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The most common Samsung Galaxy Watch problems and how to fix them

Need help with a specific frustration? We have potential solutions.
May 19, 2023
A watch box stores a Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Samsung is probably best known for its smartphones, but it also produces excellent smartwatches. The Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 in particular come to mind. Samsung offers cheaper alternatives for those on a budget as well. Despite their proven quality, Samsung wearables suffer from issues just like any other wearable. Below, we look at the more common Samsung Galaxy Watch problems and offer a list of possible solutions for each.

However, if you own Samsung’s latest flagship wearable, read our guide for common Galaxy Watch 5 problems and solutions. Likewise, if you have a specific issue relating to the previous generation, check our Galaxy Watch 4 problems and solutions guide.

Problem #1: Pairing issues

A Galaxy Watch 4 pairs to a Galaxy A51 phone.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Difficulties right off the bat are never a good sign. Luckily, you may be facing a simple Bluetooth issue during the pairing process. Here’s what to do if your Samsung smartwatch won’t pair or if Bluetooth keeps disconnecting.

Potential solutions:

  • First, Samsung suggests switching Bluetooth on and off on your smartwatch.
    • Tizen Galaxy Watches: On your watch, press the Power/Home key while on the home screen, then tap Settings. Head to Connections > Bluetooth, and toggle Bluetooth off and on.
    • Galaxy Watch 4 or 5: Head to Settings > Connections > Bluetooth. Toggle it off, wait a few moments, then toggle it back on again.
    • For redundancy, we recommend you switch your phone’s Bluetooth off and on as well.
  • Ensure that your smartphone and watch are within Bluetooth connectivity range and the path between them is relatively unobstructed.
  • Still facing issues? Try restarting your watch. You can find details of how to do this on your respective device at the foot of this article.
  • If all else fails, unpair your smartwatch from your phone.
    • To do this, head to your phone’s Bluetooth menu and manually unpair the wearable. Restart the pairing process.

Problem #2: Syncing issues

User views the Samsung Health app on their Samsung Galaxy A51.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Health data garnered by your Samsung Galaxy Watch just sometimes won’t sync with the Samsung Health app. What can you do?

Potential solutions:

  • See if you can initiate a manual sync between your watch and smartphone.
    • Open the Samsung Health app on your phone, tap Menu > Settings > Sync with Samsung account > tap the switch icon. Finally, tap Sync.
  • Reset Bluetooth on your phone and smartwatch. Double-check that your devices are connected.
  • Restart your phone and smartwatch. Once both devices restart, try manually syncing once more.
  • Still nothing? You may need to uninstall the Samsung Health app on your phone. Once complete, reinstall it.
  • Alternatively, you may need to unpair your smartwatch. To do this, head to your smartphone’s Bluetooth menu and hit unpair.
  • As a last resort, back up your Samsung Galaxy Watch and perform a factory reset.
    • To back up your Samsung Galaxy Watch, open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone. Tap Account and backup > Back up and restore > Back up data. Select which settings and apps you want to save. Finally, press Backup. Once complete, tap Done.
    • To factory reset your watch, we recommend using the Galaxy Wearable app once more. These steps should be similar across all Samsung wearables. Open the app on your smartphone, tap the Home tab > General > Reset > Reset.
    • You’ll have to set up your wearable once more, but this step should rule out any software-related issues.
  • If this doesn’t solve the issue, we recommend taking your device to Samsung for a closer look. There may be an underlying problem you can’t remedy yourself.

Problem #3: Charging issues

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 rests on a beige cushion while charging.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Your Samsung Galaxy Watch refuses to charge on its provided charging cradle or dock. This could be the start of a more significant issue or something you can remedy within a few minutes.

Potential solutions:

  • Tick off a few practical troubleshooting boxes first.
    • Double-check that your wireless charger is connected to the wall and the plug is switched on.
    • Check for damage to the charger or the charging cable. If you find any, use an alternative if available.
    • Check that another appliance works in the specific plug you are using.
    • Ensure that the charging points on the Samsung Galaxy Watch and charging dock/cradle are clean and free of debris.
  • If your device still holds some charge, try rebooting your smartwatch before attempting to charge it again.
  • Suspect the dock is the issue? Try using another Qi wireless charger if you own a Galaxy Watch 5, Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 3, Watch Active 2, original Galaxy Watch, or Galaxy Watch Active.
    • If you own a smartphone that also supports wireless power share, you can try using this as an alternative charging method.
  • You may need to replace your Samsung Galaxy Watch charger altogether. You can find replacement options at the link below or head over to our list of the best Samsung Galaxy Watch accessories to shop including replacement chargers and more.

Problem #4: Screen issues

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic on a fence.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

If your Samsung Galaxy Watch is charging and holds power, but the display won’t switch on, you may have a significant problem. Before taking your device to Samsung for a closer look, try these possible fixes.

Potential solutions:

  • If your watch’s display has streaks, appears to be pixelated, or flickers, Samsung recommends a simple restart as an initial measure.
    • Pay close attention to your watch’s display during this process. If the issue persists during the reboot screen, you may need to contact Samsung. It could be the beginning of a more pressing issue. This also rules out any apps or watch faces as the culprit.
    • However, you might need to change your watch face if you don’t notice anything until after the watch reboots. To change your face, touch and hold the watch face on the watch’s home screen > tap Remove > tap the checkmark to uninstall the face. This is consistent across both Tizen and Wear OS Galaxy Watches.

Other issues:

  • If your smartwatch’s screen doesn’t respond to gestures, double-check if raise-to-wake is switched on.
    • To do this on your phone, open the Galaxy Wearable app, tap Advanced, and tap the toggle next to Wake-up gesture to enable raise-to-wake.
    • For a  Tizen Galaxy Watch, open the Settings app > Advanced > Wake-up gesture > toggle on Wake-up gesture.
    • On the Galaxy Watch 4 or 5 go to Settings > Display > Screen wake-up > Raise wrist to wake.

Problem #5: Notification issues

A Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 displays a user's text notification.

Smartwatches aren’t smartwatches without notifications support. Sometimes, your phone won’t send messages and alerts through to your wrist. Here are a few possible remedies.

Potential solutions:

  • First, restart both your smartphone and smartwatch.
  • Check if notifications are enabled in the Galaxy Wearable app. To do this, tap on Notifications on the app’s home screen, and ensure the master toggle is switched on.
    • If certain apps aren’t sending through notifications, you can toggle on notification support for individual apps on this page, too.
  • Still no luck? Check if any power saving or alert restriction modes are activated on your Samsung Galaxy Watch.
    • Tizen Galaxy Watches: Open the Settings app on your watch and head to Advanced. Ensure that Goodnight mode, Theatre mode, and Do not disturb are all switched off.
    • Galaxy Watch 4 or 5: You can find these toggles in Settings > Advanced features. You can also toggle these features off in the Advanced tab on the Galaxy Wearable app on your smartphone.

Problem #6: Update issues

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro displays an update installation screen.
Andy Walker / Android Authority

Software updates are important to keep your smartwatch running smoothly. These include the latest security patches, bug fixes, and new features. However, updates sometimes refuse to install or introduce new issues to the mix.

Potential solutions:

  • As always, restart your watch and smartphone.
  • If your Samsung Galaxy Watch isn’t automatically updating, initiate a manual update. Open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone, head to Watch software update, tap on Download and install.
  • Nothing? Try unpairing and repairing your watch to your smartphone. If your phone downloads an update but can’t install it on your watch, there may be a connectivity issue between the devices.
  • If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may have to factory reset your smartwatch.
  • If your Samsung Galaxy Watch still refuses to install updates, you may need to take it to Samsung.

Problem #7: Activity tracking issues

A user reviews his running workout on his Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Fitness tracking tools are only useful if they work. Samsung is moving in the right direction on its latest watches, however, they still have their fair share of glitches. Is your Samsung Galaxy Watch failing to automatically track your workouts?

Potential solutions:

  • Tizen Galaxy Watches: Head to Samsung Health > Settings > Workout detection. Ensure this setting is toggled on. Importantly, automatic workout detection will only switch on after 10 minutes, so if your workouts are shorter, this could be the issue.
  • Galaxy Watch 4 or 5: Head to Samsung Health > Settings > toggle on Auto detect workouts.
  • You can also check if this feature is enabled on your smartphone. Open Galaxy Wearable on your phone, and head to Health settings > Workout detection.
  • Notably, this feature can also be the root of other issues. If you find your watch records erroneous data or suddenly starts recording a dynamic workout, you may need to switch off automatic workout detection.
  • Check for any updates to rule out (or remedy) a software problem. Ironically, software updates can also introduce more issues. If you suspect an update is at fault, you may want to factory reset your smartwatch.

Other issues:

  • As for sleep tracking, Samsung Galaxy Watches can either use your heart rate or body movement to record sleep.
    • Open the Samsung Health app > Sleep > Settings > toggle on Record REM sleep to use heart rate-based tracking. If you feel this mode is inaccurate, you can switch it off to use body movement as the primary recording metric.
    • If you own a Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, it will automatically toggle between the two to best measure your sleep cycle.

Problem #8: Cellular issues

A Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 on a user's wrist displays the control panel.

Some Samsung Galaxy Watches feature support for LTE. They’re excellent for streaming music while running or placing calls from your watch. But occasionally, your watch may fail to connect or you may have trouble setting up the service.

Potential solutions:

  • First, ensure your smartwatch is an LTE model.
  • If you’re setting up your Samsung Galaxy Watch, double-check if your smartwatch is compatible with your phone and watch. Presumably, you own an Android device with at least 1.5GB of RAM running Android 5.0 or newer. However, your mobile network might not play nice with your watch.
    • To activate LTE on your watch, ensure your smartwatch is paired with your phone. Head to the Galaxy Wearable app > Mobile networks. The app will scan for LTE networks. Once complete, follow the prompts.
  • If connectivity on your watch suddenly fails, try restarting your smartwatch and mobile phone.
  • Are you still experiencing issues? You may need to reset your watch’s network settings.
    • Tizen Galaxy Watches: tap the Power/Home key > Settings > Connections > Mobile networks > Mobile plans. You’ll then need to follow the prompts. Tap Reset once complete.
    • Galaxy Watch 4 or 5: Tap Settings > Connections > Mobile networks > Access Point Names > Reset.
    • You can also reset your watch’s network settings from your phone’s Galaxy Wearable app. Once complete, add the details of your mobile plan to your device.

Problem #9: Samsung Pay issues

A user sets up Samsung Pay on his Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung Pay is a highly convenient way to pay for items without physical cards. However, the service isn’t always perfectly smooth.

Potential solutions:

  • We recommend that you try restarting your smartwatch and smartphone before taking any additional steps. If this doesn’t work, unpair and pair your smartwatch and smartphone.
  • Still nothing? Try uninstalling the Samsung Pay plugin. Head to the Settings menu on your phone > Apps > Samsung Pay (Watch plugin) > Uninstall. Tap Ok to confirm.
    • Once complete, reinstall the plugin from the Google Play Store or Samsung Galaxy Store.
  • Try using Samsung Pay on your smartphone.
    • If it works, you can rule out a direct issue with your bank card or the service itself. If it doesn’t, try removing and adding your bank card to the service.
  • Finally, if all else fails, you may have to reset your smartwatch.

Problem #10: Band issues

Three Samsung Galaxy Watch 4s rest on a leather surface displaying custom faces.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Samsung’s smartwatches come with several band options. The Galaxy Watch Active 2, for instance, ships with silicone straps, while the Galaxy Watch 3 comes with leather straps. Both materials can suffer wear and tear. If your watch band does fail due to a factory defect, check if it falls within Samsung’s warranty period. In the US, Samsung’s wearables are covered by a one-year warranty.

Problem #11: Performance issues

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a man's wrist showing the all-apps page.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Newer smartwatches generally suffer from performance issues later in life. This can manifest as lag, glitching, or battery drain. You can alleviate these issues to some extent.

Potential solutions:

  • Before you take any drastic steps, try restarting your smartwatch if you haven’t done so in a while.
  • Next, uninstall any apps you aren’t using.
    • It’s easier to do this from your phone. Open the Galaxy Wearable app and head to Apps > Manage apps. Uninstall whatever you don’t need or use regularly. This should free up storage space, reduce background RAM usage, and improve battery life.
  • The watch face you’re using might also be the culprit. Try switching to a default face.
    • Touch and hold the watch face and swipe across the screen to select another face.
    • You can also uninstall any faces you no longer use. To do so, touch and hold the watch face on the watch’s home screen, and scroll between the faces. Tap Remove to delete a face you no longer use, then tap the checkmark to uninstall the face. This method is consistent across Tizen and Wear OS Samsung Galaxy Watches.
  • Check for software updates. If there’s a fundamental software issue with your device, an update will likely fix it. This is especially true if you haven’t updated your device for some time.
    • Of course, a new update could also be the culprit. In this case, you may have to reset your smartwatch.
  • If all else fails, you might need to take your smartwatch to Samsung for a closer look.

How to restart your Samsung Galaxy device

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 on a user's wrist displays a blank screen.
Andy Walker / Android Authority

You can restart Samsung’s smartwatches directly from their displays, but if they’re not responding or if you need to initiate a hard restart, here’s how you can do it using their buttons or your smartphone.

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5/Pro: Press and hold both buttons on the watch until the screen switches off. The watch will then reboot.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4/Classic: Press and hold both buttons on the watch until the screen switches off. The watch will then reboot.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: Press and hold both buttons on the watch for at least eight seconds or until the watch reboots.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch: Press and hold the Home key until a rebooting prompt is displayed. The watch should soon restart soon afterward.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Press and hold both buttons on the watch until the device reboots.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active: Press and hold both buttons on the watch until the device reboots.
  • Samsung Galaxy Fit 2: You can restart the Galaxy Fit 2 in two ways. On your phone, launch the Galaxy Wearable app. Tap Home > About band > Restart band. On the band itself, swipe down on the home screen, swipe right three times, and then tap on the icon with three dots. Tap the top icon that appears.

What Samsung Galaxy Watch problems have you encountered? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. We’ll do our best to help. And, if you’ve got a broken Galaxy Watch, check out our guide to repair costs.