A small number of Apple Watch Series 5 and SE owners are finding their devices are permanently stuck in Power Reserve mode. Affected devices appear to be powered on, but have unresponsive screens and can’t be restarted. In other words, they’re bricked.
While the bug is uncommon, it could happen to any Apple Watch Series 5 or SE running watchOS 7.2 or 7.3. Fortunately, Apple has confirmed the issue and offered a couple of fixes.
First, Apple patched the bug in the watchOS 7.3.1 system update. Users with a working Apple Watch should install the new version right away to prevent the Power Reserve lockup from occurring. Make sure your Apple Watch is synced to your iPhone or iPad and that both are connected to the same wifi network. Open the Watch app on your iPhone or iPad, then go to General > Software Update to download the patch.
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Apple is also extending a lifeline to the unfortunate souls with a bricked Apple Watch Series 5 and SE. The Apple Watch SE is still under warranty and eligible for repairs, but the Apple Watch Series 5 is not (unless you have AppleCare). Luckily, Apple announced a free repair program to assist users with an afflicted Apple Watch Series 5, even if it’s out of warranty.
However, the company is asking users to confirm their devices are unresponsive before sending them in for repairs. Attach your Apple Watch to the charger you normally use, then wait for at least 30 minutes. If your Apple Watch still won’t charge after that time has elapsed, then it’s stuck in Power Reserve mode and you need to get it fixed.
Hit up Apple’s support page to set up free repair for your Apple Watch by mail. Once they receive it, Apple’s technicians will perform another check to ensure your device is stuck in Power Reserve mode and eligible for repairs.