While my wife attended an event last night, my kids decided that the rest of us should go out to eat TexMex. The three of us had a fun evening, but at one point when my daughter was dipping a chip in salsa, she managed to spill a little salsa on my Apple Watch. It wasn't much, and I just wiped it off with my napkin and didn't think much about it at the time. But last night as I was using the watch on a treadmill, I noticed that the Digital Crown (the tiny dial that you can turn on the side of the watch) wasn't spinning correctly; it felt like it was getting stuck. And after I finished exercising, when I was trying to scroll through an email on the watch, the crown wouldn't scroll the message at all. (I could still scroll by flicking my finger up and down the screen, but not with the Digital Crown.) It occurred to me that the salsa must have somehow gotten stuck around the Digital Crown, although I couldn't see it.
That led me to a page on Apple's website, which explains that if the Digital Crown isn't turning smoothly or your Apple Watch isn't responding to a button press, you should run warm water from a faucet over it. I have to be honest, the idea of fixing expensive technology by sticking it under a faucet seemed pretty crazy to me, but Apple's webpage clearly said that this is what to do.
The steps listed are:
- Turn off your Apple Watch and remove it from the charger.
- If you have a leather band, remove it from your Apple Watch.
- Hold the Digital Crown under lightly running, warm, fresh water from a faucet for 10 to 15 seconds. Soaps and other cleaning products shouldn't be used.
- Continuously turn and press the Digital Crown as water runs over the small gap between the crown and the housing.
- Dry your Apple Watch with a non-abrasive, lint-free cleaning cloth.
I followed these steps, finishing up by drying my Apple Watch with an official iPhone J.D. logo MOBiLE CLOTH, left over from the ones I had been handing out at ABA TECHSHOW last month. (I presume that these steps will work for you even if you didn't see me at TECHSHOW and you use another cloth.) Finally, after a short prayer that I had not just ruined my Apple Watch, I turned it back on.
Sure enough, the Digital Crown was once again working great. Really great. It actually now spins better than it has since the first day I started using the Apple Watch. This reminded me, I always wondered whether a tiny amount of sunscreen got caught in the Digital Crown when I used it at Jazz Fest just two days after my Apple Watch first arrived. Maybe that is what happened; that page on the Apple website talks about "substances like dust or lotion" getting caught around the Digital Crown.
Please DO NOT start sticking your iPhone or iPad under the faucet the next time that you encounter a problem. I really cannot emphasize enough that the sink is not a remedy for an iPhone app that crashes. But if you think that something might have gotten stuck in or around the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch, give it a quick warm shower as Apple suggests, and you should be up and running again.