Apple Watch Band Stuck? How to Remove a Stuck Apple Watch Band

What to Know

  • If your Apple Watch band won't come off, there may be grime in the strap's locking mechanism.
  • Apple says you can "hold your Apple Watch under lightly running, warm, fresh water" or use "a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes" to clean the watch.

What do you do if you want to remove an Apple Watch band, but the Apple Watch band won't come off? Don't worry; we'll show you how to take off an Apple Watch band without damaging your Apple Watch.

How to Remove a Stuck Strap on an Apple Watch

We've already gone over how to change your Apple Watch band; it's a simple process. But, what happens if you try to hold down the band release button and slide the band across to remove the strap as usual, but the Apple Watch band won't come off? At this point you're probably wondering, "Why won't my Apple Watch wrist band come off?" Most likely because the strap's locking mechanism is contaminated with grit and grime. So, are you still wondering, "How do I get my Apple Watch band unstuck?" By cleaning it, of course!

According to Apple, you can clean your Apple Watch with "a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes." Apple instructs users to, "gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your Apple Watch and your Solo Loop, Sport Band, Nike Sport Band, Ocean Band, or metal band. Don't use on fabric or leather bands. Don't use products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don’t submerge your Apple Watch in any cleaning agents."

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For visible debris, Apple recommends, "If your Apple Watch has substances or debris visible in places such as the speaker ports, you can hold your Apple Watch under lightly running, warm, fresh water until it's clean. Soaps and other cleaning products shouldn’t be used."

Note: Do not use any other lubricants, cleaning products, compressed air, or abrasives. 

Now, you can remove the Apple Watch band that's stuck. Here's how to get an Apple Watch band off; any style of band!

  1. Remove your Apple Watch from the charger and turn it off. 
  2. Use a Q-Tip to press back and forth along the band release button several times to try and get it to release. Hold the release button down to see if the band can slide out now.
    push apple watch band release button to remove strap on apple watch
    Image Courtesy of Apple
  3. If this doesn't work, use a Q-Tip dipped in 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, then squeeze to remove the excess liquid. Gently swab on and around the edge of the band and the band release button. If you have a fabric or leather band, avoid touching the wet Q-Tip to the strap, as you may damage it. 
  4. Let your Apple Watch sit for a few minutes, then press the band release button with a dry Q-Tip again to try and release the strap.
  5. You may need to try this a few times before successfully removing the Apple Watch band.
  6. If the alcohol and Q-Tip solution doesn't work, "hold your Apple Watch under lightly running, warm, fresh water until it's clean" as Apple recommends.
  7. After you take off the strap, let all the components dry, then clean the metal end of the band and the slot on your Apple Watch to remove any remaining debris.
    push apple watch band release button to remove strap on apple watch then slide band off
    Image Courtesy of Apple
  8. Allow all components to completely dry before putting another Apple Watch band on.

Have these steps helped with removing your Apple Watch band? If your Apple Watch band is stuck still, it's time to contact Apple Support, in case there's a hardware issue that needs to be repaired. Be sure to check out our free Tip of the Day for more great Apple Watch tutorials, like how to control your Apple Watch with your iPhone.


  • Which of the Apple Watch band sizes is right for me? To find the correct Apple Watch band size, you need to know the size of your Apple Watch, the model, and your wrist circumference.
  • How do you clean a silicone Apple Watch band, a stainless steel Apple Watch band, a leather Apple Watch band, or any other type of band? You should use a nonabrasive, lint-free cloth, only slightly dampened if necessary. The sport band and solo loop can be cleaned with mild, hypoallergenic hand soap. We have a great walkthrough that shows you how to clean a dirty Apple Watch band; it includes every type!
  • What kind of Apple Watch band is the best? We have a roundup of the best Apple Watch bands of 2024 that includes a variety of Apple Watch sport bands, leather bands, and even Apple Watch bands from Etsy.
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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.