How to Unlock Your Apple Watch

Unlock your Apple Watch to get alerts and credit for your activities

If you've protected your Apple Watch with a passcode, there will be times you'll need to unlock it. Aside from entering your passcode into your Apple Watch screen, it's also easy to unlock your Apple Watch with a paired iPhone. If you've forgotten your Apple Watch passcode entirely, there's a last-ditch way to reset your device and remove the passcode entirely.

When you first set up your Apple Watch, you'll be prompted to create a passcode to use when unlocking the Watch, just as you would with an iPhone passcode

Apple watch face showing passcode screen
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Unlocking Apple Watch With Its Passcode

To enter your Apple Watch passcode, wake the device, enter your passcode, and select OK.

When you set up your Apple Watch, you were prompted to create a four-digit passcode, but it's possible to change this at any time by going to your Apple Watch, opening the Settings app, and then tapping Passcode. From there, enter your new passcode.

Unlock Your Apple Watch When You Unlock Your iPhone

Some users like to have their Apple Watch unlock whenever they unlock their iPhone. If your iPhone has a complex, secure passcode, this is an easy way of extending this protection to your Apple Watch without having to enter a long string of numbers and characters.

Here's how it works:

Your Apple Watch will still have its own passcode.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and select your Apple Watch.

    Make sure your iPhone and Apple Watch are near each other during this process.

  2. Select Passcode.

  3. Toggle on Unlock with iPhone.

    Use Watch app to set your Apple Watch to Unlock with iPhone

    Alternatively, open the Settings app on your Apple Watch, tap Passcode, and then tap Unlock with iPhone.

Unlocking an Apple Watch if You Forgot the Passcode

If you forgot your Apple Watch passcode and any hopes of retrieving it are gone, it's possible to reset your device and then restore it from a backup. This process removes the passcode from your Apple Watch so you can start fresh.

This is a serious, last-ditch action that will wipe out all the data on your Apple Watch. You'll either need to set up the device as new or restore from a backup.

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone are close together. Keep them near each other throughout this process.

  2. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and select your device.

  3. Tap General.

  4. Tap Reset.

    Use the Apple Watch to reset your device and remove the passcode
  5. Tap Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings. Tap again to verify, and enter your Apple ID and password if prompted.

    Erase your Apple Watch content and settings to remove password
  6. If you have a cellular plan attached to your Apple Watch, choose to keep or remove your plan.

    If you're using this process only for the purpose of unlocking your Apple Watch, choose to keep your plan.

  7. When the reset is finished, set up your Apple Watch again and opt to Restore from Backup.

Activation Lock on Apple Watch

Apple's Find My function has a feature called Activation Lock. When you use Find My to search for your Apple Watch, Activation Lock is triggered automatically.

If someone tries to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone, pair it with a new iPhone, or turn off the Find My feature, Activation Lock requires that your Apple ID and password be entered.

To make sure Find My Apple Watch is enabled, go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and then select My Watch > [your watch name] > Info. If you see Find My Apple Watch there, it means you're protected by Activation Lock.

Turn off Activation Lock

You'll need to turn off Activation Lock if your Apple Watch is going to be repaired or if you're lending it to someone else. Here's how:

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone are close together. Keep them near each other throughout this process.

  2. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and select your device.

  3. Tap the Information icon.

  4. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.

    Unpair your Apple Watch to disable Activation Lock

    If you have a cellular plan attached to your device, you'll also need to tap Remove [Carrier] Plan.

  5. Enter your Apple ID and password, and then tap to confirm.