The apps on your Apple Watch can get stuck or behave poorly, just like the apps on your computer or your phone, so it’s helpful to know ways to shut those apps down.
There are a couple of ways that you can close an app on your watch, as well as options for restarting the device if you encounter problems when trying to close those apps.
Our tutorial below will show you all of these options so that you can resolve problems that you are experiencing due to an app or the entire watch performing sub-optimally.
You can close apps on your Apple Watch by pressing the side button, swiping left on the app, then tap the red x.
How to Close an Apple Watch App
- Press the side button.
- Swipe left on the app to close.
- Tap the red x.
Our guide continues below with additional information on how to close apps on Apple Watch, including pictures of these steps.
When an app isn’t working correctly on your Apple Watch, you won’t be able to use it in the manner that you want.
But aside from not being able to use the app, it can also cause other unexpected behavior on the device and possibly even cause the battery to drain more quickly.
Fortunately, you don’t have to allow an app to continue running, and you are able to close it yourself.
You can even force the app to close if the traditional app-closing method isn’t working.
Related: This Apple Watch article will show you how to silence the sounds that come from the watch.
How to Manually Close an App on Your Watch
The steps in this section were performed on an Apple Watch Series 7 using the 8.5.1 version of WatchOS.
Step 1: Press the side button on the side of the Apple Watch.
This is going to open a screen that displays the apps that are currently open on the device or that have been open recently.
Step 2: Swipe to the left on the app that you want to close on the Watch.
Step 3: Tap the red x next to the app to close it.
Now that you know how to close apps on Apple Watch, you will be able to do this any time you suspect that there are open apps that aren’t closing on their own.
How to Force Quit an App on an Apple Watch
Sometimes the method that we described above won’t work to shut down the app, so you might need to use an option that will force-close the app instead.
Step 1: Press the digital crown button on the side of the watch, which is going to display the screen with all of the watch apps.
Step 2: Select the app that you want to close.
Step 3: Press and hold down the side button until you see the screen with the Power Off, Medical ID, and Emergency SOS buttons.
Step 4: Press and hold the digital crown button until you are returned to the watch’s Home screen.
If you are still experiencing problems with the watch after you have forced closed an app, then you may wish to try restarting the watch completely instead.
How to Restart an Apple Watch
Much like your computer or your phone, the Apple Watch may need to be restarted periodcially if there is a system service or app that is causing the device to perform poorly.
Step 1: Press and hold the side button until you see the screen below with the Power Off button.
Step 2: Drag the Power Off slider to the right until the watch turns off.
Step 3: Press and hold the side button until you see the white Apple logo, then let go of the side button.
If this standard restart option isn’t working, then you might need to use a method that will force the device to restart instead.
How to Force Restart an Apple Watch
In some rare instances where the Apple watch won’t shut down using the method in the previous section, or if the device is stuck, then you might need to force it to restart instead.
Step 1: Press and hold the digital crown and side button until you see the white Apple logo.
Step 2: Release the side button and digital crown button once you see the Apple icon.
Now that you are familiar with how to close apps and how to restart your watch, you should be able to solve any app-related issues that you encounter on the device.
Note that you generally will want to avoid force-closing apps or force-restarting the device if you are able to use the other options, but you do have the force-closing options available to you if the standard methods aren’t working.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.