Some Apple Watch Ultras are experience a display issue — here’s what’s happening

a photo of the Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

The Apple Watch Ultra is the most premium watch Apple has ever built with the largest display of any Apple wearable. But some Apple Watch Ultra aren't enamored with that display at the moment, as they're posting complaints about "jelly scrolling" on their $799 smartwatch.

Jelly scrolling occurs when one half of a screen refreshes slower than the other. This results in a mismatched display that is especially noticeable when a user scrolls through something, as it creates a wobbly effect on the display.

iPhoneSoft (opens in new tab) first reported this issue, even tweeting a video of the scrolling lag.

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After buying one of the best Apple Watches that retails for $799, the last thing you want to see is a display with too much jiggle. But don’t sound the alarm bells just yet — jelly scrolling seems to affect only a few users as of now who claim it is not a big deal.

Users took to social media to complain about jelly scrolling, noting that the problem seems to show up when they scroll through notifications on their Apple Watch Ultra. One Reddit user who goes by the name “KanevX05 (opens in new tab)” wrote that “it's there but it is not an issue! The display refreshes from left to right which is why you see it. Just a design thing.” 

Apple’s iPad Mini 6 faced a similar problem last year, with Apple issuing a statement saying that it was normal for LCD displays. Apple was faced with a class action lawsuit earlier this year for the problem though, with the lawsuit claiming that Apple sold the iPad Mini 6 with a “known defect”.

The Apple Watch Ultra has an OLED display with a brightness of 2,000 Nits — which is twice as bright as the screen on the Apple Watch Series 8. This combined with a larger display is probably why the jelly scrolling effect shows on the Ultra and not on the Apple Watch 8. 

There has been no statement from Apple on the jelly scrolling reports, and hopefully the display should settle on its own. The volume of complaints against the iPad Mini 6 last year was a lot higher than the few scattered ones for the Apple Watch Ultra which could mean that the issue is not widespread.

The Apple Watch Ultra is designed to be extremely rugged — the bezel is made of titanium while the display is made of sapphire glass to protect it from falls. Like the Apple Watch 8, the Ultra comes with a skin temperature sensor and the Crash Detection feature. There are many other smarts the Apple Watch Ultra packs into its 49mm frame including a useful Action Button. (Here’s how to use the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra.

In testing the Apple Watch Ultra, Tom's Guide fitness editor Jane McGuire also loved using the Precision Start feature that makes the Watch Ultra a game-changer for runners. The only thing we found the Apple Watch 8 probably does better is that it comes with a silicon strap which we miss on the Watch Ultra.

You can also check out the main differences between the Apple Watch Ultra vs the Apple Watch 8.

Sanjana Prakash
News Editor

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.