I haven't charged my Apple Watch for the past couple of days and the watch refuses to boot while showing a charging cable icon along with a red/green lightning bolt.

Image Source: Reddit

Is there a reset / fix procedure to get it to charge and work again?


3 Answers 3


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Apple Watch refuses to charge while showing a charging cable icon along with a red/green lightning bolt, like in the picture above.

Cause of the Problem

The above image indicates that the Apple Watch's battery has been depleted to a point where it can't boot anymore or even keep time. The following might be the reason why it happened to you.

  • Watch inactive for a long time: Even when the device shuts down, the internal battery still has enough charge to keep the current time and date. However, if the device isn’t charged, the battery will continue to deplete to a level that requires an initial charge before it can power up the device.
  • Prolonged Exposure to the Sun: The Apple Watch might have been exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time. This could have caused the battery to overheat to such an extent that it’s not able to take the charge anymore.
  • Brand New Watch: The Apple Watch is brand new, and the battery is completely dead because it’s been in the store for a long time until you purchased it.

Potential Solutions

  • Force Restart: You can force restart the Apple Watch by pressing the Digital Crown and the side button for at least 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.

  • Use a Higher Wattage Charging Brick: Try using a charging brick with a higher wattage. Usually, all Apple Watches use only the wattage they need. Most generations of watches will never use more than a couple of watts, no matter how much wattage the charging brick has to offer. Even the Series 7 and 8, which have fast charging, don't need a brick with more than 20W. OneFruit did an experiment where they measured the ampere the watch was taking in, and it peaked at 0.36 amperes (roughly 2 watts, considering the output voltage of 5.5 volts), but in our case, the watch has depleted the battery and needs an extra boost. Any charging brick with a wattage above 60 W would be good. Personal Recommendation: Borrow a MacBook charger or a OnePlus SUPERVOOC charging brick (80 Watts) and charge your watch. I personally find them pretty effective.

  • Hours of Charging: I'm pretty sure you would have tried this already, but charging the watch for 6+ hours may bring it back to life.

  • Super Discharging the Watch: This time, try the opposite of the previous point, deplete the Apple Watch battery all the way until pressing the buttons doesn't show the green charging cable snake. Once the watch reaches that point, plugging it into the MagSafe charger should reset the battery and charge it. Video explaining in detail. Tip: Press the buttons so that they turn the display on. This will accelerate the battery depletion process.

  • Use New Version Charging Cable (Applicable Only for S7/S8): Fast charging, introduced on S7 Apple Watches, requires a newer version of the charging cable. This cable has aluminium around the magnetic charger and a USB-C connector. Using an older version of the charging cable could be the problem.

Edits and Suggestions are always appreciated. Wrote this because I don't want another person to panic search the internet like I did. Hope it works for you. Cheers - Kart


A flat battery is never fun, but Apple has a very clearly written guide to assist you when your watch will not turn on fully. Most of the steps are DIY but eventually you may need service if you can't self-rescue.

Some things I've seen that trip up people is:

  • Remove the watch band - ensure the contact is good between the watch back and charging puck.
  • Completely remove any plastic wrap from both sides of the charger.
  • Make sure that the back of your Apple Watch and the magnetic charger are clean.
  • If your Apple Watch still won't charge after 30 minutes showing the green snake icon and you have already tried other cables / chargers (or don't have any), force it to restart.

Press and hold both the side button and Digital Crown for at least 10 seconds, or until the Apple logo appears.

After all this - and doing every step in the KB above a second time (especially 30 minutes of charge post commanded-restart), it might be time to arrange service.


Force restarting helped me, but only when I put watch off the chagrer, then reset it, and put it back on charger.

To reset it, as mentioned earlier, you need:

Press and hold both the side button and Digital Crown for at least 10 seconds, or until the Apple logo appears.

In my case, Apple logo appeared in approximately 5 seconds.

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