The Apple Watch is one of Apple’s most convenient gadgets yet, but sometimes they can freeze up at unexpected times–not so convenient. It’s especially frustrating when it happens while you’re signing in because you don’t know if your watch is just taking a bit extra time and working hard to sign you into your account, or if the screen is frozen. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you figure out why this happens and how to fix it.
Apple Watch may get stuck on the signing-in screen because an overworked system caused it to freeze. Restarting the Apple Watch and the paired iPhone should help, and performing a system update may prevent it in the future. If the loading wheel is still spinning, the Apple Watch may have unpaired.
Continue reading to learn more about these fixes and more so you can get your Apple Watch back and running!
Restart the Apple Watch and iPhone
If your Apple Watch is stuck on the screen that reads “Signing into your account. This may take a few minutes” and it’s been well over a few minutes, you can try restarting both your Apple Watch and your iPhone.
If you’re just starting to set up your Apple Watch, you may have to start over on setting up your Apple Watch. You can restart your iPhone the traditional way, but you’ll have to perform a force restart on your Apple Watch because your watch screen is unresponsive, especially while in the initial setup.
To restart your iPhone, press and hold one of the volume buttons and the side power button simultaneously until the power-off screen appears. Drag the Power Off slider and wait for the iPhone to turn off. After about 30 seconds of powering down, you can turn your iPhone back on by pressing and holding the side power button on the right until the Apple Logo appears on the screen.
To restart your Apple Watch, you’ll need to press and hold both the Digital Crown and the side power button for at least 10 seconds. Release those buttons when the apple logo appears. This will likely bring you back to the initial setup if you haven’t already set up your Apple Watch.
Try signing in and see if this speeds up the signing process. If the signing-in screen stays on your watch for longer than a few minutes, as if it is doing the same thing, try the following tricks.
Update Apple Watch to the Latest Operating System
Your Apple Watch may be struggling to get past this signing-in stage because it’s on an old software system and the old system is overworked and trying to keep up with the app updates, so it crashes while trying to sign in to your account. Luckily, Watch updates are performed using the Watch app on your iPhone.
So long as your Apple Watch is paired to your iPhone, the update will download from your iPhone to your Apple Watch and your Watch will reboot.
This trick will only work if you have an older version of iOS than the latest one available for your Apple Watch, which is commonly the case if you purchase a used Apple Watch or an Apple Watch that has been out for longer than the latest update has been released.
To update your Apple Watch to the latest operating system, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then select the My Watch tab. Tap on General, then Software Update. If there is an update available for download, you will find the option to Download an Update. Tap this button, and enter your passcode if prompted.
A progress wheel will appear on your Apple Watch if the frozen screen is bypassed and the update begins downloading. It will take several minutes to complete, so make sure your watch is on its charger while it updates.
Ensure Bluetooth and Wifi Are Turned on
If the screen on your Apple Watch is not necessarily frozen, and the loading wheel is still spinning, it’s probably because your Apple Watch is unpaired.
One of the most common reasons the Apple Watch unpairs from your iPhone is because your iPhone does not have Bluetooth and Wifi turned on. If your iPhone does not have a strong Wifi connection, this can slow things down and cause your Apple Watch to disconnect.
If you have an iPhone X or later, swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone screen to bring up the Control Center, which will provide you quick access to the Wifi and Bluetooth connections. If these are gray, they need to be set up.
If you have an iPhone 8, an iPhone SE, or earlier, you can open the control center by swiping up from the bottom edge. Make sure you have a strong Wifi Connection and see if this speeds up the process of signing into your account on your Apple Watch.
Try Pairing the Apple Watch to the iPhone Manually
If you’ve tried each of the above steps, or you’ve restarted your iPhone and Apple Watch multiple times and gone through the Apple Watch setup process several times, you can try to pair your Apple Watch to your iPhone manually.
Many people found that doing so solved the signing-in issue. This pairing method is one that does not involve scanning your Apple Watch on your iPhone and it can help speed up the signing-in process. You could also try this if you’ve already set up your Apple Watch and you’re having trouble signing in again.
If you’ve already paired your Apple Watch to your iPhone, you may need to unpair it first. Make sure you have Wifi and Bluetooth turned on, and then, using the Watch app on your iPhone, tap Start Pairing, and then Pair Apple Watch Manually.
If a pairing animation does not appear on your Apple Watch, and it’s still stuck on the signing-in screen, refer to the first trick and reset both your iPhone and your Apple Watch and try setting up your Apple Watch using the manual pair method.
Once the animation appears on your Apple Watch, tap the info icon which looks like the letter I in a circle. On your iPhone, tap the name that comes up on your Watch screen, then type in the 6-digit code that is displayed under this name.
Unpair and Re-pair the iPhone and Apple Watch
You may need to unpair and re-pair your Apple Watch to your iPhone because the Apple Watch may not have a strong pairing connection to your iPhone. This can help encourage the watch to stay paired to your phone, and when it loses connection it can slow down the time it takes to sign into your account.
To unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap the My Watch tab. Tap on All Watches to bring up the watches on your watch list. Keeping your Apple Watch close to your Apple Watch, tap the info button (a little lowercase letter i inside a circle), then tap Unpair Apple Watch.
If prompted, click on Keep Cellular Plan, and type in your Apple ID password to disable the Activation Lock. Tap Unpair once more when prompted.
To repair your Apple Watch to your iPhone, tap Pair New Watch on the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap Set Up for Myself. Keep your Watch nearby so that your iPhone can find your watch. When it appears, tap Set Up Apple Watch, and follow the instructions given on your iPhone and your Apple Watch.
Sign in Using the Same Apple ID on iPhone
If you’re having trouble signing into your account, and it consistently leads you to a long loading screen or a frozen “signing into your account” screen, you should make sure you are signing in using the same Apple ID as your iPhone. You should do this even if you’re setting up the Apple Watch for your child, then you can specify later on in the setup that you’re setting up for a family member.
Try signing out and resigning using the same Apple ID and Password that you use for your iPhone. If you’re not sure of your Apple ID, you can check on your iPhone settings by opening your profile.
This will bring up your Apple ID. If you’re unsure of your password, try signing out of your profile on your iPhone and signing back in, and if it doesn’t work, select “forgot password” and Apple will send you an email to reset your password. Use the password you changed to sign into your Apple Watch.
Use the Apple Watch App to Sign in to Your Account
You can use your iPhone to sign in to your account for your Apple Watch, using the Watch app. This may make it easier on your Apple Watch and prevent it from getting stuck on the signing-in screen. You can also choose “Sign in later” from your Apple Watch when setting up, and then do it using your iPhone.
Open your Watch app, tap general, then tap Apple ID, and sign in using the same Apple ID and password you are using for your iPhone. This will help bypass the signing-in process so you won’t have to do it on your Apple Watch in the first place, or speed up the signing-in process if your Apple Watch is already working on signing in.