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Resetting an Apple Watch can be handy if it’s experiencing an error, or if you’re handing it on a new owner. Thankfully, the procedure isn’t as scary it sounds. You can reset the Apple Watch whether or not your iPhone is present, although you’ll want to take some precautions first. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to reset an Apple Watch.

Before you reset

It’s easy to back up the Apple Watch, so don’t worry about losing basics like your fitness data, app layout, and settings. Content backs up automatically to your paired iPhone, including when you unpair your watch. As long as you’ve been near your phone recently, you can restore your watch data and largely continue where you left off.

However, not everything will carry over. Apple Watch backups don’t include your Apple Pay cards, Bluetooth pairings, messages, or third-party app data. You’ll want to ensure your app data has its own backup (usually through the cloud), that your messages are stored on your iPhone, and that you’re prepared to add any cards and Bluetooth devices. Once you’re prepared, you can reset the Apple Watch in earnest.

Unpair and reset Apple Watch

apple watch iphone reset

If you have your iPhone available, you can both unpair and reset your Apple Watch in one straightforward process.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Visit the My Watch tab and tap your watch.
  3. Tap the information (“i”) button next to the watch in the next screen.
  4. Tap “Unpair Apple Watch.”
  5. If you have a model with cellular data, you’ll be asked if you want to keep your cellular plan. If you remove the plan, you may also need to contact your carrier to cancel service.
  6. Tap once more to confirm. You may need to enter your Apple ID to turn off Activation Lock.
  7. If you need to set up an Apple Watch, the Start Pairing screen will appear.

How to reset your Apple Watch without an iPhone

apple watch reset screenshots

Don’t worry if you don’t have your iPhone on hand. You can still reset your Apple Watch by itself. The steps are even simpler, although it won’t remove Activation Lock — if you’re transferring the watch to another user, you’ll still need to unpair from your iPhone first.

  1. On your Apple Watch, tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  2. If you have a watch with cellular data, you’ll be asked if you want to keep your cellular plan. Again, you may also need to contact your carrier to cancel service.
  3. Tap Erase All to confirm and reset your watch.

And with that, your watch is reset. It’s really that simple!

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