How to pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone using the Watch app

  • You can pair an Apple Watch with an iPhone using the Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Before you pair your Apple Watch, make sure that the devices are compatible, and that your iPhone is updated to the latest version of iOS.
  • Once you’ve paired your Apple Watch, you’ll be able to use all of its features, including on-wrist phone calls and text messaging.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

So, you’ve taken the plunge and purchased your first Apple Watch.

Now you can track your physical activity, your sleep (using third-party apps), and easily access your phone calls and texts on your wrist all day long.

But first you’ll need to pair your watch with an iPhone. Here’s how to get started on it.

How to pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone

Check your compatibility

First things first – make sure your watch is compatible with your iPhone model. Hopefully you did this before purchasing the Apple Watch, but if you didn’t, don’t open the box until you’ve verified this information.

Here’s a list explaining what Apple Watches work with which iPhones.

Also, make sure your iPhone iOS is up to date. You can check what iOS you are running by going to Settings > General > About and scrolling down to see which “Version” you have.

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Before pairing your Watch, make sure your iPhone is up-to-date.

Pair your Watch and iPhone using the Watch app

Once you’ve verified that your Apple Watch will work with your iPhone, make sure your Bluetooth is on, and that your iPhone is connected to WiFi or a cellular network.

Make sure you have the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and if not, download it from the Apple Store.

iPhone Apple Watch App
The Watch app comes pre-installed on most iPhones.

Now follow these steps:

1. Turn your Apple Watch on. Press and hold the button on the right side of your Apple Watch until you see the white Apple logo on a black background. It may stay on this screen for a few minutes.

Apple Watch turning on
Hold the circled button to turn your Apple Watch on.

2. Select your language and region.

3. Hold your watch close to your iPhone. Wait for “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch” to appear on your iPhone. Tap the “Continue” button on your iPhone and click “Start Pairing” on the Watch. If you don’t get the message on your phone, open the Apple Watch app and click “Start Pairing.”

iPhone Start Pairing Apple Watch
If your iPhone doesn’t automatically prompt you to begin pairing, you can open the Watch app and begin it manually.

4. An animation will appear on your Apple Watch. Point your iPhone’s camera at the Watch and center the Watch-shaped window over the Watch’s screen. You’ll get an alert saying that the Watch is paired. At this stage, it may ask you to update the Watch OS. Do so.

5. Otherwise, it will display a screen asking whether you’d like to restore your Apple Watch from a backup, or “Set Up as New Apple Watch.” If this is your first time using an Apple Watch you should tap “Set Up as New Apple Watch.” However, if you have a previous backup, you can choose to load it onto your Apple Watch.

iPhone Apple Watch paired
Even if you’ve previously backed up your Watch, you can still set it up as if it were new.

6. Select what wrist you will wear it on, your left or right wrist. If you choose right, you will have to choose which side you would like the Digital Crown (the wheel used to control the Watch) to be on.

Apple Watch wrist preference
Depending on which wrist you wear your Watch on, the screen will be oriented differently.

7. Read the Terms and Conditions, and then tap “Agree” to continue.

8. Sign into your iCloud Account. It may automatically log you in. Otherwise, enter your iCloud information on your phone.

9. You’ll now be able to choose which settings to turn on, and which settings your iPhone will share with your Apple Watch. This includes route tracking, sharing watch analytics with Apple, access to Siri, and access to the “Find My” app. If you don’t have Find My set up on your iPhone, you’ll have to turn on Activation Lock. This locks your Watch to your iCloud Account so it can’t be reset and used by anyone else.

Apple Watch shared settings
Your Apple Watch can share a number of settings with your iPhone.

10. At this stage you’ll be asked to create a passcode. You can choose from a 4-digit or 8-digit passcode. Input your passcode twice on your Apple Watch. You can choose to skip this step, but if you want to use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch then you’ll need to have a passcode set up.

The good news? If you have Wrist Detection on, when you’re wearing the watch, you won’t have to enter your passcode to unlock it. A passcode is only required once you take it off your wrist.

Apple Watch passcode with skitch
Clicking “Add a Long Passcode” will allow you to set an 8-digit passcode.

11. The app will walk you through setting up more features, such as Heart Health, Apple Pay, and Emergency SOS.

12. If you have a Cellular Plan, you’ll set this up next.

13. Select which apps to add to your Watch. You can choose to add all the Apple Watch compatible apps that you have currently on your iPhone, or you can skip this step and manually select apps from the Apple Watch App after you’ve completed setup.

Apple Watch available apps
You can install apps onto your Watch at any time, so don’t feel pressured to add them all right away.

14. Wait for your Apple Watch to sync. Depending on how much data you’re transferring this might take some time. Keep the devices close together. Once the sync is complete, you’ll hear a chime.

And that’s it. Enjoy your Apple Watch!

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