apple watch series 5 meridian face

The Apple Watch is a very capable wearable device, but first, you have to pair it with your iPhone. Thankfully, that’s a smooth procedure. We’ll walk you through pairing the smartwatch, whether it’s your very first or a second you wear for specific occasions. We’ll also help you pair with a new iPhone without losing the information on your existing Apple Watch.

How to pair your Apple Watch

If your watch is brand new or has just been reset, you’ll want to start here. Before you start the pairing process, you’ll want to put the Apple Watch on your wrist. If your iPhone is also new, make sure you’ve set it up first. You’ll also want to remove the cellular plan from your old Apple Watch if you’re upgrading (both in the Watch app on your iPhone and through the carrier). After that, you only need to walk through a few steps.

  1. Turn your Apple Watch on (press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo).
  2. Bring the Apple Watch close to your iPhone and wait for a pairing screen (a cloud of dots) to appear on the phone.
  3. If this doesn’t happen or you prefer to start the process yourself, launch the Watch app on your iPhone and tap Pair New Watch.
  4. When asked, move the Apple Watch in front of the iPhone, so it appears in the highlighted area in the phone’s viewfinder. This should pair the two devices.
  5. If the viewfinder method doesn’t work, tap Pair Apple Watch Manually on the iPhone screen to find your watch in a list.
  6. Once paired, tap Set Up Apple Watch and follow the instructions on both your watch and iPhone to finish.

How to pair and switch to an additional Apple Watch

You might need to pair more than one Apple Watch to an iPhone, such as one you use only for the gym or sleep tracking. This only requires a few steps, and you can switch between watches whenever you like.

  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. In the My Watch tab, tap your currently paired Apple Watch.
  3. Tap Pair New Watch and repeat the pairing process in the previous instructions.

By default, your iPhone will automatically detect the Apple Watch you’re wearing. If it doesn’t, or you’d rather switch yourself, follow the steps below.

  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. In the My Watch tab, tap your current Apple Watch.
  3. Turn off Auto Switch.
  4. Tap the watch you prefer to use. A checkmark will appear next to the active watch.

How to pair your Apple Watch with a new iPhone

apple iphone xs iOS 13

If you have an existing Apple Watch but want to migrate to a new iPhone, the process is more involved. To start, be sure that both the Apple Watch and your old iPhone (if available) have been updated to their latest software versions. This will ensure that the Apple Watch is backed up properly and is available to pair with your new iPhone. After that, follow the steps below to migrate to the new phone.

  1. Back up your old iPhone to iCloud or iTunes. This will also include the latest backup of your Apple Watch data, which happens automatically on the iPhone.
  2. Unpair your watch on the old iPhone using the Watch app. In the My Watch tab, tap your watch, tap the “i” next to the watch and tap Unpair Apple Watch.
  3. If you’re setting up your new iPhone for the first time, an Apps & Data screen will appear. Choose to restore from your iCloud or iTunes backup, and choose the latest backup.
  4. Finish setting up the new iPhone. When asked, choose to use your Apple Watch with your new iPhone.
  5. You’ll be prompted to pair the Apple Watch with the new iPhone. Tap OK on your watch and enter your watch passcode.