Set up your Apple Watch - Apple Support (2024)

Learn how to use your iPhone to set up your new Apple Watch.

What you need

To set up and use a new Apple Watch, you need iPhone XS or later with iOS 17. Learn how to identify your iPhone model and how to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.

Before you begin

  • Update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.

  • Make sure that your iPhone has Bluetooth turned on, and that it's connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.

If you already set up your Apple Watch but want to use it with a different iPhone, you can transfer your Apple Watch and its content to your new iPhone.

Turn on your Apple Watch and put it on

To turn on your Apple Watch, press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears. Then put the watch on your wrist.

Set up your Apple Watch - Apple Support (1)

Hold your Apple Watch close to your iPhone

Wait for the "Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch" message to appear on your iPhone, then tap Continue. If this message doesn't appear, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap All Watches, then tap Add Watch.

If this is your Apple Watch, tap Set Up for Myself. Or tap Set Up for a Family Member, then follow the steps to set up the watch for someone in your family.

Keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together until you complete these steps.

Set up your Apple Watch - Apple Support (2)

Hold your iPhone over the animation

Center the watch face in the viewfinder on your iPhone. Wait for a message to say that your Apple Watch is paired.

If you can't use the camera, or the pairing animation doesn't appear or your iPhone can't read it, tap Pair Manually, then follow the prompts.

Set up your Apple Watch - Apple Support (3)

Set up as new or restore from a backup

If this is your first Apple Watch, tap Set Up as New Apple Watch. If asked, update your Apple Watch to the latest version of watchOS.

If you've set up another Apple Watch with your current iPhone, a screen appears that says Make This Your New Apple Watch. Tap Apps & Data and Settings to see how Express Setup will configure your new watch. Then tap Continue. If you want to choose how your new watch is set up, tap Customize Settings. Then choose a backup from another previous Apple Watch to restore. Or tap Set Up as New Apple Watch if you want to fully customize your new device's settings.

Your Apple Watch might also require a software update on your iPhone before you can set up the watch. If your iPhone says that a software update is available, tap Update Now and wait for the update process to finish.

Choose which wrist you wear your Apple Watch on, then tap Continue.

Read the Terms and Conditions and tap Agree.

Sign in with your Apple ID

If asked, enter your Apple ID password. If you aren’t asked, you can sign in later from the Apple Watch app: Tap General > Apple ID, then sign in. Certain features that require a cellular phone number won’t work on cellular models of Apple Watch unless you sign in to iCloud.

If Find My isn't set up on your iPhone, you'll be asked to turn on Activation Lock. If an Activation Lock screen appears, your Apple Watch is already linked to an Apple ID. You need to enter the email address and password for that Apple ID to continue set up. If your Apple Watch was previously owned, you might need to contact the previous owner to remove Activation Lock.

Create a passcode

You can skip creating a passcode, but you need one for features like Apple Pay.On your iPhone, tap Create a Passcode or Add a Long Passcode, then switch to your Apple Watch to enter your new code. To skip, tap Don't Add Passcode.

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Customize your settings

Select your preferred text size and whether to use bold text.

If you didn't use Express Setup, your Apple Watch shows you which settings it shares with your iPhone. If you turned on features such as Find My, Location Services, Wi-Fi Calling, and Diagnostics for your iPhone, these settings automatically turn on for your Apple Watch.

Next, add or update details such as your date of birth to make sure that your Fitness and Health data are accurate. You can also turn on health notifications such as noise levels, and details about Emergency SOS and Fall Detection appear.

Set up cellular and Apple Pay

On cellular models of Apple Watch, you can set up cellular.

Next, you'll also be asked to set up Apple Pay by adding a card. Then your iPhone walks you through features like the Always On display and your preferred app view.

Keep your devices close as they sync

Your Apple Watch shows the watch face when the pairing procedure is finished and your watch is ready to use. Keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together so the devices can continue syncing information in the background.

Start using your Apple Watch

Learn about gestures that control your Apple Watch. You can also read the Apple Watch User Guide, customize your watch face, or add or remove apps.

Get help

To learn what to do next, find your issue below. If you still need help, contact Apple Support.

If your Apple Watch won't turn on

You might need to charge your Apple Watch.

If you're asked for a passcode

Your Apple Watch is still paired with another iPhone. If you don't remember the passcode, you need to erase your Apple Watch, then set it up again.

If an Activation Lock screen appears

Your Apple Watch is linked to an Apple ID. You need to enter the email address and password for that Apple ID to continue set up. If your Apple Watch was previously owned, you might need to contact the previous owner to remove Activation Lock.

If you can't set up your Apple Watch or you get an error message

  1. Make sure that your iPhone has the latest version of iOS.

  2. Turn off your iPhone and turn it back on.

  3. Turn off your Apple Watch and turn it back on.

Published Date:

Set up your Apple Watch - Apple Support (2024)

FAQs

How to fix Apple Watch stuck on Please Continue Setup on iPhone? ›

If your Apple Watch is stuck while pairing
  1. Press and hold the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time until your watch restarts. ...
  2. After your watch restarts, firmly press the screen or press and hold the Digital Crown.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. After your watch resets, you can pair it with your iPhone.
Apr 24, 2024

Can I set up my Apple Watch by myself? ›

Hold your iPhone near your Apple Watch, wait for the Apple Watch pairing screen to appear on your iPhone, then tap Continue. You can also open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap Pair New Watch. Tap Set Up for Myself.

Is the Apple Watch easy to set up? ›

To set up your Apple Watch, put it on your wrist snugly, then press and hold the side button to turn it on. Bring your iPhone near your watch, then follow the onscreen instructions. To prepare an Apple Watch for a person in your family who doesn't have an iPhone, tap Set Up for a Family Member.

How long does it take to set up an Apple Watch? ›

Estimated time: 15 to 30 minutes (depending on how many apps need to be installed and if a backup is being restored).
  • Step 1: Charge your Apple Watch and bring it near your iPhone. ...
  • Step 2: Scan the Apple Watch animation with your iPhone's camera or begin manual pairing.
Jan 30, 2023

How do I reset my Apple Watch to set up? ›

On your Apple Watch, tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Type your password if prompted.

Why is my Apple Watch taking forever to connect? ›

If it seems like the pairing process has stalled — for example, the pairing animation remains on the screen for several minutes — resetting your Apple Watch might help: Press and hold the Digital Crown while your Apple Watch is in pairing mode. Tap Reset when it appears on your watch.

Why isn't my Apple Watch connecting to my phone? ›

Certain settings needs to be on or off in order for pairing to work. Open your Settings app. Make sure Airplane Mode is turned off and that you're connected to a stable Wi-Fi network to avoid any connectivity issues. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, and see if it gives you the option of pairing with your Apple Watch.

How do I resync my Apple Watch? ›

Here's how to go about it:
  1. Step 1: On your iPhone, open the Watch App.
  2. Step 2: Click on My Watch and tap the General Settings tab.
  3. Step 3: Select the reset sync data option to begin the resetting process.
  4. Step 4: Wait for your iPhone to remove all data, such as your calendar updates, messages, and health updates.
Aug 29, 2023

Can you use an Apple Watch without pairing? ›

What features can I use if the watch isn't paired or connected to Wi-Fi? You can use the watch, alarm, stopwatch, and timer features. Plus, you can still track your workouts or activity goals, display photos, play content that you've synced to your watch, record memos, and use the compass.

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