does not work when the screen is inactive (wrist down), and certain accessibility features may disable it.

Lastly, Double Tap is not available at all on Apple Watches that are set up for a family member – it only works for your own Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 and if it is on your wrist and unlocked.

Watch face complications not showing up

The Nike Globe watch face on the Apple Watch Series 9.
Nike Globe watch face Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

One of the best things about an Apple Watch is the watch faces. While some of the watch faces that are offered in watchOS are simple or animated, others can be much more informative with your choice of app complications. With complications, you can see bits of data like the current temperature, date, upcoming calendar events, when the sun sets, and more.

But sometimes, you may encounter blips where the complication you’ve chosen just isn’t showing up or isn’t working properly. For example, many people were complaining about Apple’s Weather app complication not loading properly for a while. There are a few different ways to remedy this.

First, you’ll want to make sure that everything is up to date. This includes the version of watchOS that you are running, as well as making sure the app itself is also current. If that does not work, try rebooting the Apple Watch by turning it off and back on again.

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Series 8 showing the ambient displays.
The Apple Watch Series 9 (left) and Apple Watch Series 8 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If those typical steps don’t work, you could try replacing the complication that isn’t working with something else, make sure that one loads on the watch face, and then switch it back to the original complication you’re trying to get to work.

A common issue with the Weather complication not working was because it was set to “current location,” which seemed to cause issues with some users. If that’s the case, try setting the location to a specific city instead of the current location and see if that works.

And if all else fails, you could try restoring the Apple Watch, but make sure that you have your data backed up first.

Bad battery life

The Apple Watch Series 9 on charge.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Apple Watch Ultra and Ultra 2 have exceptional battery life, with a single charge lasting around 36 hours. However, the regular Apple Watch Series 9 does not have such long-lasting battery life, as it still only gets about a full day of use before you should juice it up again. However, you might feel like your battery should last longer than it is. Luckily, there are a few things you could do.

The best solution to extend the battery life of your Apple Watch Series 9 (or older) is to turn on Low Power Mode. In this mode, the amount of power that is used is reduced, extending the battery life. Of course, you’ll have to make some compromises — Low Power Mode will turn off the always-on display, Double Tap, Time in Daylight, heart rate notifications, background heart rate and blood oxygen measurements, and start workout reminder.

Another important step to ensure that you’re maximizing battery life is to make sure you’re running the latest version of watchOS.

Control Center on the Apple Watch Series 9.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Since the Apple Watch Series 5, Apple has added an always-on display for every Apple Watch (except for the SE). Of course, having the display always on takes up power, so you could reduce that by turning off the always-on display if you don’t need it. Combining that with turning off raise to wake (tap the screen to wake instead) can extend the battery life further.

By default, Background App Refresh is on and controls background access to data that you’ve given certain apps to read. This is a good option to turn off if you don’t need it, and you can do so by going to the Watch app on your iPhone, selecting General, going to Background App Refresh, and turning it off entirely or for specific apps. The apps that you’ve selected for watch face complications will continue to run even if the Background App Refresh setting is off.

If none of those have worked, you could use the last resort option and restore your Apple Watch. Again, make sure your data is backed up first before nuking it.

A flickering display

A person wearing the Apple Watch Series 9, showing the Snoopy watch face
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Some users have reported issues with flickering displays on the Apple Watch Series 9. This issue involves the display brightness flickering or “pulses” on affected models with the always-on display enabled. Though most of the affected models are the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, older models are not immune. The common denominator is watchOS 10.

If you are experiencing this problem, Apple has advised that service providers do not fix affected displays. Instead, Apple has said to keep the watchOS software up-to-date.

But if you want a temporary solution right now, Apple says you can turn off the always-on display for the time being. Another issue arose where some complications, like the Activity rings, may turn pink temporarily. There is no known fix for this issue aside from waiting it out.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
These two Apple Watches are now banned in the U.S.
watchOS 10 Smart Stack widgets on the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Apple halted the sales of two Apple Watch models earlier this month following a court ruling that the company violated patent laws. Apple’s last hope was the White House, which could offer the company a respite from a sales and import ban with a veto order. However, Apple didn’t get any such relief from the Biden Administration on the sales ban covering the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

In an executive release issued by President Biden’s office, the White House has decided to uphold the sales ban suggested by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). The Office of the United States Trade Representative conducted the final review of the U.S. ITC’s verdict, which concluded that Apple infringed on patented technology owned by Masimo and Cercacor Labs.

Read more
You’re running out of time to buy a new Apple Watch. Here’s why
A person wearing the Apple Watch Series 9.

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are two of the best smartwatches you can buy in 2023. Unfortunately, you soon won't be able to buy them from Apple. On Monday, December 18, Apple confirmed it will stop sales of both Apple Watch models beginning December 21.

In a statement sent to 9to5Mac, Apple confirmed it is "pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from Apple.com starting December 21, and from Apple retail locations after December 24."

Read more
Best Apple Watch deals: Series 9 and Ultra 2 discounted
Someone wearing an Apple Watch Ultra 2, showing the Modular Ultra watch face.

If you're deep into the Apple ecosystem, or you simply want a wearable device that will pair extremely well with your iPhone, then you should be looking to purchase an Apple Watch. Since it was first launched in 2015, there have been several models of the Apple Watch, with features that improve each year. Of course, you'll want to buy the latest tech, so we've gathered all the offers that we could find for the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2. For those who want to stick to a tight budget, we've also rounded up bargains for the Apple Watch SE. If you're not too sure about the Apple Watch, then take a look at the other smartwatch deals that we've come across.
Best Apple Watch SE deals

The first-generation Apple Watch SE, which was released in 2020, and the second-generation Apple Watch SE, which was rolled out in 2022, are the most affordable ways of getting an Apple Watch. They don't give up too much in order to keep costs low compared to their more expensive peers though. The Apple Watch SE 2, in particular, still provides comprehensive fitness tracking features, a comfortable fit, and excellent software as it can be updated to Apple's latest watchOS 10.

Read more