Bugs in consumer electronics, especially in smart devices, have almost become a fact of life but most of those can thankfully be fixed by a software update. Unfortunately, there are times when the bugs also hit some hardware component that then requires some fix or replacement. That seems to be the case with the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch SE that suddenly refused to charge when they enter Power Reserve mode. Fortunately, Apple is offering to repair those smartwatches for free if they exhibit these symptoms.
Power Reserve is sort of like the Apple Watch’s low power mode where it preserves battery life while still showing you the time. It does that by cutting off the communication between Apple Watch and its paired iPhone and limiting access to other features. Unfortunately, that otherwise useful feature has apparently caused some owners some headaches that Apple is now trying to mitigate.
The company has acknowledged that a small number of owners of these watches have reported being unable to charge their Apple Watches after entering this mode. The support document offers no explanation for this undesirable behavior but one thing is clear, the devices have to be repaired by an authorized technician.
This does mean that owners will have to mail in their Apple Watch 5 or Watch SE for repairs but Apple is thankfully shouldering the costs. That said, the company warns that devices will have to be checked first to make sure they are indeed eligible for those repairs.
Apple Watches that exhibit this problem are noted to be running watchOS versions 7.2 or 7.3. Apple just released a maintenance update to address that bug and the company strongly recommends updating to watchOS 7.3.1 before they get hit by the bug.