Apple has acknowledged an extremely serious fault afflicting some units of the Apple Watch Series 6, which can cause their screens to go blank permanently. The company has agreed to service affected devices for free.
A similar fault, known colloquially as the Black Screen of Death, has been seen from time to time with a variety of Apple Watch models, including the Series 2, Series 3, and Series 5. But complaints became more frequent with the Series 6 in the second half of last year, and Apple has now admitted there is a problem, while doing its best to emphasize the “very small percentage” of devices that are affected.
Affected Apple Watches often appear functional in other respects, making the usual sounds when the user taps the screen or clicks the dial, and maybe even helping a paired iPhone to unlock, but refuse to show anything other than a black screen. Nothing seems to resolve the problem, including full resets. But Apple is here to help.
How to get your Apple Watch repaired for free
The repair program applies only to Series 6 units in the 40mm size manufactured between April and September 2021. Apple advises owners to enter their watch’s serial number into a widget on the company’s support pages, which will tell them if they are entitled to a free service. Eligible users can contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider for the repair, or go directly to Apple, either in-store or using a mail-in repair.
Apple hasn’t announced an end date for the program but warns that affected watches are eligible for the free repair for a maximum of two years after purchase.
One final note: although Apple has recognized the fault and announced service eligibility for a relatively small subset of its watch models, that doesn’t affect your statutory legal rights if a similar problem affects a different Apple Watch model. If you see the Black Screen of Death on an earlier or later version of the device and the usual solutions don’t work, it’s still worth taking the watch to a Genius Bar to see what they can do.