Although pairing an Apple Watch should be fairly straightforward, things don’t always go as expected. Here’s how to pair, as well as what to do if something isn’t going well.
Make Sure Your Watch and iPhone Are Compatible
At the time of writing, watchOS 8 is the most recent Apple Watch software. You need an iPhone 6s or newer with iOS 15 or later installed in order to use an Apple Watch running watchOS 8.
The Apple Watch Series 3 or later, as well as the Apple Watch SE, are compatible with watchOS 8. You shouldn’t buy an Apple Watch unless you fulfill the minimum iPhone criteria because all-new Apple Watch models purchased directly from Apple will come pre-installed with the most recent version of watchOS.
Although older Watch models are incompatible with the most recent watchOS release, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still useful. Apple Watch Series 2 models and after should continue to work with iPhones running iOS 11 and later.
While you can still track workouts and get notifications, you won’t have access to the most recent software upgrades and features. The Apple Watch Series 4 and later are expected to receive watchOS 9 in the fall of 2022. It requires an iPhone X, iPhone 8, or later running iOS 16 to function.
Pair Your Apple Watch Automatically
Assuming everything goes according to plan, pairing your Apple Watch is easy. Simply activate the wearable by pushing and holding the side button, then bring it up close to your iPhone to start using it.
On your iPhone, the Watch pairing screen ought to appear. Select “Set Up for Me” or “Set Up for a Family Member,” and then scan the Watch display with your iPhone’s camera.
You’ll be prompted to choose between setting up the Watch as a brand-new Apple Watch and restoring it from a backup. Choose the backup option to restore prior settings, Watch face configurations, and other preferences if you’re replacing an earlier device. You might be asked to enter your Apple ID and password; if so, do so.
Once the setup is complete, you can choose which applications to install on your Watch, enable features like Find My and Wi-Fi calling and create a passcode. You can choose to activate your Apple Watch with cellular now or later if you have one (you’ll need a compatible mobile plan for this to work).
Wait for the sync between your iPhone and Watch. Once you’re done, you can further modify it on your iPhone using the Watch app.
New Apple Watch models and any Watch models that have been unpaired and deleted in preparation for use with another iPhone must go through this setup procedure. When you turn on your Watch, if you see a Watch face, that means it is already associated with another iPhone and needs to be unpaired before you can use it.
Not a Prompt? Manually Pair Your Watch (or Erase It)
On occasion, when you turn on your Watch for the first time, the invitation to pair it with an iPhone doesn’t appear. Thankfully, you can manually pair your Watch, but first, you must download the Watch app for iPhone for free if you don’t already have it.
Launch the Watch app, select “All Watches” in the top-left corner, then turn on the Apple Watch you want to link. Click “Add Watch” and proceed with the setup.
If you can’t or don’t want to use the camera to connect, you can select your Apple Watch from a list of nearby devices using the “Pair Manually” option.
The Watch is probably already paired if you are unable to pair it or if you see the Watch face when you switch it on. To make sure it isn’t already associated with your device, check the “All Watches” section of your iPhone.
You’ll need to delete the Watch in order to pair it again. You’ll need to ask the Watch’s original owner to wipe it clean if Find My is turned on. They can carry out this action remotely by using Find My at iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app. The Watch can then be deleted using the “Remove from Account” option.
The Watch app on the iPhone it is linked with can also be used to unpair a Watch. Tap the problematic Watch, then the I icon, and then choose “Unpair Apple Watch” from the list of “All Watches.”
Pair an iPhone With More than One Apple Watch
By following the identical procedures as above, you can use your iPhone with multiple Apple Watches. Launch the Watch app, hit “All Watches,” and then choose “Pair New Watch” if you don’t see the pairing popup.
If you have many Watches with various finishes, if you’re borrowing a replacement Watch and don’t want to delete your old one, or if you’re testing out a new model, this is useful (the Apple Store gives you 14 days to return your undamaged Watch, provided you bring all of the packagings).
Although you can use different Watch models with a single iPhone, you cannot use different iPhones with different Watch models. You must unpair and repair a Watch in order to use it with another iPhone, even one that is associated with your Apple ID. Consider your Apple Watch as an addition to your iPhone rather than a separate gadget.