How to Pair an Apple Watch With a New iPhone

It's easy to connect the Apple Watch to a new iPhone

It's always exciting to get a new iPhone. But if you've already got an Apple Watch that you want to pair to the new iPhone, you have to follow the right set of steps to ensure you don't lose any data. Here's how to pair Apple Watch with a new iPhone.

Ideally, you have both the new iPhone and the old one you're upgrading from. If you don't, skip to the "What to Do If You Don't Have Your Old iPhone" section at the end of this article.

How to Pair an Apple Watch With a New iPhone

7 apple watch features that should be in next iphone
image credit ChinaFotoPress/ Stringer/Getty Images
  1. Begin on the old iPhone that you're replacing. On that phone, first upgrade it to the latest version of the iOS. When that's complete, check to see whether your Apple Watch needs to be upgraded to the latest version of watchOS. If so, perform the upgrade.

    This might seem unnecessary, but it's not. Your new iPhone will be running the latest OS, so you need to upgrade both the old iPhone and the Watch to ensure that all data transfers properly and setup goes smoothly.

  2. Make sure that your old iPhone is syncing your Apple Watch Health and Activity data to iCloud. This is key to transferring the data to your new iPhone.

    Do this by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud and make sure the Health slider is set to on/green.

  3. Back up your old iPhone to a Mac or PC or back up your old iPhone to iCloud, whichever you prefer.

    If you use a Mac or PC, make sure you check the option to encrypt the backup. If you don't do that, your Health and Activity data won't be backed up and it won't transfer to your new iPhone. You don't want to lose all of that data!

  4. Set up your new iPhone and choose to restore the back up you made in the previous step.

  5. When the iPhone asks if you want to use your Apple Watch, tap Continue.

    If this option isn't presented to you, you'll need to unpair your Apple Watch from your old iPhone, pair it to your new phone, and then restore the Watch's data from backup.

  6. Put the new iPhone and your Apple Watch near each other. On the iPhone, open the Apple Watch app.

    • If the iPhone prompts you to confirm that you want to use the Watch, follow the onscreen instructions.
    • If the iPhone prompts you to start pairing the Watch, first unpair it from the old one and then continue.

What to Do If You Don't Have Your Old iPhone

resetting iphone
When you see this screen, the iPhone is rebooting. iPhone image: KP Photograph/Shutterstock

If you no longer have access to your old iPhone, or if you already erased the iPhone or reset it to factory settings, your Apple Watch could still be paired to the old iPhone. To pair the Watch to your new iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Erase your Apple Watch. On the Watch, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Follow the onscreen instructions.

  2. Set up your new iPhone, if you haven't already done so.

  3. Pair the Watch with your new iPhone.

  4. Restore the Watch from a backup when you're given the option. If you don't have a backup, you'll have to set up the Watch as new and will lose your data (unless you've been backing up to iCloud, that is. In that case, as long as you're signed into the same iCloud account as the old iPhone, it should be synced).

    Depending on how much iCloud data needs to sync to your new iPhone and your Watch, it could take hours or even days for the data to appear.

What to Do If Your Health and Activity Data Is Missing

Screenshots of the Health Data section of the Apple Health app

If you've set up your Apple Watch with a new iPhone, you want to be sure that all of your Health and Activity data is present. After all, you don't want to lose months or even years of health and workout data! If your Health and Activity data is missing, you have a few options:

  • If you back up this data to iCloud, make sure your new iPhone is signed into the iCloud account you use on your Watch and on your old iPhone. Next, make sure the Health slider is set to on/green in Settings > [your name] > iCloud. Then, connect it to Wi-Fi. This will start the process of syncing data from iCloud to your phone. Depending on the amount of data, this could take minutes or days.
  • If you have a backup of your old iPhone, try restoring it onto the new iPhone. Remember, the backup has to be encrypted or it won't include Health and Activity data. If you still have the old iPhone, you can make a new backup and then restore.

If you didn't back up your data to iCloud, or don't have your old iPhone anymore or erased it, unfortunately you won't be able to get your data back and will need to start from scratch.