What to Know

  • Easiest: Wear and power on watch > hold close to iPhone > tap Continue on iPhone > aim camera at the watch's set up animation.
  • Manually: Wear and power on watch > hold it close to iPhone > tap Continue on iPhone > Pair Manually.
  • Tap the i icon on the Apple Watch > on the iPhone, tap the name of the Watch and enter the 6-digit code displayed on Watch.

If you've got a new Apple Watch you need to connect to an iPhone, there are a few steps you must complete before you can use it. This article explains how to pair a new Apple Watch to an existing iPhone automatically and manually and what to do when pairing won't work.

Did you get a new iPhone? Here’s how to pair an Apple Watch to a new iPhone.

How Do I Connect My iPhone to My Watch? 

If you have an existing iPhone and need to connect a new Apple Watch, follow these steps for the quickest set up:

These instructions apply to an Apple Watch running watchOS 8 or higher and iPhone running iOS 15 or higher. For earlier versions of either device, the basic concepts apply, but some specific actions or onscreen buttons may be different.

  1. Put the Apple Watch on your wrist. Turn it on by holding down the side button, not the crown.

  2. Hold the watch close to the iPhone.

  3. When the setup prompt appears on the iPhone, tap Continue.

    Continue on iPhone with pairing prompt next to an Apple Watch

    If this doesn't appear, open the Watch app on the iPhone, tap All Watches, and tap Pair New Watch.

  4. An animation appears on the Apple Watch. Using the iPhone camera, align the animation in the frame on the iPhone screen. This pairs the watch to the iPhone.

    Apple Watch pairing window on an iPhone

  5. With pairing complete, choose your settings and configurations for the watch, and sync apps and content to it.

    Now that your Apple Watch and iPhone are paired, here’s some help on setting up your Apple Watch.

How Do I Manually Pair My Apple Watch?

In some cases, you can't pair the new Apple Watch to your iPhone automatically and will need to do it manually. In that case, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the first 4 steps from the last section. Instead of aligning the animation on the watch in the frame on the iPhone, tap Pair Apple Watch Manually.

    Pair Manually on iPhone next to Apple Watch

  2. Tap the i on the watch.

  3. On the iPhone, tap the name of the watch displayed on the watch.

  4. On the iPhone, enter the 6-digit code displayed on the watch.

  5. The Apple Watch and iPhone are now paired and you can complete the setup.

    Apple Watch, passcode, and Set up as New Apple Watch in iPhone Apple Watch app

Why Is My Apple Watch Not Pairing With My iPhone?

If neither option is working and you can't pair Apple Watch with iPhone, here are some potential causes and solutions:

  • Watch Is Already Paired to Another iPhone: Each Apple Watch can only be paired to one iPhone (though an iPhone can be paired to more than one Apple Watch). If pairing isn’t working, your watch might be connected elsewhere. To unpair the watch, you can either remove it from the iPhone it’s currently paired to (go to the Watch app > My Watch > All Watches > i > Unpair Apple Watch) or reset it directly on the watch (go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings > confirm), but you’ll need the Apple ID used to activate the watch originally.
  • Activation Lock is Active on the watch: If you bought the watch used from someone and can’t pair it, it might be protected by Apple’s anti-theft Activation Lock feature. If so, contact the person you got it from and ask them to remove Activation Lock.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Are Disabled on iPhone: The iPhone and Apple Watch communicate over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so if either is disabled, the process won’t work. Make sure they’re on by opening Control Center and checking that both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are lit up in blue. If they’re not, tap the icons.
  • Low Watch Battery: If your watch’s battery is very low, it may not be able to pair. Put it on the watch charger for an hour or so and try again.
  • iPhone Needs an OS Update: If your iPhone’s OS is out of date, it might have trouble pairing with a watch running a newer version of the OS. In that case, check for and install the iPhone operating system update and try pairing again.

FAQ

  • How do I unlock my iPhone with my Apple Watch?

    If you want to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch, first go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Unlock with Apple Watch on your iPhone. When you wear your Apple Watch near your iPhone, it will automatically unlock.

  • How do I unlock my Apple Watch with my iPhone?

    To unlock your Apple Watch with your iPhone, open the Watch app on your iPhone, select your Apple Watch, then tap Passcode > Unlock with iPhone. Alternatively, go to your Apple Watch settings and tap Passcode > Unlock with iPhone.

  • How do I resync my Apple Watch to my iPhone?

    To resync your Apple Watch with your iPhone, go to Watch > General > Reset > Reset Sync Data. If that doesn't work, unpair your Apple Watch and re-pair it with your iPhone.

  • Can I use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?

    No. Although you can use your Apple Watch with an Android, you still need an unlocked iPhone 6 or later to connect them.

  • Can I find my iPhone with my Apple Watch?

    Yes. Bring up the quick settings on your Apple Watch and tap the icon that looks like an iPhone with two parentheses on each side. If your iPhone is within range, it will make a sound. You can also find your Apple Watch with your iPhone.

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