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How to pair your Apple Watch: Get your new smartwatch to play nice with the iPhone

VR Cover

The Apple Watch unlocks a world of possibility from your wrist, but the first step on your journey to wrist enlightenment is simply pairing it to an iPhone.

Thankfully, Apple has made the process of pairing an Apple Watch a very straightforward one - even if you're pairing it to a new iPhone. Even still, there's the odd hiccup that you may have to navigate through, and it never hurts to know how to unpair the Apple Watch.

That's why we're here to help - below, we'll be giving you all the essential details on getting set up with your new Apple Watch.

How to pair Apple Watch

How to pair Apple Watch: Get your new smartwatch to play nice with the iPhone

Pairing mode will be prompted automatically when an Apple Watch isn't assigned to an iPhone, but below are the steps you'll need to cover if you're looking to pair it with some help. Of course, you'll need to make sure your Apple Watch is trying to pair with an iPhone running the latest software, and that it's actually compatible.

For reference, the Apple Watch Series 3 (Cellular) or later will work with the iPhone 6 or later, and the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS only) or later will work with the iPhone 5s or later.

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Once you've turned your Apple Watch, made sure Bluetooth is enabled on the iPhone and the two are close together, you'll be prompted to hold your iPhone over the animation moving on the watch face (as shown above). From here, the setup process begins as follows:

  • Choose to set up as a new Apple Watch or restore from a backup.
  • Sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Choose your settings. Your Apple Watch will mirror the settings of your iPhone, such as Find my iPhone, Location Services, Wi-Fi Calling, Diagnostics and Siri.
  • Create or skip making a passcode.
  • Set up cellular (if available) and apps.
  • Wait for the the Apple Watch and iPhone to sync and complete pairing.

How to pair Apple Watch to a new iPhone

Maybe you lost your old iPhone, or maybe you've just upgraded - whatever the reason, it's fairly simple to pair Apple Watch to a new iPhone. To do so, you'll need to make sure, again, you have your Apple ID at the ready, that both devices are able to connect to the same Wi-Fi network, both are at least 50% charged and that you remember your Apple Watch passcode.

Now, it's also important to note that the steps do differ depending on if you still have access to your old device or not - more on that below. If you still have your old iPhone and you want to pair the Apple Watch to a new device, follow below:

  • Update your old iPhone and the Apple Watch to the latest software.
  • Back up your old iPhone and go to the My Watch tab in the iPhone's Watch app to unpair your selected device.
  • Begin setting up the new iPhone.
  • Open the Apple Watch app on your new iPhone and follow the pairing steps outlined above - you'll likely want to restore from backup if picking up on a new iPhone.
  • To make sure your Health data syncs across to the Apple Watch, it'll have to be turned on in Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Health.

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How to unpair Apple Watch

How to pair Apple Watch: Get your new smartwatch to play nice with the iPhone

If you're having trouble with the Apple Watch, sometimes it makes sense to unpair it and restart the process. As we just mentioned, this is also an essential step when pairing your Watch to a new iPhone.

Unfortunately, you can't simply unpair from the Watch itself - for that, you're going to need an iPhone present. However, what you can do from the Watch - and something you'll need to do anyway, if you want to unpair - is erase any data by heading to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Then, on the iPhone, go to the Watch app and open the My Watch tab. Tap the Watch at the top of the screen, tap the 'I' icon and then hit Unpair Apple Watch. Confirm your carrier settings and you'll be free to pair you device to any new iPhone.

More Apple Watch explainers

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