How to restore an Apple Watch from an iPhone

If things go wrong on your Apple smartwatch, here's how to get things going again
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In our testing time with the Apple Watch, we can't say we've really encountered major problems or bugs, but that's not to say every Watch owners has been immune to having issues with the smartwatch.

Apple does already let you reset the Apple Watch and now it's added the ability to restore a buggy Watch with the use of a nearby iPhone.

Read this: How to set up your Apple Watch | 67 top Apple Watch tips and tricks

If you're having problems or see a red exclamation mark on the Watch (shown above), you might need to do this to help any software bugginess you're experiencing.

If you want to restore your Apple Watch using an iPhone, here's a step-by-step guide on what to do.

Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone is up to date

This is important. You need to make sure your Apple Watch is running on watchOS 8.5 and your iPhone is running iOS version 15.4 or later. If you don't know how to do that, check out our guide on how to update the Apple Watch to get both devices running the right respective software versions.

No while Apple doesn't specify, which models support this ability to restore from an iPhone, it seems that your Watch needs to be capable of running watchOS 8.5. Currently, the Apple Watch Series 3 up to the Apple Watch Series 7 plus the Apple Watch SE can run watchOS 8.

How to restore Apple Watch from an iPhone

WareableHow to restore an Apple Watch from an iPhone

Now that you've got your iPhone and Apple Watch up to date, these are the steps you need to take to try and get your Watch running again:

  • Make sure the iPhone running iOS 15.4 or later is near your Apple Watch.
  • Make sure the iPhone is unlocked, connected to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is turned on
  • Next, make sure your buggy Apple Watch is sitting on its charger
  • Go to your Apple Watch and double click the button below the digital crown
  • If it's worked correctly, you'll now be prompted to follow a series of steps on the iPhone to start restoring the buggy Apple Watch.

What if this doesn't work?

The steps outlined above should get you where you need to go. If for some reason they don't, there are few things Apple suggests trying to get that restoring process up and running. Here's what you can do:

  • Check that you have a strong Wi-Fi connection
  • Use a 2.4GHz network instead of a 5GHz internet connection
  • Check you're not connected to a captive or 802.1x network (not your home network). A captive network is a Wi-Fi hotspot like the ones you find in coffee shops, hotels and airports.

There you have it. That's how you can quickly restore an Apple Watch from an iPhone.

TAGGED Apple Watch

How we test



Michael Sawh

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Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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