How to pair and unpair apple watch to new phone

Exchanging your iPhone for a new model is exciting, but ensuring your trusty Apple Watch seamlessly transitions to the new device requires a smooth pairing process.

This in-depth guide from digiwallet will walk you through everything you need to know about pairing and unpairing your Apple Watch with your new iPhone, ensuring a stress-free experience.

How to pair and unpair apple watch to new phone

Understanding Pairing and Unpairing

Pairing your Apple Watch with a new iPhone establishes a connection between the two devices, allowing you to leverage all the functionalities of your watch on the new phone. This includes receiving notifications, syncing health and fitness data, managing apps, and more.

Unpairing severs the connection between your Apple Watch and your current iPhone. This is necessary before pairing with a new phone or if you’re giving away or selling your watch. Unpairing also wipes your watch clean of personal data and settings.

How to pair your Apple Watch with a new iPhone

Ready to pair your new iPhone? Now I will teach you how to transfer your Apple Watch from your old iPhone to your new one.

Here’s what you need

  • Your Apple ID and password (so you can turn off Activation Lock)
  • Your old and new iPhone both need to be connected to Wi-Fi
  • Your Apple Watch and iPhone both need to be at least 50 percent charged
  • Your Apple Watch passcode

If you don’t have your old iPhone, you need to use different steps.

Prerequisites for Pairing and Unpairing

Before we delve into the steps, let’s ensure you have everything in place:

  • New iPhone: Make sure your new iPhone is powered on, unlocked, and connected to a strong Wi-Fi network.
  • Apple Watch: Your Apple Watch needs to be at least 50% charged and within Bluetooth and Wi-Fi range of your new iPhone.
  • Apple ID: You’ll need your Apple ID and password for both your old and new iPhones.
  • Backup (Optional): If you want to restore your watch’s settings and data to the new phone, consider creating a backup on your old iPhone using iCloud or your computer. (https://support.apple.com/en-us/108358)

Note: These steps are applicable for Apple Watch models paired with iPhone 5s or later, running iOS 12 or later.

Unpairing Your Apple Watch from Your Old iPhone (If Applicable)

If you’re trading in your old iPhone or giving away your watch, unpairing it from your current device is crucial. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Watch app on your old iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab.
  3. Select All Watches at the top of the screen.
  4. Tap the info icon (i) next to the watch you want to unpair.
  5. Choose Unpair Apple Watch.
  6. Confirm the unpairing by tapping Unpair again.
  7. Enter your Apple ID password to disable Activation Lock.
  8. Depending on your Apple Watch model (GPS + Cellular), you might be prompted to choose whether to keep or remove your cellular plan.

Important: If you don’t have your old iPhone or if you erased it before unpairing, you’ll need to erase your Apple Watch directly. Refer to the “Unpairing Without Old iPhone” section below.

Pairing Your Apple Watch with Your New iPhone

Now, let’s connect your Apple Watch to your new iPhone:

  1. Power on your Apple Watch and place it near your new iPhone.
  2. Unlock your new iPhone.
  3. On your iPhone, a pairing animation will appear on the screen. Center your Apple Watch within the animation frame.
  4. A pairing code will be displayed on your Apple Watch. Enter the code on your iPhone.
  5. You might be prompted to set up Face ID or Touch ID on your Apple Watch for additional security.
  6. Choose whether to restore your Apple Watch from a backup (if you created one) or set it up as a new Apple Watch.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the pairing process. This might include agreeing to terms and conditions, signing in to iCloud, and setting up Apple Pay.
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Congratulations! Your Apple Watch is now paired with your new iPhone.

Unpairing Without Old iPhone

If you can’t access your old iPhone to unpair your watch, you can erase it directly:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Select Reset.
  4. Choose Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Enter your Apple Watch passcode if prompted.
  6. Depending on your Apple Watch model (GPS + Cellular), you might be prompted to choose whether to keep or remove your cellular plan.
  7. Confirm by tapping Erase All.

Remember: This process resets your Apple Watch to factory settings. You won’t be able to restore data from a backup without a previous pairing with an iPhone.

If you have your old iPhone

Use these steps to back up your Apple Watch before pairing with your new iPhone.

Update your old iPhone

Before you switch your Apple Watch to a new iPhone, update your old iPhone to the newest version of iOS that’s available.* You should also update your Apple Watch. It could take from several minutes to an hour for the updates to complete. You might want to update overnight or wait until you have time, and make sure that both of your devices are charged.

* You might see that your iPhone is up to date on its current version, and there's an update available. For example, even if your iPhone is up to date on the latest version of iOS 14, there might be an option to update to iOS 15.

Check your Health and Activity settings

If you back up using iCloud, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud and make sure that Health is on.

If you back up using your computer, encrypt your backup to save your Health and Activity content.

Back up your old iPhone

Use these steps to back up your old iPhone in iCloud or on your computer. Your iPhone also backs up your Apple.

Set up your new iPhone

To Set up your new iPhone. When asked if you have an iCloud or iTunes backup, choose your most recent backup to restore your data from your old device to your new device. Make sure that your iPhone and Apple Watch are up to date; if they aren’t, you might not see your backup in the list.

If your iPhone asks if you want to use your Apple Watch, make sure that your watch is unlocked and on your wrist, then tap Continue. If it doesn’t ask, you can still set up your Apple Watch manually in the next step. 

Open the Apple Watch app on your new iPhone

Keep your Apple Watch unlocked and on your wrist with your iPhone nearby. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

If your iPhone asks you to confirm that you want to use your watch, follow the onscreen steps to finish setting up.

If your iPhone asks you to Start Pairing, unpair your Apple Watch so that you can set it up.

After setup, you can start using your Apple Watch with your new iPhone.

Getting more assistance?

Follow the steps below for your situation.

If you don’t have your old iPhone or you erased it

Your Apple Watch might still be paired with your old iPhone. Use the steps below to unpair:

  1. Erase your Apple Watch.
  2. Set up your new iPhone and sign in to iCloud. If you’ve already set up and signed in, skip this step.
  3. Open the Apple Watch app on your new iPhone, then pair your watch with your new iPhone.
  4. Try to restore from a backup. Make sure that your iPhone and Apple Watch are up to date; if they’re not, you might not see your backup in the list. You will lose Activity, Workouts, or settings on your watch that changed between the last backup and now. If you use iCloud in iOS 11 and later, Health and Activity data is stored in iCloud and automatically kept up to date on devices where you’re signed in with the same Apple ID.
    • If you’re asked to restore from a watch backup, select the most recent backup.
    • If you don’t have a backup, you need to set up your Apple Watch as new.
  5. Follow the onscreen steps to finish setting up.
  6. Start using your Apple Watch with your new iPhone. You might need to wait a few days for all your iCloud data to appear.

If you have your old iPhone and you didn’t erase it

Unpair your Apple Watch from your old iPhone. Then choose one of these options depending on when you set up your new iPhone:

  • If you just restored your new iPhone from a recent backup, pair your devices. Make sure that your iPhone and Apple Watch are up to date, otherwise you might not see your backup in the list. When you’re asked, restore from a watch backup. Your recent Activity, Workouts, or settings content might be lost depending on how old the backup is.
  • If your iPhone backup is several days or weeks old and you want to preserve as much content as possible, erase your new iPhone. Then transfer the content from your old iPhone to your new iPhone. You might lose some of the content on your new iPhone. Remember to pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again.
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If your Apple Watch is stuck while pairing

If your Apple Watch gets stuck at the black screen that shows the white Apple logo, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time until your watch restarts. Then release the Digital Crown and side button.
  2. After your watch restarts, firmly press the screen or press and hold the Digital Crown.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. After your watch resets, you can pair it with your iPhone. Bring your iPhone near your watch, then follow the on-screen instructions.

If your iPhone doesn’t ask if you want to use your Apple Watch during setup

Unpair your Apple Watch from your old iPhone, then pair it with your new iPhone. When asked, restore your Apple Watch from a backup. Make sure that your iPhone and Apple Watch are up to date; if they’re not, you might not see your backup in the list.

If you transferred your content to your new iPhone using your computer, but Health and Activity content is missing

If you use iCloud to keep Health up to date on your old iPhone, your data will automatically update on your new iPhone whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi and signed in to iCloud. On your old iPhone and your new one, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud and make sure that Health is on.

If you don’t use iCloud, you can try to restore from a computer backup of your old iPhone. If you have your old iPhone and didn’t erase it, make a new iCloud backup or encrypted computer backup. Then erase your new iPhone and restore it from the new backup. Remember to pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again. If you use a computer, make sure that you encrypt your backup.

If you don’t have your old iPhone or you can’t back it up, you can’t recover your Health and Activity content.

Unpair Apple Watch from the paired iPhone

If you have the paired iPhone, unpair your Apple Watch:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, then tap All Watches at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap the “i” button next to the watch that you want to unpair, then tap Unpair Apple Watch.
  3. Tap again to confirm, then wait for the watch to unpair.
  4. After Apple Watch unpairs, you can pair again.

Erase Apple Watch without the paired iPhone

If you can’t unpair Apple Watch because you don’t have its paired iPhone, you can erase the watch.

When you erase Apple Watch instead of unpairing it, the watch is still protected by Activation Lock. Before you can pair Apple Watch again, enter the Apple ID and password that was used to set it up.

  1. Open the Settings app on your watch, then tap General > Reset.
  2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings, then tap again to confirm.
  3. Wait for the watch to unpair.
  4. After Apple Watch unpairs completely, you can pair again. You’ll need the Apple ID and password that were used to set up the watch.

Reset Apple Watch without using a passcode

If you can’t unpair or erase your Apple Watch because you’ve forgotten its passcode, you can reset the watch.

When you reset Apple Watch instead of unpairing it, the watch is still protected by Activation Lock. Before you can pair Apple Watch again, you’ll have to enter the Apple ID and password that was used to set it up.

  1. Put Apple Watch on its charger.
  2. Press and hold the side button until you see the screen with the power button in the upper-right corner, then let go of the side button. If your Apple Watch has an earlier version of watchOS, you see the Power Off slider instead of the power button.
  3. Press and hold the Digital Crown until you see the red Reset button.
  4. Tap Reset, then tap Reset again to confirm.
  5. After Apple Watch unpairs completely, you can pair again. Remember that you’ll need the Apple ID and password that were used to set up the watch.

Reset Apple Watch if the pairing process stalls

If it seems like the pairing process has stalled — for example, the pairing animation remains on the screen for several minutes — resetting your Apple Watch might help:

  1. Press and hold the Digital Crown while your Apple Watch is in pairing mode.
  2. Tap Reset when it appears on your watch.
  3. After your watch resets, you can pair again.

Unpair and erase your Apple Watch

Unpairing your Apple Watch restores it to its factory settings.

Before you start

  • If you have the iPhone that your Apple Watch is paired with, you should follow the steps to unpair your Apple Watch. This removes Activation Lock from your Apple Watch as well as erasing all its content and settings. If you don’t have the paired iPhone, you can erase your Apple Watch, but Activation Lock will remain.
  • If you’re using your Apple Watch with a transit card in the Wallet app, remove your transit card from your Apple Watch before you unpair.
  • Apple Watch doesn’t have a physical SIM slot or reset button — the holes in your Apple Watch case are there to allow sound to and from the microphone and speakers, and to allow water-depth measurement on Apple Watch Ultra. To avoid damage, don’t insert any object into the holes in your Apple Watch case.
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How to unpair and erase your Apple Watch if you have your iPhone

  1. Keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together as you unpair them.
  2. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  3. Go to the My Watch tab and tap All Watches.
  4. Tap the info button next to the watch that you want to unpair.ios-17-iphone-14-pro-watch-all-watches
  5. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.ios-17-iphone-14-pro-watch-all-watches-info-unpair-watch-ontap
  6. Tap Unpair [your Apple Watch name].
  7. For GPS + Cellular models, choose whether to keep or remove your cellular plan.
    • If you want to pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again, keep your plan.
    • If you don’t want to pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again, remove your plan. If you aren’t going to pair with a different watch or iPhone, you might need to contact your carrier to cancel your cellular subscription.
  8. Type your Apple ID password to disable Activation Lock, then tap Unpair.

Before erasing all content and settings on your Apple Watch, your iPhone creates a new backup of your Apple Watch. You can use the backup to restore a new Apple Watch. After your Apple Watch unpairs, you’ll see the Start Pairing message.

Now you can set up your Apple Watch again or turn it off if you’re selling it or giving it away.

How to erase your Apple Watch if you don’t have your iPhone

  1. On your Apple Watch, tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.watchos-10-series-8-settings-general-reset
  2. Type your password if prompted.
  3. For GPS + Cellular models, choose to keep or remove your cellular plan.
    • If you want to pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again, keep your plan.
    • If you don’t want to pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again, remove your plan. If you aren’t going to pair with a different watch or iPhone, you might need to contact your carrier to cancel your cellular subscription.
  4. Tap Erase All to confirm. This resets your Apple Watch to the factory settings.

Now you can set up your Apple Watch again. You’ll need the Apple ID and password associated with the watch turn off Activation Lock.

Troubleshooting Common Pairing Issues

Sometimes, pairing might not go as smoothly as planned. Here are some solutions for common problems:

  • Ensure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on both your iPhone and Apple Watch
  • Restart both devices: A simple restart can often resolve temporary glitches. Power off your iPhone and Apple Watch, then turn them back on and retry pairing.
  • Check for software updates: Outdated software on your iPhone or Apple Watch can cause pairing issues. Update both devices to the latest iOS and watchOS versions:
    • On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update.
    • On your Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone, tap General > Software Update.
  • Verify Apple ID: Ensure you’re using the same Apple ID on both your iPhone and Apple Watch.
  • Reset Network Settings (iPhone): If Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity seems to be the culprit, try resetting your iPhone’s network settings. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Note: This will erase your Wi-Fi passwords and other network settings.
  • Erase Apple Watch as Last Resort: If none of the above solutions work, erasing your Apple Watch as a last resort might be necessary. Refer to the “Unpairing Without Old iPhone” section mentioned earlier.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Pairing Experience

  • Keep your devices close together throughout the pairing process.
  • Maintain a strong Wi-Fi connection on your iPhone for a faster pairing experience.
  • If you’re using a cellular Apple Watch, ensure you have an active cellular plan associated with your Apple ID.
  • For added security, consider setting up a passcode on your Apple Watch after pairing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can I pair my Apple Watch with an Android phone? No, Apple Watches are designed to work exclusively with iPhones.
  • Do I need to erase my Apple Watch before pairing it with a new iPhone? Only if you cannot access your old iPhone to unpair it first. Otherwise, unpairing from the old phone is recommended.
  • What happens to my data after unpairing my Apple Watch? Unpairing wipes your watch clean of all personal data and settings.
  • Can I restore an Apple Watch backup without pairing it with an iPhone first? No, restoring from a backup requires a paired iPhone.
  • I’m getting an “Activation Lock” message during pairing. What should I do? This message appears if your Apple Watch is still linked to your old iPhone through Activation Lock. You’ll need to enter your Apple ID password associated with the watch to proceed. If you don’t have access to the old iPhone, contact Apple Support for assistance.

We hope this comprehensive guide empowers you to seamlessly pair and unpair your Apple Watch with your new iPhone. If you have any further questions or encounter issues during the process, feel free to visit Apple’s official support website (https://support.apple.com/) or reach out to digiwallet for further assistance.

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