How to Pair an Apple Watch With Your iPhone

The Apple Watch and the iPhone are made for each other and both are designed to augment the functions of the other. Regardless of which Apple Watch model you own — the Apple Watch Series 5, or last year’s Series 4, or even an older model — you’ll need to set it up with whichever iPhone you own.

Setting up your Apple Watch to work with your iPhone is just the beginning. After you’re done with that, have a look at our guides covering the 30 essential Apple Watch tips, the best Apple Watch faces, and the best Apple Watch apps, which promise to make your watch as integral to your life as your phone.

How to pair an Apple Watch

Before you get started, make sure that both your Apple Watch and your iPhone are updated to the latest version of their respective operating systems. Also make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone, as that is the primary connection point between the two. And finally, make sure both your watch and phone are fully charged or plug them in to replenish the charge as you pair.

  • You can use the latest watchOS 6.1 with any generation of Apple Watch and pair it with any iPhone 6S or later running iOS 13. The setup assistants on your iPhone and Apple Watch work together to help you pair and set up your Apple Watch.
  • You can start by strapping the watch onto your wrist and then press and hold the side button (the one underneath the Digital Crown) until you see the Apple logo appear.
  • Move your iPhone near to your Apple Watch and observe the welcome pairing screen on your iPhone, and tap Continue.
  • Easier still, just launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap Pair New Watch.
  • Tap the Start Pairing button, and at the prompt, place your iPhone above the watch so that your Apple Watch appears in the viewfinder. This pairs the devices and you will see an alert that confirms the pairing.
  • If you already had a watch paired on this device, you may see a screen prompting you to either restore your watch from a backup or set up as a new watch.
  • Tap the wrist you will wear the watch on (left or right) and the location preference of the crown (top or bottom).
  • Agree to the terms and conditions and decide whether you want to share information with Apple.
  • Create or wait on a passcode. If you intend to use Apple Pay, you will need to set up a passcode.
  • Choose whether to update your watch automatically or manually and whether to enable SOS and fall detection. If your Health app designates you as 65 or older, the fall detection feature will be enabled by default.
  • You can choose to install all apps at pairing or wait to choose which specific apps you want. You can always delete individual apps later.
  • Wait a few minutes for the setup to complete and for the two devices to sync, and after that’s done, you’ll see a welcome screen.
  • If your Apple Watch features cell service, you can activate the cellular service on your Apple Watch now or later in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. While cell service is not available everywhere, your iPhone and Apple Watch must use the same cellular carrier to set up and run it.

Pair multiple watches with your iPhone

You can pair more than one watch with your iPhone if you need to, but only one watch can be active on your phone at any specific time. The watchOS platform doesn’t support wearing two watches at once, nor does it support the simultaneous sharing of watches between multiple users. Not all carriers support multiple, active cellular plans at the same time, so make sure your carrier supports the feature. The steps are very similar to the pairing procedure above.

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap the My Watch tab.
  • Tap your watch at the top of the screen.
  • Tap Pair New Watch.
  • Follow the steps to pair your new watch and iPhone. You can set up your watch as new or use a backup of your other watch.
  • Each watch has its own settings, so you can customize them with different apps and faces. You can add a credit card for Apple Pay on one watch but leave it off the other.

Switching between multiple watches

Unpair Apple Watch

You can have only one Apple Watch active at a time. To switch watches, remove your current watch, pair the other one, then raise your wrist or move your arm. If you enable the Auto Switch control, which shows up when you have two watches paired, your iPhone automatically switches watches when you do. If you want to choose when to switch, instead of automatically switching, turn off Auto Switch.

  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap the My Watch tab.
  • Tap your Apple Watch and turn Auto Switch on or off.
  • If you turn off Auto Switch, you need to let your iPhone know which watch you want to use, so tap your watch at the top of the screen, then tap the watch that you’re wearing, so it appears next to it.

Remove and unpair an Apple Watch

  • To remove a watch, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and tap the My Watch tab.
  • Select an Apple Watch, tap the info icon.
  • Tap the Unpair Apple Watch button to unpair it.
  • Tap in your Apple ID to remove the watch from your account.

Managing your Apple Watch

The first thing you’ll want to do is set up a watch face you like. The best way to start setting up your choice of watch faces is to use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Everything you do here automatically syncs with your watch in real-time. Go to Face Gallery where you can start to edit and add as many faces as you want.

Now that you know how to pair and set up your Apple Watch, you can read through our guide on how to back up your Apple Watch to make sure you don’t have to set it up from scratch in the future.

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