How to restore your Apple Watch from a backup

If you get a new Apple Watch, or had to reset yours to resolve an issue, restoring from a backup is simple!

Updated February, 2017: Added new screenshots, modified instructions to account for the ability to pair multiple watches to the same iPhone.

Unlike most modern Apple products, you have no real options for how your Apple Watch is backed up. For iOS devices, it's iCloud, iTunes, or both. For macOS its Time Machine or a number of third-party backup solutions. For watchOS, all you can do is unpair your Apple Watch when you're having problems or getting ready to move to a new watch.

The good news is this: your Apple Watch backs up automatically during that unpair process. There's no extra button to hit, and no way, at least under normal use, to stop the process. It backs up, unpairs from your iPhone, and that's it. From there, you can use that backup to restore that watch or move all of its settings, data, and apps to a new watch.

Here's how you restore an Apple Watch from a backup.

How to restore your Apple Watch from a backup.

  1. Turn on your Apple Watch if it isn't already on.
  2. Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  3. Tap Pair a new Apple Watch to pair an additional watch or Start Pairing if you've got the one Apple Watch.
  4. Frame your Apple Watch's screen in the yellow box to pair it. If it doesn't work, you can tap the text at the bottom of the screen to Pair Manually.

    Launch Apple Watch app, tap Pair, frame watch in box

  5. Tap on Restore from Backup once your watch has been successfully paired to your iPhone.

  6. Tap on the backup you'd like to restore from.
  7. Tap on Agree for the iTunes terms and conditions.

    Tap Restore from Backup, choose backup, tap Agree

  8. Tap Agree once more in the popup menu.

  9. Enter your Apple ID if you're pairing your only watch.
  10. Tap OK on the Shared Settings request.
  11. Create a passcode for your Apple Watch.

    Tap Agree, tap OK, create passcode

  12. Choose whether you'd like your Apple Watch to unlock automatically when your iPhone is unlocked.

  13. Set up Apple Pay to be able to pay for purchases with your watch.
  14. Tap Continue on the Emergency SOS screen.

    Choose to unlock watch when unlocking iPhone, set up Apple Pay, tap continue

  15. Wait for your Apple Watch to finish syncing. This process could take several minutes to complete.

  16. Tap OK on the Welcome to the Apple Watch App screen.

    Wait for sync, tap OK


If you've got any questions about restoring an Apple Watch, be sure to let us know down in the comments.

Allyson Kazmucha contributed to a previous version of this article.