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Apple Watch Swipe Up Not Working? Try These 6 EASY Fixes


The Apple Watch Control Center lets you access features that let you get the most out of the smartwatch. However, none of that will matter if Apple Watch swipe up is not working.

But why is it that you can’t swipe up on your Apple Watch in the first place? And what can you do to fix the problem?

Generally, you can’t swipe up on your Apple Watch to open the Control Center because the display is dirty, the screen protector is bad, or the watchOS is outdated. You may have selected the wrong watch face, or the smartwatch just jammed up.

I’ve had this problem with my refurbished Apple Watch Series 6 about three times. So in this guide, you learn exactly how to fix it so you can access the Control Panel and see your notifications.

Let’s get started.

Why is My Apple Watch Swipe Up Not Working?

The following table summarizes why your Apple Watch won’t let you swipe the screen up to access the Control Center, as well as what you can do to fix the problem:

 Probable CausePossible Solution
1.Your Apple Watch screen is dirty.Dampen a clean soft cloth with a slight amount of cleaning alcohol and wipe the screen.
2.The screen protector cracked or isn’t compatible with your Apple Watch.Unpeel or remove the screen protector from the display, and wipe the display with a clean slightly dampened cloth.
3.You have the wrong watch face selected.Replace the current watch face with a different one and try swiping up again.
4.The watch may have jammed up.Factory reset your Apple Watch and pair it to your iPhone again.
5.Your Apple Watch is running on the old watchOS software.Update the obsolete watchOS to the latest version of the software.

How to Fix an Apple Watch That Won’t Swipe Up

Here are five things you can do if you can’t swipe up on your Apple Watch:

1. Clean the Display to Remove Dust

It’s likely that the Apple Watch display isn’t responding to touch because the screen is dirty, thus making it impossible for the swipe up function to work.

So you want to start by first cleaning the screen and test to see if that fixes the problem before you think of something else.

Dampen a clean cloth with a little bit of alcohol and wipe the display clean to remove dirt caught on the screen from regular use.

You want to avoid outside heat, cleaning agents such as soap, and abrasive materials as you clean your Apple Watch display, as they may end up damaging the screen. 

2. Remove the Screen Protector and Clean the Screen

Your Apple Watch is scratch proof by design. It can stand up to accidental drops and keep doing its work.

Mostly, the idea of adding a screen protector to the watch is to introduce another layer of protection to keep the screen underneath in good condition.

But if your Apple Watch display is clean and swipe up is not working, it’s likely the screen protector is the problem.

  • Unpeel the screen protector from the watch.
  • Wipe the display clean with a clean piece of cloth dampen in a little bit of alcohol.
  • Try swiping up and see whether your Apple Watch responds. 

3. Restart or Reset Your Apple Watch

Just because you cannot open the Control Panel is not working doesn’t mean the screen is the problem.

It could be that the watch froze or jammed, and that makes it impossible to open the Control Center to access the features you need to get the most out of it.

A common cause for freezing or jamming up is software glitches, which you can fix by force restarting the watch or factory resetting it altogether.

To restart the Apple Watch:

  • Press and hold down the Digital Crown until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  • Allow the watch some time to start.
  • Tap the screen to see if responds to your command.
  • Also, try swiping up.

If you still can’t see notification or access the Control Center after force restarting your Apple Watch, factory reset it.

To do so:

  • On your Apple Watch, go to Settings.
  • Select General.
  • Choose reset.
  • Select “Erase All Content and Settings”.  

Ensure you backup your data before you factory reset your Apple Watch.

That’s because, unlike a restart, resetting the watch clears the device’s memory. And you have to pair it to an iPhone as if you were just getting started for the first time.

You’ll need to provide your Apple ID when factory resetting the watch to confirm your identify as the owner of the watch.

4. Update watchOS to the Latest Version

Failing to update the watchOS to the latest version can also stop your Apple Watch from swiping up to open the Control Center.

So check for Apple Watch software updates and update the watchOS to the current version if there are new changes made by Apple.

To check for updates: 

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the My Watch tab.
  • Go to General.
  • Look for the Software Update option.

A small red notification button will show in this section if there’s a recently released update. Tap on the option and allow the watchOS to upgrade to the latest version. 

5. Unpair and then Re-pair Your Apple Watch

Sometimes the Apple Watch screen can have problems responding to swipes because of pairing problems caused by software glitches or bugs. 

Unpairing Apple Watch from iPhone and then repairing it can sometimes help solve the problem. 

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Go to My Watch tab and tap on All Watches.
  • Tap on the information icon located right next to the watch you want to unpair.
  • Choose Unpair Apple Watch and confirm your option.

If required, you must provide your Apple ID as password to confirm that you’re indeed the rightful owner of the watch attached to your account.

The next step is to connect the Apple Watch to iPhone, again.

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Choose All Watches.
  • Select Pair a New Apple Watch
  • Follow the instructions that you see on the screen to connect the watch to the phone. 

When it comes to reconnecting the Apple Watch to your iPhone, consider setting it up as a new watch rather than restoring it from the backup. 

6. Switch to a Different Watch Face

If you’ve cleaned display, peeled out the screen protector, restarted the watch, and updated the watchOS to the latest version but you still can’t swipe up or down on your Apple Watch, change the watch face.

Sometimes the problem isn’t with the hardware or software.

In some cases, it may be that the current watch face is what keeps the screen from responding when swiped.

So change the watch face right away.

  • Lift your wrist to awake the display.
  • Swipe the screen from the left to the right to switch the watch face.

And that’s it.

Related Reading

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Can’t the Red Dot on Apple Watch Swipe Down?

The red dot on your Apple Watch can’t swipe down because the device froze, jammed, or has software glitches.

You can restart the watch to fix this problem. But if doing so doesn’t fix the error, do a force restart following the instructions I shared earlier in this troubleshooting guide. 

2. Why Won’t My Apple Watch Let Me Swipe Up?

There are various reasons why Apple Watch will let you tap but not swipe up.

But the four common issues include technical system glitches, dirt on the screen, outdated WatchOS versions, and bugs. The overall best way to deal with most of these issues is to do a factory reset

Final Thoughts

It’s very rare for Apple Watch to fail unless you’re dealing with a completely cracked screen. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Sp should your watch ever fail to swipe up or down, you should troubleshoot the error following the instructions I’ve suggested in this guide.

Photo of author

Michael Jonathan

Michael Jonathan is the brainchild of Apelo Studio. He loves talking about wearable devices, and he is passionate about helping you push your wearable device to its limits. His creativity and ability to tear electric components apart and put them back together makes him an incredible troubleshooter and blogger.

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