The Apple Watch is one of the best wearables on the market for tracking your health and having core smartphone features on your wrist, but — like any frequently-used technology — the more exposed it is to the outside world, the likelier it is to have problems down the line.
RECALLS: Certain Series 2 Apple Watches may be eligible for free repairs or replacements if they have swollen batteries; read our section on service programs, recalls, and free repairs for more information.
If you're having difficulty using your Apple Watch due to a broken screen, jammed Digital Crown, swollen battery, bad band unlock mechanism, and more, here are your options for getting your watch back up and ticking.
- How to repair your Apple Watch yourself
- How to get Apple to repair or replace your Apple Watch
- What is Apple's Express Replacement Service for Apple Watch?
- Apple Watch Series 2's battery swelling replacements: What you need to know
How to repair your Apple Watch yourself
Are your Apple Watch problems software-based? Before you call AppleCare, there are a few steps you can take to try and troubleshoot a malfunctioning wristwatch. And if they're hardware based, there are a few guides and companies who can help you repair your watch yourself.
Troubleshoot your Apple Watch
Running into cellular or Wi-Fi connection problems? Slow apps? Malfunctioning displays? Here are some of our favorite tricks for troubleshooting your Apple Watch and getting it back to normal.
Clean your Apple Watch
It's a fact of life: Dirt, dust, lint, and grime will get into any device you regularly use out in the open — especially one that you wear on your wrist. If your screen is getting gross, your bands are getting dirty, or your hardware buttons have stopped being quite so responsive, you can clean your Apple Watch in a few easy steps.
- How to clean your Apple Watch
- How to clean, buff, and remove scratches from your stainless steel Apple Watch
- Best ways to protect the Apple Watch while working out
- How to swap out your Apple Watch band
Repair your Apple Watch yourself
This isn't the first thing we'd recommend: Apple Watch repairs are incredibly tricky and should only be attempted if you already have a solid DIY foundation. That said, if you're in a jam and the Apple Store's service pricing is too expensive — or will take too long — you can do certain repairs yourself, including screen replacement. Currently, iFixit has the best Apple Watch repair guides out there; check their repository if you're considering going the DIY route.
How to get Apple to repair or replace your Apple Watch
Run out of self-troubleshooting options? It may be time to talk to an Apple Authorized Service Professional or Apple Support. If your Apple Watch needs a hardware repair, you have two options in the Apple Support ecosystem: under warranty, or out of warranty.
For any of these options, you'll need any of the following three items:
- Your Apple Watch
- Your Apple Watch Serial Number
- Original proof of purchase
AppleCare warranty & AppleCare+
If you're under your original warranty (one year for Apple Watch, Sport, and Niké models; two years for Edition and Hermès), you'll be able to get service for any manufacturing defects, batteries that hold less than 80% of a charge or are unnaturally swollen, and screen cracks from manufacturing defects. Your base-model warranty doesn't cover accidental damage to the screen or water damage.
If you picked up AppleCare+, you're covered for up to two years on the standard warranty, as well as two incidents of accidental damage for $69 (or $79 for Hermès and Edition) each.
AppleCare+ also gives its subscribers the benefit of Express Replacement Service: If you have a malfunctioning or broken Apple Watch but don't want to lose your exercise streaks or go without while your smartwatch is being repaired, Apple will send you a replacement watch immediately, along with a box and shipping label to mail your malfunctioning watch back to Apple.
There are a few caveats here: Your replacement watch can't have engraving, for one. In addition, Apple will place a hold on your credit card for the replacement value of the watch until you return your old watch; you'll also need to return that watch within 10 days to avoid paying late fees. And if the watch is unrepairable and not a manufacturing defect, you may be charged an accidental damage fee.
Non-AppleCare+ users can take advantage of Express Replacement Service, too, but it'll cost you an out-of-warranty service fee (which varies from $199-$2800, depending on the device).
Out of warranty service
If you're out of warranty, pricing varies depending on the type of repair needed for your Apple Watch.
In the United States, battery replacement service costs $79, no matter which Apple Watch Series you own. The out-of-warranty service fees vary a bit more, with low-end Series 1 and 2 watches costing $199, and Edition watches $800-$2800.
There is a third way to get your Apple Watch repaired: if it qualifies under one of Apple's public or internal service programs. Currently, Apple has a service program open for 42mm Series 2 Apple Watch models that may be experiencing swollen batteries or do not power on. As reported by MacRumors, the program is currently open to users in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe, and likely other countries as well.
This isn't the first time Apple has offered an extended repair period or waived costs for swollen Apple Watch batteries: It did the same for Series 0 Apple Watch models (both 38mm and 42mm) for up to three years after the original date of purchase.
All 42mm Apple Watch Series 2 models less than three years old are eligible for this program, including Sport, Nike+, Steel, Edition, and Hermès.
If you already paid for an Apple Watch out-of-service battery repair, you can contact Apple Support to inquire about a refund.
How to start a support request for your Apple Watch
- Open a support ticket for your Apple Watch on Apple's website.
- Choose the Bring in for Repair option to find a local Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider to repair or replace your watch. You can alternatively choose to Talk to Apple Support Now, and set up an Express Replacement Service.
Questions about repairing or replacing your Apple Watch?
Let us know in the comments.
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Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.