How to Enable and Disable Apple Watch Activation Lock

This feature prevents thieves from unlocking your watch

The Apple Watch Activation Lock is both a theft deterrent for the watch itself, and ensures the security of your personal data if it’s stolen. When you get ready to sell your watch, you’ll want to disable the Activation Lock. You might also need to remove the Activation Lock if you're getting your watch repaired or serviced. Here’s how to enable and deactivate the Apple Watch Activation Lock.  

What is Activation Lock?

If you’re familiar with the Activation Lock on your iPhone, you’ll find no real surprises on the Apple Watch. It’s a robust form of theft protection Apple has built into the watch. If you lose your Apple Watch, for example, the watch remains connected to your Apple ID and Activation Lock prevents anyone else from erasing it and using it on their own.

If you also have the passcode enabled on your Apple Watch, strangers won't even be able to access any apps or displays on the watch when it's not on your wrist.

Because of the Activation Lock, that also means you can locate it using Apple’s Find My service, and strangers can’t access your watch’s data.

The bottom line is that as long as Activation Lock is on, only you (or someone who knows your Apple ID password) can:

  • Disable the Find My service
  • Unpair the watch from your iPhone
  • Pair the watch with another iPhone

How to Ensure Apple Watch Activation Lock is Working

Activation Lock is useful, but only if it's turned on and working. To make sure your Activation Lock is turned on:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom of the screen to ensure you're on the My Watch page.

  3. Tap your name at the top of the My Watch page.

  4. Tap the circled i to the right of your watch’s name.

  5. You should see Find My Apple Watch. If you do, your watch’s Activation Lock is turned on and working properly. If you don't see it, you can follow the steps in the next section to enable the Activation Lock.

    Three Apple Watch screens from iPhone

How to Enable Apple Watch Activation Lock

If you don’t see Find My Apple Watch in the Watch app, then Activation Lock isn’t enabled for your watch. It’s easy to turn on, though, since it’s automatically enabled when Find My iPhone is turned on.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen.

  3. Tap Find My.

  4. Tap Find My iPhone, then turn the feature on by swiping the toggle to the right.

    While you’re here, it’s a good idea to turn on both Enable Offline Finding and Send Last Location since they make it easier to find a lost phone, but those options aren’t essential.

    Apple ID, Find My, and Find My iPhone Settings screens from iPhone
  5. Your Apple Watch’s Activation Lock should now be turned on.

How to Remove Activation Lock on Apple Watch

If your Apple Watch and iPhone are paired and in close proximity, you can disable the Activation Lock from the Watch app on the iPhone.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Tap your name at the top of the My Watch page.

  4. Tap the circled i to the right of your watch’s name.

  5. Tap Unpair Apple Watch, then, in the pop-up window at the bottom of the screen, tap Unpair Apple Watch.

    Apple Watch, Unpair Apple Watch, confirmation button

How to Remove Activation Lock on Apple Watch From the Web

If your watch and phone aren’t currently paired, or at least one of them is unavailable so you can’t bring them close together, you can use Apple’s Find My service in a web browser to remove the Activation Lock.

You can also use this procedure if your Apple Watch needs to be serviced, and isn't working well enough to communicate with your iPhone.

  1. Open Find My in a web browser and log in with your Apple ID and password if needed.

  2. Select All Devices at the top of the screen, then select your Apple Watch.

    The Find My page on the iCloud web site
  3. Select Erase Apple Watch, then confirm this is what you want to do.

    Removing the Activation Lock and erasing an Apple Watch on the iCloud web site