How do I back up my Apple Watch? Most of it gets taken care of automatically!
Updated February 2017: Added information about iCloud and Health backups.
If you're slightly confused about how to backup your Apple Watch's data and settings, you're not alone. When your Apple Watch is connected with your iPhone, it does most of the heavy-lifting for you Thankfully, Apple put out a helpful support document outlining this how it all works.
How often does my iPhone back up my Apple Watch?
According to Apple, it's an automatic process, so we imagine it's similar to services like iCloud Photo Library and the like — any time your devices are within range, it will feed a steady stream of data between the two. In theory, the Watch should use a Bluetooth handshake to send this information to your iPhone, dropping to Wi-Fi if it can't achieve a strong BT connection.
Does the backup live on my iPhone? What happens if I lose it?
Your Watch backup does live on your iPhone, but if you back up your device to iCloud or iTunes, your Watch information will be stored alongside your iPhone backup. So as long as you regularly back up your iPhone, your Watch backup should be A-OK, as well.
Can I send my Watch backup to another iPhone?
Not unless that new iPhone is being restored from your old iPhone's backup; otherwise, you'll have to set up your Watch as a new device with the new iPhone.
What will my iPhone back up?
According to Apple, this is the information your iPhone is regularly saving:
- General system settings, such as your watch face, known Wi-Fi networks, brightness, sound, and haptic settings
- Time Zone
- Settings for Mail, Calendar, Stocks, and Weather
- App-specific data and settings, such as Maps, distance, and units
- Health and Fitness data, such as history, achievements, Workout and Activity calibration data, and user-entered data.
Note: To back up Health and Fitness data, you need to use iCloud or an encrypted iTunes backup.
What won't my iPhone back up?
In general, the Apple Watch won't back up anything to your iPhone that's data-intensive or security-focused. Specifically, here's what Apple lists:
- Bluetooth pairings
- Playlists synced to your Apple Watch
- Credit or debit cards used for Apple Pay on your Apple Watch
- Passcode for your Apple Watch
As such, if you want to unpair and re-pair your Apple Watch, you'll have to put your local music back on the device, re-enter your Apple Pay cards, and set up your passcode once more.
I'm afraid my Apple Watch hasn't backed up and I need to unpair it. What do I do?
Don't panic: When you unpair your Watch from your iPhone, as long as your iPhone is in range, it will make a backup.
Still curious about Apple Watch and backups? Give us a shout if you have any other questions and we'll try to answer them.