If a thief or an unauthorized person repeatedly tries to log into your Apple Watch by guessing various passcode combinations, the watch will become locked and will display “Too Many Passcode Attempts” on the screen. Prior to this, you will encounter a wrong password screen on the watch and be subjected to a time limit, necessitating a wait. However, continued passcode attempts will result in the watch locking and displaying the ‘Too Many Passcode Attempts’ screen.
But if you have not entered the wrong passcode on the watch, then some of the reasons that can cause the issue are mentioned below:
- A child or pet has entered the wrong passcodes on the watch.
- Rubbing in your pocket caused the watch to “think” that someone was trying to log into it.
- Accidental touches in your sleep have caused the issue.
- Static current from an incompatible charger causes ghost touches on the watch screen and those ghost touches can result in the wrong passcodes.
- As we are diving into the troubleshooting phase, remember that some of these steps may not work on your Apple Watch as the steps can be different for different generations of Apple Watch.
- Make sure to clean the watch’s screen to avoid any further ghost touches or missed touches during the troubleshooting process.
- If you opt to reset the watch, remember to check if the backup of its data is available with you, on iCloud or iPhone.
- If you need to reset the watch during the process, then while repairing it with the iPhone, you can choose to restore the Apple watch or set it up as a new one.
How to Fix an Apple Watch Showing Too Many Passcode Attempts
We will start by trying to unlock your Watch. If that is not successful, we will move on to the reset procedures and attempt to get access.
1. Enable ‘Unlock Apple Watch’ when you Unlock your iPhone
The first step is to enable the mentioned option on the iPhone. This will automatically unlock your Apple Watch whenever you unlock your iPhone.
- Launch the Apple Watch app and navigate to My Watch > Passcode.
- Enable ‘Unlock with iPhone’ and lock/unlock your iPhone. Check to see if the watch unlocks with the iPhone.
- If this does not work, lock/unlock your iPhone after putting the watch on your wrist. See if the watch is unlocked successfully.
2. Reset or Disable the Passcode by Using the iPhone
We can attempt to reset the passcode through your iPhone’s Apple Watch settings or turn off the passcode altogether.
- Launch the Watch app and navigate to My Watch > Passcode > Change Passcode.
- Enter and confirm the new passcode.
- Try to unlock the watch by using the new passcode.
- If the problem is still there, disable the passcode in the watch app and see if that lets you unlock the watch.
3. Reset the Apple Watch through the iPhone
Till now, we were trying to unlock the watch without wiping the data. However, if that isn’t working out, we need to reset the Watch & all the containing data. Before that, ensure that you have your required data in the iCloud or iPhone.
- Place the Apple Watch close to the iPhone and on the Watch app, navigate to My Watch > General > Reset.
- Tap on Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings.
- Confirm to reset the Apple Watch and wait till the process completes.
- Once done, set up the Apple Watch and verify if the problem is solved.
4. Hard Reset the Apple Watch
If your paired iPhone is not available, you can hard reset the Apple Watch through its buttons.
Use the Digital Crown Button
- Put the Apple Watch on the charging.
- While keeping the watch on charging, press/hold the side button.
- Wait until a power button is shown on the watch’s screen, and then release the side button.
- Press and hold the Digital Crown button.
- Release the button when you see Erase All Content and Settings and open it.
- Tap on Reset and then confirm to reset the watch.
- Wait till the process completes and once done, set it up and see if it is working correctly.
Use the Power Button
- Put the Apple Watch on the charging and while keeping it on charging, press/hold the side button.
- Wait till the Power Off slider is shown and then release the button.
- Firmly press (less than 5 seconds) the Power Off slider (do not slide, press it a bit more firmly than your normal finger tap) and then release it.
- If Erase All Content and Settings screen is shown, open it and reset the watch.
- Once done, set it up and confirm if it is unlocked correctly.
Hard Reset After a Force Restart
- Press/hold the side button and Digital Crown button.
- Wait (around 10 seconds) till you see the Apple logo on the screen and then release the buttons.
- Slowly count to 4 and press/hold only the side button until Erase All Content and Settings screen is shown. It may take around 20 seconds.
- Tap on the Reset option and confirm to initiate the reset process.
- Once done, set up the watch as a new or restore from a backup.
- If the above does not work, place the watch on charging, and still connected to the charger, press/hold the following buttons simultaneously:
Side Digital Crown
- Release the buttons when the watch’s screen turns black and press/hold the side button when the screen shows the Apple logo.
- Wait till the Erase All Content and Settings screen is shown and then release the button.
- Open it and reset the watch.
- Proceed with the setup and observe if this resolves the issue.
Force Touch the Too Many Passcode Attempts Message
- Press/hold the Digital Crown and side button of the Apple Watch.
- Release the buttons when the Apple logo is shown and when the Too Many Passcode Attempts message is shown, force press it.
- Wait till it shows the Erase All Content and Settings screen.
- Then release the touch and open it.
- Reset the watch and wait till the process completes.
- Once the reset process completes, set up the watch and that will solve the problem.
Discharge the Apple Watch
- Let the Apple Watch discharge (it may take a night or a day) and once it asks to connect to a charger, let it die.
- Connect the watch to the charger and as soon as it boots force-press the screen.
- Wait till the Erase All Content and Settings screen is shown and open it.
- Reset the watch and after the completion of the reset process, set up the watch.
5. Use the iCloud Website
If the above does not work, you can reset your watch through the iCloud website, provided it is still connected to the Internet.
- Launch a web browser on a system and go to the iCloud website.
- Log in using your Apple ID and select Find iPhone.
- Open All Devices and select the problematic Apple Watch.
- Click Erase Apple Watch and follow the prompts to complete the process.
- After erasing the watch through iCloud, check if it is ready to set up. If so, set it up and that will get the job done.
6. Reset Through iTunes
The Apple Watch does not have a visible port but there is a hidden port on your Apple Watch that can be used to connect the watch with iTunes or Mac’s Finder.
- Arrange an iBus adapter and use it to connect the Apple Watch to the Mac or iTunes.
- Launch iTunes or Finder and make sure it is updated.
- Open the Apple Watch in iTunes and click on Restore.
- Confirm to restore the watch and once done, eject it from iTunes.
- Disconnect the watch from the system and hopefully, that will do the trick.
6. Preventative Measures to Avoid the Problem in the Future
To stop the recurrence of this issue in the future:
- To avoid accidental touches on the watch, power it off when putting it in your pocket.
- Disable Wake on Wrist movements.
- Use a bedtime focus mode or sleep mode to disable the screen during sleep.
- Use a compatible charger. Static current from an incompatible charger can cause ghost touches leading to too many passcode attempts.
- Keep the watch away from children and pets.
If you fail to unlock or reset the watch after trying all the above methods, contacting Apple Support will be a wise option. If an Apple Store is in your range, you can visit the store and get the issue sorted.