How to Turn Off Greyed Out Apple Watch Passcode

how to turn off greyed out Apple Watch Passcode

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One day my Apple Watch passcode suddenly started showing up and locking on me when I was not wearing it…

Passcode lock came on even while it was charging over night…

Then, even after I was wearing it I continued seeing a blue padlock at the top…

When I tried to access my apps by pushing the digital crown it still asked me for a passcode.

It was annoying to say the least.

First world problems, I know… But it had never done this before.

So I was curious as to why it would be happening because I didn’t remember ever turning passcode on in the first place.

“Turn Passcode Off” Greyed Out… But Why?

As I mentioned, I didn’t remember ever turning passcode on…

I checked to see if my passcode was on and it was, but I didn’t remember ever turning it on.

To make matters worse, when I tried to turn off passcode my Apple Watch wouldn’t let me.

 

You can access “Passcode” on your Apple Watch or you can access it in the “Watch” app on iPhone.

On my iPhone I went to the “Watch” app > Passcode > Turn Passcode Off.

But “Turn Passcode Off” was greyed out meaning I couldn’t change it.

Greyed out... but why

The Problem Isn’t “Wrist Detection”

I had read on some posts on the Apple website that the problem could be caused by having “Wrist Detection” turned on…

I had no idea if this was the case on my Apple Watch.

I scrolled to the bottom of this screen and noticed that I did in fact have “Wrist Detection” turned on.

Wrist Detection will lock your Apple Watch if you are not wearing it, forcing you to use your passcode to unlock it.

I wondered if this was the problem and turned “Wrist Detection” off.

Turn off wrist detection on Apple Watch step 1

To turn off “Wrist Detection” simply tap the green switch so that it’s greyed out like above.

Then you will see a notification warning message that says: “Some Activity measurements will be unavailable, heart rate tracking and notifications will be turned off, and your Apple Watch will no longer automatically lock.”

Then you need to confirm to by tapping “Turn Off” to turn off “Wrist Detection”.

By turning off “Wrist Detection” you can avoid having to use Passcode when you are wearing the watch.

But… “Wrist Detection” is needed for some other features on your Apple Watch. Specifically those mentioned above and in the screenshots below.

It turns out this is not the problem… So, you should probably leave “Wrist Detection” on if you want to get the full benefits of your Apple Watch.

Turn off "wrist detection" on Apple Watch step 2

The Problem Isn’t The Microsoft Outlook App, Either…

I read on Reddit that a Microsoft corporate account connected to iPhone on iOS could cause passcode requirements on Apple Watch.

Coincidentally, the passcode issue started happening right around the time that I started a new job.

I had installed the Microsoft Outlook app on my iPhone so that I could access my work email.

Apple Watch mirrors my notifications from my iPhone… So I thought this could be the problem.

To test this, I deleted my Outlook App from my iPhone.

No change, though.

The Outlook App did not affect the greyed out status of the passcode option on my Apple Watch.

The Problem Is iPhone Syncing To An Exchange Account

I also remembered that in addition to downloading the Outlook App, I had separately set up syncing my Microsoft Office 365 work calendar via Exchange with my iPhone and iCloud.

I wasn’t syncing Mail with my native iPhone app1, just my work Calendar from Microsoft Office 365 through Exchange.

greyed out Apple Watch won't let me turn off passcode

Success. This was the problem. 

As soon as I deleted my work calendar account associated with Exchange, the “Turn Off Passcode” option became available (it turned orange).

Then I reinstalled my calendar from work using Microsoft Exchange on my iPhone and the “Turn Off Passcode” was greyed out again.

I guess I’ll deal with the passcode as a minor annoyance.

At least I understand what was causing the problem… So I don’t mind the issue so much anymore.

Hope this helps!

Footnotes

  1. Because the native iPhone Mail app sucks.