If you're the lucky owner of a new iPhone 8 or planning on picking up Apple's iPhone X, you may be wondering what to do about your current Apple Watch. Here's how to move your current wearable to your new iPhone!

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

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. This is because Apple Watch backups aren't even really backups at all: Your watch borrows most of its data from its paired iPhone, and as such, that data is all saved to your iPhone's iCloud or iTunes backup.

Your Watch will regularly sync health and app data it gathers to your iPhone (and, via your phone, iCloud) when you're connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. But you can't choose when you'd like to sync that information — it happens in the background — unless you manually unpair your Apple Watch, which will then automatically sync its latest data to your iPhone.

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.

The first step for moving your watch over is to force a backup by unpairing your watch from your existing iPhone. Follow the instructions in our backup article to do so:

How to back up your Apple Watch

Once you've done that, you're ready to move your Apple Watch over.

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 LTE Apple Watch to a new iPhone

If you've purchased an LTE Apple Watch, you'll likely have a cellular plan for that Apple Watch attached to your iPhone's account. Good news: You shouldn't need to move the plan over when you move to your new iPhone. Just follow our steps for unpairing, and you'll be all set.

That's because your iPhone's phone number and plan stay the same, even if you switch to a new iPhone (with a new SIM card inside it).


If you're moving to a new carrier along with your new iPhone, however, you'll need to check in with your new carrier for the easiest way to switch. Most likely, you'll need to do the following:

  1. Cancel your existing Apple Watch plan by calling your current carrier (but don't cancel your iPhone plan just yet).
  2. Follow your new carrier's instructions for setting up your new plan and iPhone and transferring your old number over (if applicable).
  3. Set up your Apple Watch by following the steps above.
  4. Add a new cellular account to your Apple Watch.

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, you have two options.

Option one: If you don't care about any of your Health data and the like, you can start from scratch on both devices. You'll lose your downloaded apps and your health data, including all saved workouts, GPS routes, heart rate data, and achievements.

Option two: If you want your Health data, you can transfer it to a new iPhone and Apple Watch even if they've been set up from scratch — if you use iCloud and iOS 11. To do so, you'll want to have the Health toggle switched on in Settings > iCloud. If you have a lot of Health data, you may need to wait for a good while before everything syncs, so make sure not to erase your old iPhone before this is done.

Once your Health information has synced, follow the steps below to set up 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, or sync your Health data separately via iCloud? If not, your data hasn't been saved to your backup or your iCloud account. Fixing this requires either making a new backup of your iPhone and watch (and restoring your new iPhone from that backup), using a third-party option like Health Data Importer, or waiting on iCloud to finish backing up your Health data.

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 October 2017: Updated for iPhone X and iOS 11.

Apple Watch

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