How to prepare your old Apple Watch for sale

With a new Apple Watch here, it might be time to consider what you'll have to do to sell or give away your old smartwatch. The majority of your Apple Watch's data lives on your iPhone, so it's not a particularly complicated process to prepare your watch for a potential buyer or relative. Here's how to go about it!

When to prepare your old Apple Watch for sale

If you're still actively using your Apple Watch, you'll want to wait to follow these steps until you have your new Apple Watch in house — otherwise, you risk breaking Activity streaks or other records by having days between when you last sync your current Apple Watch and set up your new one.

If it's an Apple Watch you're not currently using, you can get it ready for sale at any point — there's no risk of lost data.

How to unpair your Apple Watch and make a backup

When you unpair your Apple Watch via your iPhone's Watch app, it automatically syncs the latest data from your smartwatch before restoring it to factory settings. It's the best and smartest way to save your most recent data while preparing your old watch for sale.

How to unpair and restore the Apple Watch

Finish preparing your Apple Watch for sale

Once you've reset your Apple Watch's software, it's time to make it look nice for a potential buyer. You'll need to decide if you're selling it or giving it away with its current band setup, clean the casing, bundle cords, and figure out where to sell it.

Clean up the casing

Simply cleaning the data on your old Apple Watch isn't enough: You should clean the casing as well. Whether the steel is as stainless as the day it shipped or your aluminum shows some well-worn chips, you want to make the best of your Apple Watch's situation.

Take a few minutes to carefully, considerately wipe that watch down with a damp cloth and make sure all dirt, oil, lint, and other stains, debris, and even fingerprints are gone from every nook and cranny.

How to clean, buff, and remove scratches from your stainless steel Apple Watch

This is especially true if you intend to sell your Apple Watch yourself and need to take photos. In that case, don't just polish it up, but put it in great lighting and make sure every angle shines.

Don't be dramatic, and don't try to hide anything. That way is where refunds lurk. Simply make it look as good as possible and take good photos. An honest sale is a good sale.

Collect cables and bands

If you're selling your Apple Watch yourself, we suggest including its magnetic charger, AC Adapter, and even the original box if you still have it — it'll give you an edge over other sellers. We also recommend including its original band or an effective substitute if the original is no longer in usable condition.

How to swap out your Apple Watch band

Also, if you have any bands that you no longer wear or won't be using, you can add them to sweeten the deal and declutter your accessories drawer, too.

Put it up for sale

Once you're finished virtually and physically cleaning your Apple Watch, it's time to sell it (or give it away). Not sure where to go about that? We've put together a list of the best places to get the most bang for your buck.

How to sell your Apple Watch

Any other questions about preparing your Apple Watch for sale?

If you have any questions about unpairing your Apple Watch or otherwise getting it ready for sale, let us know in the comments below!

Updated September 2019: Updated for Apple Watch Series 5.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).