Apple Watch ‘ghost’ glitch sees taps and swipes being registered even when the display isn’t touched – here’s what to do if your device is affected

  • Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 users are affected by a ‘ghost glitch’ 
  • Apple has no official fix but suggests forcing a restart may resolve the issue 

Halloween has come early for many Apple Watch users who have been left battling with a ‘ghost touch’ glitch.

The issue causes the watch’s screen to act like it is being tapped or swiped even when nobody is touching it.

According to an internal memo sent to Apple Authorized Providers, this can cause the watch to make calls and even prevent the user from entering their passcode.

Apple says it is aware of and investigating the issue but has not provided any more details on what might be causing it.

If you are affected, there’s no need to call an exorcist, as a simple forced reset appears to fix the issue.  

Apple Watch users are being haunted by 'ghost touches' as a glitch causes the screen of the smartwatch to register taps and swipes when no one is using it (stock image)

Apple Watch users are being haunted by ‘ghost touches’ as a glitch causes the screen of the smartwatch to register taps and swipes when no one is using it (stock image) 

The internal memo, seen by MacRumors, states: ‘Some customers may report their Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 is experiencing false touches on their display.’

The memo further noted that customers may describe this issue as ‘ghost’ touches. 

The glitch causes the screen to register taps and swipes without any input, leading the screen to ‘jump erratically’.

Since the watch is constantly registering inputs, the actual user is unable to control the screen and may not even be able to unlock their device. 

Apple did not provide any additional information on how many users had been affected by the glitch.

However, it is quite unusual for Apple to announce that it is looking into an issue which suggests that this might be fairly widespread. 

The glitch affects the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 (pictured) and can cause the watch to make phone calls and prevent users from entering their passcode

The glitch affects the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 (pictured) and can cause the watch to make phone calls and prevent users from entering their passcode 

On social media, several commenters reported that they had experienced this glitch. 

‘My series 9 went nuts last night, had to restart to type in my passcode’, wrote one commenter on X, formerly Twitter.

Another wrote: ‘My Ultra 2 watch has crazy “ghost touches” a few times, forcing me to perform a hard restart.’

While another added that they had been affected by the glitch a few times but assumed it was caused by the ‘double tap gesture kicking in by accident’. 

On X, formerly Twitter, several Apple Watch users reported experiencing the ghost touch glitch, requiring a forced restart to resolve

On X, formerly Twitter, several Apple Watch users reported experiencing the ghost touch glitch, requiring a forced restart to resolve 

Both the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 were released in September 2023 and run on watchOS.  

The issue could either be caused by a hardware or software fault but Apple has not provided any further information on the cause.

The memo sent to Apple providers advises technicians not to repair models affected by the glitch while it investigates the origin.

However, the memo also asks technicians to tell customers to force restart their Apple Watch if they are experiencing ghost touches.

To do this, hold down the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time for at least ten seconds. 

Once the Apple logo appears on the screen you can release the digital crown and the device will restart.

It is important to note that this is not Apple’s official fix but several commenters on the original MacRumors post say that this worked for them. 

Apple also suggests that ensuring the device is kept up to date with the latest version of watchOS might also help with the problem.

MailOnline has contacted Apple for additional information.