Why Does My Apple Watch Have A White Circle? (Solved!)

Does your Apple Watch have a white circle all of a sudden that is keeping it from working? Here’s what that means and how to fix it.

If an Apple Watch is displaying a white circle on the face and not responding to any buttons, then it needs to be restarted. Force restart the Apple Watch by pressing and holding both the side button and digital crown for at least 10 seconds, releasing them after the Apple logo appears.

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You should only use the force restart when nothing else works, but it should fix most issues signaled by a white circle. There are a few different white circles, though, so here’s how to tell them apart and what to do about them.

White Circle Surrounding Apple Logo

If your Apple Watch is displaying the Apple logo with a white circle surrounding it, the quickest way to fix it is by conducting a force restart, but that might not work, or it might only be a temporary solution. If the force restart doesn’t work, then you should be able to fix it by unpairing the watch from the phone it’s currently paired to.

Unpairing your Watch with your Phone

Temporarily unpairing your watch from your phone may solve the problem. To do that, the first thing you need to do is open up the Apple Watch app on your phone. From there, tap the All Watches button at the top of the screen.

From this screen, tap on the “i” button corresponding to the problematic watch. It should be just to the right of the watch’s name, and it looks like a lowercase “i” inside of an orange circle. This will open up a new screen with details pertaining to that specific Apple Watch.

On this screen, you will see the words “Unpair Apple Watch” in red. Tap that option. A confirmation box will pop up, and you will need to tap the red words in that box as well, though those will say the watch’s name instead.

After that, you will need to verify that you have the authority to unpair the watch from the phone by entering your Apple ID password. After you’ve entered your password, it will ask you one more time whether you want to unpair the watch. Finish the unpairing by tapping “Unpair” at the top right corner of the screen.

It will take a while to completely unpair, so just wait until that’s done. Both the phone and the watch will show some loading dots while the unpairing process is underway.

Once the two devices have been completely unpaired, you’re good to pair them back together, and the watch should work as usual. This method usually works especially well if the issue seems to have just come out of nowhere and without precedent.

If this method didn’t work, or if it’s been recurring, you might have a different problem that calls for a different solution.

Update Interruption

A common cause of this specific white circle issue is that the watch was in the middle of updating, but the update was interrupted. The most common interruption is when it’s removed from its charger. An Apple Watch should always be connected to its charger when it’s updating for the whole duration of the update.

If the white circle was caused by an interrupted update, you shouldn’t try force restarting it. Instead, connect it back to the charger and wait until it’s done updating. After the update appears to be finished, then you can go ahead with the force restart.

Request Service

If none of those solutions worked, and your watch still won’t respond to anything, then you should request service. You can mail it in yourself, or you can bring it to your local Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to mail it in for service for you. They don’t do the actual service for Apple Watches; they just mail it in.

White Circle with 3 Dots

If your Apple Watch is displaying a white circle with three dots in the center and the word “Manage” below it, a force restart should do the trick.

Press and hold the side button and digital crown. The display should go dark, and then the Apple logo should appear. Release the buttons as soon as you see the Apple logo, and your watch will be functional again.

You should only ever force restart your watch if it’s not responding to anything. If it responds when you tap the screen or press a single button, then you have a different problem and should avoid force restarting it.

White Circle with Arrow

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This is less of a functional problem and more of an annoyance. If you use a third-party navigation app on your Apple Watch, an icon of a white circle with a right turn arrow will be on the display as a status icon at the top.

The issue comes when you stop using the app. The Apple Watch doesn’t really know to stop displaying the circle, so even when you’re done with your directions, it may leave the icon on the display.

If that annoys you, you can get rid of it by restarting the watch, but don’t force restart it. A simple restart will fix the issue.

How to Restart your Apple Watch

To properly restart your Apple Watch, first make sure it’s off of the charger. You don’t want to restart it when it’s charging. Then, press and hold the side button until you see the power options. On watchOS 9, that will be a power button in the upper-right corner. For watchOS 8 and earlier, it will be the Power Off slider.

On watchOS 9, tap the power button to open the Power Off slider.

Drag the Power Off slider to turn off the watch, and then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.

With that, the display issue should be resolved and you’re good to go, though if it is that big of an issue for you, you might want to avoid using third-party navigation apps so that the issue doesn’t repeat itself.