How to unpair and reset Apple Watch to factory settings

How do you unpair, reset, and totally remove Activation Lock from your Apple Watch? We'll show you!

Apple Watch is like a shuttlecraft to iPhone's starship, but it's a shuttlecraft that still holds your data and is bound to your Apple ID. Before you sell, give away, or otherwise divest yourself of an Apple Watch, you need to unpair it first. That not only deletes all your private data, it removes the device from your account, and Activation Lock along with it.

Unpairing and repairing can also be extremely useful for troubleshooting issues that have resisted every other type of fix.

Important: Unpairing using the Watch app on iPhone creates a current backup that's stored on your iPhone. Unpairing by resetting your Apple Watch directly does not create a current backup. (The previous night's backup would be the most current.) If you absolutely need a current backup, make sure you unpair using the Watch app.

How to unpair you Apple Watch using the Watch app for iPhone

  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom, if you're not already there.
  3. Tap on the Watch you want to unpair at the top.
  4. Tap on the Info button to the right of the Watch details (looks like an i in a circle.)

  5. Tap on Unpair Apple Watch.
  6. Tap on Unpair [Watch name] to confirm.
  7. Enter your Apple ID Password to remove activation lock.

It'll take a few moments to backup your Apple Watch and complete the unpairing process. Once it's done, though, the Apple Watch formerly known as yours will be as empty as the day you unboxed it.

How to reset your Apple Watch on your Apple Watch

If you don't have your iPhone handy you can still wipe your Apple Watch directly from your Apple Watch. Just keep in mind this won't create a current backup on your iPhone and won't remove Activation Lock the way unpairing will. If you want to not only wipe your Watch but wipe it from your account as well, you'll have to do it later via the Find my iPhone app or iCloud.com.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Reset.

  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Type in your passcode (if enabled).
  6. Tap on Continue to confirm the reset.

Any Apple Watch unpairing questions?

If you have any questions about unpairing your Apple Watch or about Apple Watch in general, drop them in the comments below!