How do you switch your Apple Watch over to a new iPhone? Back it up and restore your iPhone backup!

If you're the lucky owner of a new iPhone or planning on picking up Apple's newest rumored iPhone, you may be wondering what to do about your Apple Watch. Here's how to go about it!

Want to find out how you can pair a new watch with an existing iPhone? Here's how to set up a new Apple Watch.

How to prepare your Apple Watch for moving to a new iPhone

Unlike your iPhone, there's no easy way to manually make a backup of your Apple Watch to iCloud; backups are intrinsically tied to your iPhone's iCloud or iTunes backup. As such, while your Watch will sync its data to your iPhone regularly when you're connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, you can't manually choose to back up your information (unless you manually unpair your Apple Watch, which will then automatically sync its latest data to your iPhone backup).

So what do you do when you want to switch iPhone models? Unpair your Apple Watch from your old smartphone, disable Activation Lock, and make a backup of your iPhone. Here's how!

Note: Because you can't use your Apple Watch while it's unpaired from your iPhone, we recommend waiting until you have both your old and new iPhone in hand before starting this process.

How to back up your Apple Watch

Once you follow the instructions in our backup article, you're now ready to move your Apple Watch over to your new iPhone.

How to switch your Apple Watch to a new iPhone

  1. Set up your new iPhone from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
  2. Once your iPhone has restored, open the Watch app. (You can also bring your Apple Watch near your iPhone to bring up a similar interface to the AirPods pairing screen, which will then launch the Watch app.)
  3. Follow the instructions: How to set up and pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone

How to switch your Apple Watch to a new iPhone without a backup

If you're thinking about starting over on your new iPhone from scratch, without a backup, that means sacrificing your old Apple Watch data, as well. From Apple's support document:

Without an iPhone backup, you'll need to set up your Apple Watch as new. You will lose any previous Activity, Workouts, or settings, but your other content will sync from the new iPhone to your Apple Watch.

In short: Your base Apple Watch data should transfer via iCloud, but you'll lose any previous Activity, Workouts, and settings data, along with which apps you've installed on your Apple Watch.

  1. Follow steps 1-8 under How to prepare your Apple Watch for moving to a new iPhone.
  2. Once your iPhone has restored, open the Watch app. (You can also bring your Apple Watch near your iPhone to bring up a similar interface to the AirPods pairing screen, which will then launch the Watch app.)
  3. Follow the instructions: How to set up and pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone

Troubleshooting tips for moving your Apple Watch

Running into issues moving your Apple Watch over from one device to another? Here are a few suggestions.

I can't pair my Apple Watch to my new iPhone!

You may still need to disable Activation Lock on your old iPhone. Check to see if your old device is still paired; worst case, try to reset your Apple Watch from the watch itself.

How to use Activation Lock on Apple Watch

My health data disappeared!

Did you back up via iCloud or encrpyted iTunes backup? If not, your data didn't get saved to your backup. Fixing this requires either making a new backup of your iPhone and watch (and restoring your new iPhone from that backup), or using a third-party option like Health Data Importer.

How to save and back up your Health data on Apple Watch

Other problems plague me!

Apple itself has a pretty good troubleshooting page for moving your Apple Watch over if you have any other issues.

Questions?

Any problems or questions with getting your Apple Watch working with your new iPhone? If so, let me know!

Updated August 2017: Overhauled to reflect iOS 10 & 11/watchOS 3 & 4 setup steps.