1. Apple Watch reset with iPhone
  2. Apple Watch reset without iPhone

How to reset the Apple Watch: Unpair from iPhone and restore factory settings

Start again with your Apple Watch with these simple steps
Wareable Apple Watch how to reset
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If you want to start from scratch with your Apple Watch - or pass it on and upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 - you'll want to unpair from your iPhone and restore factory settings. 

There are two distinct methods for resetting the Apple Watch we'll be covering in this guide - one for those who have their iPhone, and one for those who don't.

Both are effectively hard resets that will erase all your data and settings, with the only difference being how the Apple Watch's Activation Lock feature is affected.

Skip to your preferred route and follow the steps below - and check out our other guides listed below if you're looking for a different kind of Apple Watch explainer.

Apple Watch reset with iPhone

Wareablehow to unpair apple watch


If you still have the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired to, you'll want to follow the steps below.

Doing so will remove any content and settings on the smartwatch - and remove the Activation Lock.

This means that it'll be in the correct state to give away, sell, or turn off once complete.

1. Start by opening the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

2. From the 'My Watch' tab, tap 'All Watches' in the top-right corner.

3. Tap the 'i' icon next to the Apple Watch you wish to reset.

4. You should now see 'Unpair Apple Watch' at the bottom of the page - select it.

5. If you have a GPS + Cellular model, you'll be prompted to choose whether to keep or remove your mobile data plan. If you want to pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again, keep hold of it. If not, remove it - and contact your network provider to cancel it if you don't plan on pairing a new watch or iPhone.

6. Next, you'll have to type in your Apple ID password to disable Activation Lock, at which point you can complete the process by tapping 'Unpair'.

Note: Before all your data is erased on the Apple Watch, the iPhone will create a backup. You can use this to set up a new Apple Watch.

Apple Watch reset without iPhone

WareableApple Watch reset from watch

If you've lost your phone - or given it away or sold it before you could erase your Apple Watch (as shown above) - it is still possible to reset your Apple Watch.

However, the device's Activation Lock will remain in place.

To reset the Apple Watch without an iPhone, go from Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

If you have a passcode set up, you'll be prompted to enter this before going any further. 

Like in the instructions above, those with a GPS + Cellular model will next have to choose what to do with their plan. Again, if you want to pair the Apple Watch and iPhone again, make sure to keep it. If not, remove it.

You'll then simply have to confirm your choice by tapping 'Erase All'.

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor joined Wareable in 2017, quickly making a name for himself by testing out language translation earbuds on a first date, navigating London streets in a wearable airbag, and experiencing skydiving in a VR headset.

Over the years, he has evolved into a recognized wearables and fitness tech expert. Through Wareable’s instructional how-to guides, Conor helps users maximize the potential of their gadgets, and also shapes the conversation in digital health and AI hardware through PULSE by Wareable.

As an avid marathon runner, dedicated weightlifter, and frequent hiker, he also provides a unique perspective to Wareable’s in-depth product reviews and news coverage.

In addition to his contributions to Wareable, Conor’s expertise has been featured in publications such as British GQ, The IndependentDigital Spy, Pocket-lint, The Mirror, WIRED, and Metro.

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