How to Unlock Your Apple Watch

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

Person wearing an Apple Watch

Leo Patrizi / Getty Images

Putting a Passcode on your Apple Watch means there are times when you'll have to manually unlock it.

Unlocking With Passcode

If your Apple Watch is locked it's because you've enabled Passcode. The easiest way to unlock your Apple Watch is to push the Digital Crown and enter your Passcode.

Simple or Complex Passcode

The default option for Passcode is a four-digit code of your choosing. If you've enabled a more secure option then the number of digits is up to you; your watch won't prompt you for the right number of digits, so make sure you remember!

Unlocking With iPhone

The Apple Watch app on your iPhone has an option you can enable to have your watch unlock when you unlock your iPhone as long as:

  • You have the option Unlock with iPhone toggled ON in your My Watch > Passcode settings
  • You are wearing the watch
Unlock with Iphone apple watch screen shot

It takes a few seconds for this process to work, so keep your Apple Watch close to your iPhone until the tiny blue padlock icon on the watch screen disappears.

Unlocking Apple Watch Without Passcode

It happens to everyone...did you forget your Passcode? The good news is that you can use your iPhone paired with your Apple Watch to unlock it. You'll actually remove the Passcode from your Apple Watch and then restore your watch from a backup.

This is a pretty drastic step, so make sure you absolutely don't know the passcode. Remember, it wipes all the data on the watch and has you either set it up as new or restore from a backup. It's a pain.

  1. Keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together until this process is complete.

  2. Use the Apple Watch app on the iPhone to access the My Watch tab and tap General > Reset.

  3. Tap Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings. Tap again to verify, and enter your Apple ID password if prompted.

  4. If you have a cellular plan attached to your Apple Watch you'll need to choose to keep or remove your phone plan. If you're only using this process to unlock your Apple Watch then choose to keep your plan.

  5. When the reset is finished you can set up your Apple Watch again and opt to Restore from Backup.

Activation Lock on Apple Watch

The Find My iPhone app includes a feature called Activation Lock, which is meant to prevent your watch from being used by someone else in the event that it's lost or stolen. For versions of watchOS 2 and later this feature is engaged automatically when you set up the Find My iPhone app on the iPhone paired to your watch. This protects your Apple Watch by requiring your Apple ID and password to:

  • Unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone
  • Pair and use your Apple Watch with a new iPhone
  • Turn off Find My iPhone

You can check to see if Activation Lock is on by opening the Apple Watch app and the My Watch tab. Tap your watch name at the top of the screen, then tap the Information icon ("i"). If you see Find My Apple Watch then you'll know that Activation Lock is on.

You'll need to turn off Activation Lock if you need your Apple Watch to be repaired or if someone else is going to use it. Follow these steps:

  1. Keep Apple Watch and your iPhone close together.

  2. In the Apple Watch app on your iPhone go to the My Watch tab.

  3. Tap your watch name at the top of the screen, then the Information icon.

  4. Tap Unpair Apple Watch. If you have a cellular plan attached to your watch you will also need to tap Remove [Carrier] Plan.

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

Now you're unlocked and ready to go!