My Apple Watch 8 died after a swim — here's what I did next

Apple Watch shown under water in swimming pool
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The Apple Watch is the perfect swim companion. I've been using it to track my swim workouts since the debut of the Series 4. It's never given me any problems in the pool and I've found it to be very accurate with tracking my distance and heart rate. That's why I was shocked when my new Apple Watch 8 recently died after one lap in the pool. 

I purchased my Apple Watch 8 back in October after trading in my old Apple Watch 4. (Apple's trade in policy remains one of the best Apple Watch deals around). However, it wasn't until late December that I had time to hit the pool with my new watch.  

Before jumping into the pool I set my watch to Pool Swim Mode. This locks your watch and its screen to prevent accidental screen taps when underwater. However, after my first lap, I noticed the screen on my Apple Watch had gone blank. I instinctively tried tapping the screen to see if it would awaken, but the display remained dark. 

I immediately tried to end my workout and eject water from the watch by pressing the Digital Crown, but again my Series 8 wasn't responding. (Not sure how to properly eject water from an Apple Watch? Check out our how to eject water from an Apple Watch guide for step-by-step instructions).

Apple Watch 8 on charger

(Image credit: Future)

I nervously continued my workout hoping my watch would miraculously start working, but the watch was as dead as can be. Once I returned home, I pat it dry and let it sit for 10 minutes. I then tried to perform a reset by pressing the side button, but again the watch wouldn't respond. Even when placing it on the charger, the screen remained blank. My watch was dead. 

After a quick search on Google, I found other users whose Apple Watch 8 died after their first swim workout. However, no one had seemed to find a solution that brought their watch back to life. So I started a chat with Apple tech support who had me try a hard reset by pressing the side button and Digital Crown for a few seconds. After multiple failed attempts, they set up a Genius appointment for the following day. 

However, even the Apple technician wasn't able to resuscitate my watch, at which point I was told they'd need to send my watch to California so Apple could diagnose it. (Apparently, Apple Watches can only be diagnosed in Apple's California headquarters and not here in New York). They estimated it would take three to four weeks before I would get my watch back.

Fortunately, it didn't take that long and I received a new Apple Watch 8 in the mail within six days of visiting the Apple Store. So far, my new Apple Watch has been operating smoothly. While I've yet to go for a swim with it — you can rest assured I'll be doing that very soon — I've already splashed and dunked it in water to ensure it's properly water resistant. 

In the meantime, below is how you can properly set up your Apple Watch to track your swim workouts. 

How to set  your Apple Watch to Swim Mode

  • Launch the workout app
  • Scroll through the workout options and tap Pool Swim
  • Select the length of your pool
  • Tap start (your watch will automatically water lock and track your laps)

1. Launch the workout app and scroll till you find the Pool Swim option. (You can also choose Open Water Swim if you're swimming in a lake or beach). 

Apple Watch Pool Swim screen

(Image credit: Future)

2. Select the distance of your pool. Most standard lap pools tend to be 25 yards. Olympic size pools are 50 meters in length. Tap the start icon and you're ready to workout. Your watch will automatically water lock to prevent any accidental taps. 

Apple Watch Pool Swim screen

(Image credit: Future)

3. End your workout. Once you're done, press and hold the Digital Crown until you see the icon of a water droplet. After a few seconds, the droplet will turn into an icon of little bubbles and your Apple Watch will automatically eject water. Now, you can end your swim workout.

Apple Watch end workout

(Image credit: Future)

For more Apple Watch tips, see our how to use the Apple Watch guide and our list of 9 awesome Apple Watch hacks and hidden features you need to ry. 

Louis Ramirez

As deals editor-in-chief at Tom’s Guide, Louis is constantly looking for ways to avoid paying full price for the latest gadgets, appliances, and apparel. With over 10 years of deals-hunting experience, Louis price checks against multiple retailers and searches high and low for the best deals to bring readers. He's also always on the look out for the best coupon codes to use when shopping. A born-and-bred New Yorker, Louis is also an avid swimmer and marathoner. His work has appeared on Gizmodo, CNET, and Time Out New York.

  • Boraxo
    This article is pretty useless as it does not provide the reason the watch failed, advice for readers to prevent a similar failure, or advice for fixing the problem. We are left wondering if this was a rare one off or a common occurrence.
  • Btracy71377
    admin said:
    I took my new Apple Watch 8 for a swim and it immediately died. Here's what I did next and how Apple saved the day.

    My Apple Watch 8 died after a swim — here's what I did next : Read more
    I had to agree with other people here I clicked this article thinking oh, you’ve come up with a slick way to get to watch working again after a crashes due to getting wet internally. Your solution is to take it to Apple. Let’s be serious that’s always what you do if nothing else works that’s a no-brainer why would you dedicate an article that this is beyond me. It’s like you’re finding a slick way to pat Apple on the back Apple doesn’t need any more pats on the back.