Your Apple Watch stores a lot of private information, such as Apple Pay credit cards, health and fitness information, app data, and much more. Setting a passcode lock provides a great way to help protect that information in case the device is ever lost or stolen.
But sometimes you might forget your Apple Watch passcode. The good news is that there’s no need to worry. We’ll show you how to reset your Apple Watch and not lose any data.
How to Reset an Apple Watch Using Your iPhone
If you’ve forgotten the Apple Watch passcode, the first way to reset the device is by using your iPhone. Open up the companion Watch app on your phone, then select the My Watch tab. Select General and scroll down to the very end of the page. At the bottom, choose Reset.
On the Reset page, select the first option: Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings. Because it is impossible to undo this, you’ll have to confirm that option one more time to begin the reset process.
If you have a GPS + Cellular Apple Watch model, you’ll see a final dialog box where you can choose to keep or remove your cellular plan. If you’re keeping the Apple Watch, you should save the cellular plan.
Since you’re doing this to troubleshoot your Watch and/or iPhone, all your carrier information will remain on the device. The only reason to delete your cellular plan information is if you want to sell or trade in your Apple Watch for a new model.
As a final step, you’ll have to enter your Apple ID password to deactivate the Activation Lock security feature. Before the watch completely erases and resets, a full backup will automatically save on your iPhone.
You’ll need to be patient as the entire process takes a substantial amount of time, especially on older Apple Watch models.
Just to note: if you forgot your Apple Watch passcode, the reset process with an iPhone is the same no matter what model of Watch you have.
How to Factory Reset an Apple Watch Without an iPhone
If you don’t have your iPhone handy, there’s no need to worry. Let’s look at how to factory reset an Apple Watch without a phone nearby.
Most importantly, keep your Apple Watch on its charger to make sure that your device won’t run out of power. Here’s the rest of the process:
- Press and hold the Side Button on the Apple Watch until you see a screen with three options: Power Off, Medical ID, or Emergency SOS.
- Instead of toggling the Power Off slider, firmly press the button and then quickly lift your finger off the screen.
- You should then see an option to Erase all content and settings. Select that option. Just like when using an iPhone, to erase the Apple Watch, you’ll have to enter the Apple ID and password.
- Select whether you want to keep or remove the cellular plan, if applicable.
The watch will then begin the erasure process. Keep in mind that this method won’t make a new backup made before it wipes the Apple Watch. That means when you restore the backup data, it could be a few days old.
How to Restore Your Apple Watch
Now that you’ve wiped your Apple Watch, it’s time to restore it with a backup. To start the process, bring your iPhone and Apple Watch near each other. The watch screen will say Bring iPhone near Apple Watch.
On your iPhone, a dialog box will appear that says Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch. Select Continue.
You’ll then see a special image on the Apple Watch. Line up the image on the watch with your iPhone screen using the camera to begin the pairing process. If you run into problems, take a look at these fixes to try if your Apple Watch won’t pair .
Next, you’ll choose whether to set up the Watch as new or use a backup. As long as you regularly back up your iPhone, there should be data to restore for the Apple Watch.
After signing in with your Apple ID and password, you’ll have a few different settings to select, including activating Siri.
Next, it’s time to create a new passcode of anywhere from four to 10 digits. You can select to not have a passcode, but it is required if you add any Apple Pay information. And it’s generally a good security practice to help protect all your data.
Finally, as long as you didn’t remove the cellular plan from the Watch, you’ll reconfirm that information.
The syncing process will then begin. Expect it to take some time. You can wear the Apple Watch, but make sure to keep your iPhone handy. The watch will make a noise to inform you when it’s ready to use.
Don’t Worry If You Forget Your Apple Watch Passcode
Just like an iPhone or iPad, forgetting your Apple Watch passcode isn’t the end of the world. As long as you have an iPhone handy, you can get your Watch back up and running with just a bit of work.
And now that you’ve reset your Apple Watch and added a new passcode, there’s a great way to make sure the same problem doesn’t happen again in the future. Make sure to take a look at these great iPhone password managers to store your Apple Watch passcode for safekeeping.