Portraits Watch Face not working on Apple Watch? Here is the fix!

The Portraits watch face is one of the highlights of watchOS 8. Along with offering a new way to customize your watch face, it also enhances your photo viewing experience on Apple Watch. Every time you tap the screen or raise your wrist, one of your favorite portraits will appear onscreen. Plus, you can even zoom in or out to take a close look at your memories. While there's no doubt that the Portraits watch face is a notable addition to watchOS, it wouldn't work for many users. That's why we've come up with the top 7 ways to fix Watch Portraits face not working on Apple Watch. If this problem has also affected your smartwatch, try these viable solutions.

7 Fixes to Fix Watch Face Portraits Not Working Issue on Apple Watch

While some have reported Portraits mode photos not showing up when they raise their wrist or tap the screen, others have reported that turning the Digital Crown does nothing. Since the problem can be caused by several reasons including misconfiguration, poor compatibility and even some hidden bug, we will try various solutions to fix the Portraits watch face not working properly. But before we start with troubleshooting tips, let's first understand how the Portraits watch face works on Apple Watch.

How does Watch Face Portraits work on Apple Watch?

The Portraits watch face uses "Portrait" mode shots to create a multi-layered watch face with depth. The watch face intelligently recognizes images and crops them to highlight the subject, enhancing the experience of viewing photos on Apple Watch.

You can select up to 24 Portrait Mode photos and customize the Portraits watch face on your Apple Watch with three different styles such as Classic, Modern, and Rounded. A new image appears on the screen each time you raise your wrist or tap the screen of your smartwatch. Even better, you can also use the Digital Crown to zoom in/out on the face. Take a look at the GIF below!

1. Make sure your Apple Watch is compatible

First, make sure your Apple Watch is compatible with the Portraits watch face. Here is the list of Apple Watch models that support the Portraits watch face:

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple WatchSE
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
Keep in mind that the Portraits watch face requires "Portrait" mode images captured on an iPhone running iOS 10.1 or later.

2. Remap the Portraits watch face

Make sure you have set up the Portraits watch face perfectly. While that might sound pretty naive, many of us often forget to check the basics, especially when it comes to a new feature, and end up scratching our heads later. So be sure to reconfigure it.

  • Navigate to the Watch app on your iPhone -> Face Gallery tab at the bottom of the screen -> Portraits -> Choose Photos.
Set up the Portraits Watch face on Apple Watch
  • Now choose Portrait images from your photo library. After that, customize styles and complications. Then press Add .
Add a Portraits watch face

If your smartwatch is remote, the Portraits watch face will immediately appear on the screen. If that doesn't happen, disable/enable Bluetooth on your iPhone (Settings -> Bluetooth) and Apple Watch (Settings -> Bluetooth) and restart both devices.

3. Disable/enable wake-on-wrist and wake-up-crown

If a new portrait photo doesn't appear on your watch when you tap the screen or raise your wrist, try turning off/on Wake on Wrist Raise and Wake On Crown Up.

  • Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch -> Display & Brightness .
  • After that enable/disable the toggles for Wake on Wrist Raise and Wake On Crown Up . Then restart your smartwatch.
Wake on Wrist Raise and Raise On Crown Up

Once your portable device has restarted, tap the screen to check if a new portrait image appears. If so, you have fixed the Portraits watch face issues on your Apple Watch.

4. Make sure theater mode is off

When Theater Mode (or Cinema Mode) is on, your Apple Watch screen won't turn on when you raise your wrist. So, if your smartwatch screen doesn't wake up when you raise your wrist, make sure Theater Mode is turned off.

  • Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen and tap the Theater mode icon to turn it off.
turn off theater mode on apple watch

5. Reset your Apple Watch

If the Portraits watch face isn't working properly on your Apple Watch, perform a hard reset (also known as a force restart) on your smartwatch. Well known for fixing common watchOS issues, it's worth a try.

  • Press and hold the Digital Crown and Side button simultaneously until your Apple Watch screen goes black and the Apple logo appears onscreen.
Force Restart Apple Watch

6. Update your Apple Watch

If the problem persists, chances are your Apple Watch is plagued with a hidden watchOS bug. Given the bugs in watchOS 8 (and most modern versions of watchOS), you should never overlook this possibility.

Update watchOS directly from Apple Watch

  • Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch -> General -> Software Update . Now allow your Apple Watch to check for software update, then download and install the latest version of watchOS as usual.
Update Apple Watch

Update watchOS using your paired iPhone

  • Go to the Watch app on your iPhone -> My Watch tab -> General -> Software Update .
  • Now wait for some time to let the device check for updates. When it shows watchOS update available, download and install it.
Update watchOS using your paired iPhone

7. Last resort: Erase your Apple Watch and re-pair it with your iPhone

If none of the tricks worked to fix Portraits watch face, erase your Apple Watch and reconnect it with your iPhone. This radical solution has always been very reliable in fixing complex watchOS problems. Since watchOS is designed to automatically back up your important data at the time of erasing content and also allows you to restore the backup during setup, you shouldn't worry about losing data.

Erase Apple Watch right from your wrist

  • Go to Settings app -> General -> Reset . Now tap on Erase All Content and Settings and confirm.
Erase All Content and Settings on Apple Watch

Erase Apple Watch Using iPhone

  • Head to the Watch app on your iPhone -> General -> Reset. Next, tap Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings and confirm.
Erase Apple Watch Using iPhone

After successfully erasing your Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone, then follow the simple onscreen instructions to re-pair your smartwatch with the iPhone.

Fixed Portraits Watch Face issue not working on Apple Watch

That's it! Hope the Portraits watch face has started working normally on your watchOS device. Often, reconfiguring the watch face and hard resetting can help you fix the problem. And if these Apple Watch tips don't get the job done, updating the watch and re-pairing it with the iPhone can often come to your rescue. That said, which of these solutions fixed the Portraits watch face on your wearable device? Don't forget to give us your valuable feedback.