Set up your Apple Watch

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 an iPhone 6s or later with iOS 15 or later. Learn how to identify your iPhone model and how to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.

Before you begin

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 you see the Apple logo. This may take a few minutes. 

Get help if your Apple Watch won’t turn on or if you're asked to enter a passcode and forgot it.

Side button on Apple Watch.

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 you don't see this message, open the Watch app on your iPhone, tap All Watches, then tap Pair New 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. 

iPhone and Apple Watch showing pairing screens

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 you don't see the pairing animation or your iPhone can't read it, tap Pair Apple Watch Manually, then follow the steps that appear.

iPhone showing Apple Watch in its viewfinder

Set up as new or restore from a backup

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

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

Read the Terms and Conditions and tap Agree, then tap Agree again to continue.


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 you see an Activation Lock screen, 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


Choose your settings

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, you can choose to use other settings, like Route Tracking and Siri. If Siri isn’t already set up on your iPhone, it will turn on after you choose this option. You can also choose the text size for your watch.


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.

iPhone showing Apple Watch passcode setup screen

Choose features and apps

Next, you'll also be asked to set up Apple Pay by adding a card. Then we'll walk you through setting up features like automatic watchOS updates, SOS, and Activity. On cellular models of Apple Watch, you can also set up cellular.

Finally, you can install your apps that are compatible with Apple Watch, or choose to install apps individually later.

iPhone showing Install Available Apps screen

Wait for your devices to sync

Depending on how much data you have, syncing might take some time. While you wait for your watch to sync, try Apple Watch Basics to learn a little about how to use your watch.

Keep your devices close together until you hear a chime and feel a tap from your Apple Watch, then press the Digital Crown. 

iPhone showing Apple Watch syncing screen

Start using your Apple Watch

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 you see an Activation Lock screen

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

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