How to Back Up Your Apple Watch

It's not a straightforward process, but it's still worth doing

What to Know

  • Automatic: Sync Apple Watch with iPhone > keep connected to Wi-Fi/Bluetooth > keep devices within range.
  • Manual: Open Apple Watch app > select My Watch > Info icon > Unpair Apple Watch.

This article explains how to back up your Apple Watch and preserve your data. It applies whether you're upgrading to a new watch or want to make sure your Health app data is saved.

How to Back Up Apple Watch

There isn't an independent backup function for Apple Watch, but you can trigger a backup in two ways:

  • Ensure your iPhone is in range of your Apple Watch and connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This will enable your Apple Watch to automatically sync with your iPhone, and all Apple Watch data will be included in your next iPhone backup.
  • Un-pair your Apple Watch. Doing so will begin a sync of the data before the Watch is wiped and returned to factory settings.

This process doesn't just throw your Apple Watch data into the cloud with everything else on your iPhone. Your Watch data is saved on its own, so you can pair any other Apple Watch based on the backup file.

Regardless of the method you choose, your Apple Watch data depends on the ability of your iPhone to perform a successful backup. If your iPhone is completing backups each night, and your Apple Watch is paired to your iPhone, your data should be backed up and ready to go.

What Apple Watch Data Is Backed Up?

As it turns out, your Apple Watch is regularly sharing data with your iPhone. All of the data your Apple Watch syncs with your iPhone is automatically added to the information backed up when your phone performs a backup. This information includes:

  • App-specific data and settings, including settings in Maps, distance, units, and preferred settings for Mail, Calendar, Stocks, and weather.
  • The app layout you've created on your Home screen.
  • Clock face settings and your current watch face.
  • Dock settings, including the sorting order.
  • System settings including brightness, sound, and haptics.
  • Health and Fitness data from your Apple Watch, and user-entered data.
  • Notification settings.
  • Playlists, albums, and mixes that are synced to your Apple Watch.
  • Music settings.
  • The Siri Voice Feedback setting for Apple Watch Series 3 or later.
  • Synced photo album.
  • Time Zone.

In order to backup Health app data, you'll need to use iCloud or an encrypted iTunes backup.

The only information not backed up from your Apple Watch is its Bluetooth pairings, any cards tied to Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, and your passcode. Basically, a backup will keep everything you'll need to pair an Apple Watch and restore your previous settings.

  • How do I reset my Apple Watch?

    To reset your Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your connected iPhone > select Watch > information icon > Unpair Apple Watch > confirm. Or on the Apple Watch, push the Digital Crown > select Settings > General > Reset.

  • How do I restart my Apple Watch?

    Press and hold the side button on the Apple Watch, then swipe Power Off when it appears to turn it off. Next, press and hold the side button again until the logo appears to turn it back on.

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