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While the Apple Watch is a great way to track your daily fitness, send messages, etc. what happens if your Apple Watch won’t pair?
Any new Apple Watch needs to be paired with your iPhone and maintain that connection to take advantage of all the features of the wearable device.
However, you might run into communication issues during the pairing process or normal everyday use. Here are a few fixes if your Apple Watch won’t pair with your iPhone.
How to Pair Your Apple Watch to an iPhone
To pair your Apple Watch and iPhone, first make sure both devices are charged and on. Place them near to each other. Wait until you see a dialog box appear on the iPhone that says Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch. And then press Continue to begin the process.
A screen will appear on the iPhone and an animation will be shown on the Apple Watch. Align the viewfinder of the iPhone screen with the Watch on your wrist. You can also pair the devices manually by selecting Pair Apple Watch Manually.
Once the Apple Watch is paired to an iPhone, you’ll continue the process and customize settings, sign in with an Apple ID, create a passcode, select apps, and more.
When Your Apple Watch Won’t Pair With an iPhone
If an Apple Watch is not connecting to your phone for pairing or at any other time, don’t panic. There are a few fixes you can try to solve the problem when your Apple Watch won’t pair.
On your iPhone, swipe up to view the Control Center and make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both active. Both are needed to communicate with the Apple Watch.
During the pairing process, the Watch screen should be showing the setup dialog box. If for any reason you see the regular Watch face, the Apple Watch has probably been paired with another iPhone.
To prepare the Apple Watch for pairing, head to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
When Your Apple Watch Isn’t Communicating With an iPhone
Even after you’ve successfully completed the first-time pairing process, your Apple Watch might not be connecting to your iPhone. Here’s what to do to get the devices talking again.
1. Confirm Your Apple Watch Isn’t Connected to an iPhone
To confirm that your Apple Watch isn’t connecting to an iPhone, slide up on the Watch face to view the Control Center.
If you see a red X with the word Disconnected or the image of a red iPhone with a diagonal line through it, your watch isn’t connected to an iPhone. While on the same screen, make sure that Wi-Fi is turned on.
Next, head to your iPhone and confirm both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are on as well.
2. Restart Your Apple Watch and iPhone
The next step you can take is to restart both the Apple Watch and the iPhone.
On the Apple Watch, press the Digital Crown and Side button simultaneously for 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo. Wait until you see the Watch face.
Then it’s time to move on to your iPhone. On an iPhone X or later, press and hold the Side button and either volume control buttons until you see the Power Off slider. Select that by sliding it to the right. Restart the iPhone by pressing the Side button until the Apple logo appears.
With an iPhone 8 or earlier, press and hold either the top or side button (depending on your model) until the Power Off slider appears. Slide it right to completely turn off the handset. Then press and hold the same button until the Apple logo appears to turn your iPhone on.
3. Check for Software Updates
If your Apple Watch is still not connecting to an iPhone, make sure that both the Watch and iPhone are running the most recent software.
To check for a software update on the Apple Watch, open the companion Watch app on your iPhone. In the My Watch tab select General > Software Update. If an update is available, you can download it and install on the Watch.
You can check for a software update on an iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
4. Reset Your iPhone Network Settings
Another step you can take when your Apple Watch won’t pair is to reset the Network settings on your iPhone. On your iPhone, head to the Settings section. Select General > Reset. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Reset Network Settings.
5. Reset Your Apple Watch
As a final, and more drastic, step, it’s time to unpair and re-pair your Apple Watch with an iPhone. To start the process, go to Settings > General on the Watch. Scroll down to the bottom and select Reset. Then select Reset All Content and Settings.
To complete the process, you may need to deactivate the Activation Lock. If you need additional help with this step here are the Apple Watch security tips you need to know.
After the Apple Watch has been wiped, you can hopefully re-pair it with your iPhone. If that’s successful, you can restore the Watch as a completely new device or by using a previous backup.
Helping to Fix Apple Watch and iPhone Communication Problems
Hopefully one of these fixes will help solve the problem of why your Apple Watch isn’t pairing or communicating with your iPhone. If, after following these troubleshooting tips, you are still having problems, the best course of action is to contact Apple support and discuss your options.
If you’re new to Apple’s wearable device, be sure to read our article explaining how to lock and unlock your Apple Watch to help protect your personal data.