Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch 5 have a charging problem — what to do now

Apple Watch charging problem
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If your Apple Watch shas charging problems after being updated to watchOS 7.3.1 this week, don’t worry. Apple will repair the smartwatch for free. 

According to Apple a “very small number” of Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch SE users running watchOS 7.2 or 7.3 experience a problem with their smartwatches not charging when they enter the battery-saving “Power Reserve” mode. The update to watchOS 7.3.1 can fix the issue, but some have still run into problems.  

If you’ve noticed your Apple Watch isn't charging correctly then we’d recommend your first course of action is to ensure you have the latest version of watchOS on your smartwatch. 

To check that, simply go into the “General” menu in the settings and tap “Software Update” to check what version of watchOS your Apple Watch is running. 

What to do if your Apple Watch won't charge

If the problem persists then Apple has a few simple steps to check whether your watch is being affected by the Power Reserve mode problem. 

“To check if your Apple Watch is affected by this issue, place your watch on the charger that you normally use, then wait at least 30 minutes,” Apple’s updated support document explained. “If your Apple Watch still won't charge, contact Apple Support to set up a mail-in repair free of charge. Your watch will be examined before service to verify that it's eligible for free repair.” 

While a charging bug can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with in modern tech, especially as removable and swappable batteries are increasingly a thing of the past, it’s good to see Apple step up and offer a free repair. 

To get more out of Apple's wearable, check out our how to use the Apple Watch guide for a range of tips and tricks.  

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.