Even in the current watchOS version, swipe gestures suddenly fail. In the worst case, only a reboot will help.
Apple Watch users are complaining about difficulties with two key functions of the computer clock. These can usually be reached from the clock display, but sometimes they simply fail: the display of the control center for quick settings as well as the overview of the last notifications that have not yet been acknowledged.
clock is running, swipe gestures are not
The bug is noticeable because the swipe gestures required to reach the two features – either swipe up from the bottom edge of the clock (Control Center) or down from the top edge (Notifications) – simply do not work. The watch is not responding. Adding to the confusion: all other standard functions are accessible, such as launching apps, the digital crown or the side button. Tappers and all other swiping gestures in apps also continue to work.
Users have noticed the problem for several versions of the Apple Watch operating system watchOS, and the bug seems to have existed at least since watchOS 8.5.1. Current version is watchOS 8.6. However, there are also reports that the bug is still present in the watchOS 9 beta. In general, the problem occurs sporadically, it is not clear what the specific trigger is – of course that doesn’t make it any less annoying when it happens.
Workarounds available, but uncomfortable
It are several workarounds for the problem. The most radical and tedious option is to simply reboot the Apple Watch by pressing and holding the side button and then swiping to turn off. Then the device is switched on again; After the restart, notifications and the control center work reliably again – until the bug occurs again. Since the clock takes a while to shut down and boot up, this can cost several minutes. If the reboot falters or the bug occurs again immediately after the restart, a hard reset can also help: To do this, press the side button and the digital crown together for at least 10 minutes. However, this should only be done in an emergency.
Another method that can help is to change the current clock face by swiping right or left from the right or left edge. This is recommended by colleagues from MacRumors, for example. In the Mac & i-editors showed on a Series 6 – which is just as affected as the current Series 7 and older devices – but that this does not always work. You could also pair the watch with the corresponding iPhone again. However, this is a very lengthy process in which the clock has to be set up from scratch (including importing the backup). It is also not clear here whether the error will not appear again immediately. As of now, it looks like only Apple can finally fix it.