Strange Apple Watch display tint after installing watchOS 9.5? You’re not alone

Some Apple Watch owners noticed a strange gray/green display tint after installing watchOS 9.5, but it’s most likely a software bug that should be fixed soon.

Are you seeing this, too? | Image: whosyourdaddy_69/Reddit
  • Some Apple Watch owners are experiencing a strange discoloration in the Control and Notification Center after installing watchOS 9.5.
  • Instead of a pure black background, like before, affected people report seeing a washed-out, green or gray-tinted background.
  • This sounds like a software bug that Apple should patch with a future watchOS update. There’s nothing to do to alleviate the issue until a fix arrives.

Washed-out display tint on Apple Watch?

After installing watchOS 9.5, some people have noticed that there’s a gray or green tint in the background of the Control and Notification Center. It’s also visible on the passcode screen, in Theater Mode and in other parts of the system.

An unknown percentage of watch owners is hit by this problem, and some reported their findings on Reddit, Apple Discussions and MacRumors Forums.

“I see the grey you’re seeing when I start to pull up, but as I keep pulling up, it darkens,” a poster said. “When Control Center is full screen, background is black.”

One Reddit poster speculated that this could actually be a functional change brought out by the watchOS 9.5 update, released on May 18. “Maybe they updated it to look like you’re looking through frosted glass whenever you pull down or swipe up, since your face remains blurred in the background,” they speculated.

Others don’t think that’s the case because the watchOS 9.5 release notes don’t mention this though Apple never acknowledges minor UI tweaks in changelogs.

A likely software bug

If Apple didn’t intend to create this frosted glass look, this is almost certainly a software bug that will be fixed in future watchOS releases, maybe watchOS 9.5.1.

iPhone 11 owners were plagued with a similar green tint bug that was fixed with an iOS update. A similar green-tint issue affected some iPhone 12 owners, too. It’s not like green-tinted displays are a new problem for Apple.

Most complaints are from people using the Apple Watch Series 8 or earlier, with reports from Apple Watch Ultra and iPhone SE owners much rarer. People also reported many variations of the actual tint, varying from one watch to another.

Stay tuned to iDB—we’ll update you when new information becomes available.