Experiencing ‘Ghost Touches’ on your Apple Watch? It’s Not Just You

Man Checking Apple Watch Credit: mpohodzhay / Shutterstock
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If your Apple Watch seems to have a mind of its own, you’re not alone. It seems that some of Apple’s latest Apple Watch models are experiencing issues where the display thinks it’s been touched even when there’s nothing near it.

The folks at MacRumors have gotten a hold of an internal memo sent to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, noting that the company is “aware of” a touch-related issue affecting some Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 devices and is currently investigating the problem.

At this point, it seems Apple believes the issue is related to software and not hardware, or at the very least, it feels it may be able to address the problem with a software patch even if defective hardware is involved.

In the memo, Apple notes that “Some customers may report their Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 is experiencing false touches on their display,” which could result in complications activating, apps opening, or causing the screen to “jump erratically” without seemingly being triggered by any user interaction. Apple suggested that some customers might describe the issue as “ghost” touches.

It’s not hard to imagine how much chaos this can cause if it’s occurring frequently enough. Apple also describes the possibility of a phone call being started unintentionally or problems entering the device’s passcode.

For now, Apple has told service providers not to replace any affected Apple Watch models. Instead, they’ve been told to advise users to make sure they’re running the latest watchOS version and install any new updates as they become available.

However, Apple has stopped short of offering any clues as to when the problem might be fixed. It also doesn’t describe how widespread the problem is.

Some reports suggest that force restarting your Apple Watch might at least temporarily solve the problem, which can be done by holding down the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time until the Apple logo appears.

If your Apple Watch is seriously acting up with these phantom touches, you may also have some luck in restoring it to factory settings, which can be done from your iPhone’s Watch app:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the My Watch tab.
  3. Select All Watches from the top-left corner.
  4. Tap the “I” button next to your Apple Watch.
  5. Select Unpair Apple Watch at the bottom of the screen.

After your Apple Watch unpairs, you can repair it with your iPhone to restore your data onto it and see if the problem recurs. Unfortunately, if this doesn’t address the issue, the only other thing you can do for now is wait in the hope that a software update will fix it.

If this is entirely a software issue, it should be possible for Apple to address it. However, it remains a mystery why it’s only affecting some Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. If an underlying hardware problem is causing it, Apple may eventually have to change its stance and instruct its service providers to replace the affected watches, but it seems we’re not there yet.

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