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If Your Apple Watch Is Randomly Vibrating in a Pulsing Rhythm, This Might Be the Fix

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Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

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It’s frustrating when your Apple Watch randomly vibrates in a pulsing rhythm, similar to a heartbeat, for no reason.

Sometimes, it happens frequently, and other times, it does not happen at all. Fortunately, there are ways to stop the random vibration.

In this story, we’ll go through all the possible reasons why your Apple Watch vibrates randomly and how to fix the problem. Let’s get into it.

1. Haptic Alerts Settings

Apple introduced Prominent Haptics after hearing many complaints about feeling Phantom Vibration. Prominent Haptics gives a pre-alert before the actual notification comes.

If these unwanted vibrations make you feel nervous or uncomfortable, you can reset the Haptic settings on your Apple Watch.

You can do this both by your Apple Watch or the Watch app on your iPhone. To do this, follow the steps below:

On Apple Watch:

  1. Open Settings.
Apple Watch Settings
Apple Watch Settings. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Roll down the crown and tap on Sounds & Haptics.
Apple Watch sounds-&-haptics
Go to Apple Watch Sound & Haptics. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Turn Haptic Alerts off.
Turn off Haptic Alerts in Apple Watch
Disable Haptic Alerts Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Turn Haptic Alerts on again. 
Turn on Haptic Alerts in Apple Watch
Enable Haptic Alerts. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

For iPhone:

  1. Go to the Watch app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Sounds & Haptics.
iPhone Apple Watch Settings sounds & haptics
Go to Sound & Haptics. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Turn Haptic Alerts on or off.

You can choose the Prominent option to add extra emphasis to Haptic Alerts. 

2. iPhone Connection Loss

Another reason the Apple Watch vibrates randomly is the connection loss with the iPhone, which can cause various problems.

Notifications stop working, apps not updating, etc. To check your Apple Watch connection with your iPhone, check your watch face. If you see a red exclamation mark next to the time, it shows the connection is lost. 

With recent watchOS updates, your Apple Watch will receive a haptic alert when you walk away from your phone. If you don’t like this, you can turn it off. 

  1. Open the Find My app on your Apple Watch. 
  2. Scroll down to find the Notify When Left Behind
  3. Tap the switch to turn it off. 

3. Software Glitches

Sometimes, software glitches cause your Apple Watch to vibrate randomly. If you’ve recently installed or updated an app, this could be the reason.

Many software glitches can cause random vibrations on your Apple Watch. Sometimes, the watchOS is outdated, and you must check for updates.

You can also reset your Apple Watch to see if the problem is solved or not. To restart your Apple Watch:

  1. Press and hold the side button (under the crown) until you see the power menu. 
  2. Slide the Power Off option.
  3. Wait at least 10-15 seconds, and press and hold the button again to turn on your Apple Watch. 

4. Disable Chimes

Some people want to know the time, but without having to constantly look at their Apple Watch.

Chimes are short, lovely sounds that can be activated on Apple Watch’s settings and will notify you of various events, such as incoming text messages, Instagram notifications, time, etc.

Sometimes, active chimes may cause random vibrations on the Apple Watch. To check this:

  1. Go to the Watch app (on your iPhone).
  2. Open Accessibility.
iPhone-Apple-Watch-Settings Accessibility
Go to Accessibility. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. Look for Chimes
Chimes
Tap on Chimes. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor
  1. If it’s on, tap on the switch to turn it off.

5. Watch Band Movement

One of the most beautiful things about the Apple Watch is its design versatility and wide range of watch bands with lovely colors and designs.

You can easily detach and replace the bands to fit your daily styles. Some of these bands can sometimes give you feelings like vibration.

The leather loop band has received the most complaints. Change your Apple Watch band and check if the problem is solved.

6. Reset Apple Watch

If your Apple Watch continues to vibrate randomly, you may need to reset it. Resetting your Apple Watch will erase all settings and data and return it to its original settings.

This can fix the bug causing your Apple Watch to vibrate randomly. Here’s how to reset your Apple Watch step by step. When you unpair your Apple Watch, your latest data will be saved to your paired iPhone.

So you don’t need to worry about losing your data. You can find more details in our “how to back up Apple Watch” guide.

Restore your Apple Watch from a backup and test to see if your watch still vibrates randomly.

7. Phantom Vibration Syndrome

Maybe you think your Apple Watch is vibrating and it’s not. You might be dealing with Phantom vibration syndrome.

stop Apple Watch random vibration
Apple Watch lying on a table. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Phantom vibration syndrome is the condition in which you anticipate your phone vibrating and believe it is doing so even when it isn’t.

Because you want to react as quickly as possible, you become accustomed to the vibration and begin to anticipate feeling it.

One way you can reduce phantom vibration syndrome is to turn off the vibration. That way, you know for sure your Apple Watch is not vibrating.

8. Contact Apple Support

If none of the above reasons and solutions helped you stop the random vibrations on your Apple Watch, you might need to contact Apple Tech Support for further assistance. 

Wrap Up

Connection loss is the most common reason your Apple Watch vibrates randomly. In this case, you won’t be able to receive notifications or calls.

You can check the connection, update your watchOS, replace your watch band, and change the haptic alert settings to solve this issue.

On the other hand, you may have Phantom Vibration Syndrome. Your Apple Watch may not be vibrating and is all in your head.

Let me know if this helped stop your Apple Watch’s random vibration. If you found success doing something else, leave me a comment down below!

Writer, Apple

Over the last decade, Farhad has gained hands-on experience with smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, etc. If he's not writing, you can bet he's trying to keep up with the latest technology. He oversees coverage of iPhone, iOS, and Apple Watch for Gotechtor.

Farhad Pashaei

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