How to Reset Your Apple Watch

When nothing else seems to work, try a hard reset

how to reset your apple watch

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There are different reasons why you might want to reset your Apple Watch to factory settings. Perhaps you forgot your passcode, your device isn't functioning as expected, or maybe you're selling the watch to a new owner and want to wipe the slate clean beforehand. No matter the motive, there are a number of ways to perform a hard reset of your Apple Watch.

The instructions in this article cover how to reset your Apple Watch to factory settings, not how to turn it quickly turn it off and on or how to force restart it.

Reset Apple Watch by Unpairing From iPhone

Perhaps the quickest way to reset your Apple Watch is by unpairing it from your iPhone.

unpair apple watch
  1. Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone are both powered on and are in close proximity to each other.

  2. Tap the Watch app icon, located on your iPhone's Home Screen.

  3. The Apple Watch app interface should now be displayed, in particular, the My Watch tab. Select the name of the watch you wish to reset, located towards the top of the screen.

  4. Tap the information icon, represented by a lower-case "i" inside of a circle and located to the right of your watch's information panel.

  5. Select Unpair Apple Watch. If you have a Series 3 or Series 4 Apple Watch with GPS and Cellular, you'll be asked if you wish to keep or remove your cellular plan. If you plan to set up this Apple Watch again, you may want to keep your plan. If you're no longer using the watch, you can choose to remove your plan. However, to fully cancel the plan, you'll also need to contact your cellular provider.

  6. A confirmation request will appear at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Unpair (name) Apple Watch button.

  7. Enter your Apple ID password, if prompted. 

  8. The unpairing process will now begin and can take several minutes to complete. If successful, the Watch app on your iPhone will return to the Start Pairing screen and the watch itself will reboot and eventually display its initial setup interface. Your Apple Watch has now been reset to its default settings.

Reset Apple Watch by Erasing All Content and Settings

If your watch isn't currently paired with an iPhone or you don't have the phone handy at the moment, you can still perform a factory reset by taking the following steps. 

apple watch erase all content and settings
  1. On your Apple Watch, tap the Settings icon.

  2. Scroll down and select General.

  3. The General settings should now be visible. Scroll down again and tap Reset.

  4. Tap the Erase All Content and Settings button. 

  5. Enter your passcode when prompted. If you have a Series 3 or Series 4 Apple Watch with GPS and Cellular, you'll now be asked if you wish to keep or remove your cellular plan. If you plan to set up this Apple Watch again then you may want to keep your plan. If you're no longer using the watch you can choose to remove your plan. To fully cancel the plan you'll also need to contact your cellular provider.

  6. A warning message will now appear, detailing the effects of the reset process. Scroll down and tap Erase All.

  7. The reset process should begin, with the watch displaying a spinning progress wheel; this can take several minutes to complete. When finished, your Apple Watch will return to the initial setup interface. Your Apple Watch has now been reset to its factory settings.

Reset Apple Watch Without a Passcode

If you've forgotten your passcode there's still a way to manually restore your Apple Watch to factory settings.

reset apple watch without a passcode
  1. Connect your Apple Watch to a power source.

  2. Press and hold the side button on your watch until the POWER OFF and EMERGENCY SOS options appear. 

  3. Briefly tap and hold the POWER OFF slider, then let go.

  4. A new screen should be displayed with two buttons. Tap Erase all content and settings.

  5. A message will now appear asking you if you're sure you want to continue. Tap the green checkmark, located in the lower right-hand corner of the watch face.

  6. The reset process should begin, with the watch displaying a spinning progress wheel; this can take several minutes to complete. When finished, your Apple Watch will return to the initial setup interface. Your Apple Watch has now been reset to its factory settings.

Setting Up Your Apple Watch

Now that your Apple Watch has been reset, you can choose to set it up from scratch by following our detailed tutorial.