How to Reset and Unpair Apple Watch

Every now and then there comes a time when you need to reset your devices. It’s almost a law of nature — it happens with the best of laptops, desktops, and yes, even smartwatches. Maybe your Apple Watch feels slow or sluggish after years of use, maybe you want a clean slate, or maybe you’re selling it off and need to remove your personal information from it. So, if you’re unsure how to go about it, here is how to reset and unpair your Apple Watch.

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Unpair and Reset Apple Watch Using iPhone

The most fool-proof way to factory reset your Apple Watch is by using the ‘Watch’ app on your iPhone. Here’s what you need to do. This way you can also erase your Apple Watch data if that’s what you want to do.

  • In the Watch app on your iPhone, tap on your watch’s name. Next, tap on the “ⓘ” icon.

How to Reset and Unpair Apple Watch

  • Tap on ‘Unpair Apple Watch‘ and confirm your choice.

  • You will now have to enter your Apple ID password in order to disable the Activation Lock from the Watch. Once you’ve entered the password, tap on ‘Unpair’ in the top-right of the screen.

That’s it. Once you’ve done that, your Apple Watch will start taking a backup of its data on your iPhone and then reset itself to factory settings. This entire process can take some time. Once the process is complete, you can re-pair the watch to your iPhone if you want, or you can sell it, or hand it down to someone.

Reset Apple Watch Directly from the Watch

If, you’re simply looking to get a fresh start with your Apple Watch and pair it again with your own iPhone, you don’t need to disable the Activation Lock since you’ll be using it with the same Apple ID. Here’s how to do that:

  • Open ‘Settings‘ on your Apple Watch and tap on ‘General‘.

  • Here, go to ‘Reset‘. Tap on ‘Erase All Contents and Settings’. You may need to enter your passcode.

  • Tap on ‘Erase All‘.

Your Apple Watch will now reset to factory settings and you can set it up with your iPhone again.

Unpair Apple Watch After Reset

If you’ve reset your Apple Watch directly from the watch itself, and you wish to give it away to someone else, you will need to disable the Activation Lock otherwise the watch will not pair with another iPhone. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to iCloud on your laptop or desktop computer and sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  • Click on ‘Account Settings

  • Under My Devices, select your Apple Watch.

  • Click on the ‘X’ next to your watch to remove it from your iCloud account and then click on ‘Remove’.

You can now safely hand-over your Apple Watch to someone else.

How to Reset Apple Watch Without Passcode

If you have forgotten your Apple Watch password, you can still do a hard reset. Here’s how to do that.

  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app. Scroll down and tap on ‘General -> Reset’.
  • Tap on ‘Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings’ and confirm the action.
  • You may have to enter your Apple ID password in order to complete this action.

Your Apple Watch will now reset and erase all its contents. You can then set it up again and set a new passcode for your watch.

Earlier you could have done this via the watch itself. However, that requires a force touch interaction on the power off slider in Apple Watch. Unfortunately, with watchOS 7, Apple has removed Force Touch, so you can’t use that method. If a new method is discovered, we will update this article.

FAQs About Resetting an Apple Watch

Q. How do I get rid of someone else’s Apple ID on my Apple Watch?

A. If your Apple Watch is prompting you to enter the password to someone else’s Apple ID, it’s because of Activation Lock. Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of this. You will have to ask the previous owner of the watch to input that information on your Apple Watch to get past that.

Q. How do I turn off Apple Watch activation lock without previous owner?

A. As mentioned in the previous answer, this is a security feature and can not be removed by you unless you have the previous owner’s Apple ID credentials. If you don’t, you will have to ask them to remove the activation lock.

Q. Can you bypass activation lock on Apple Watch? Can activation lock be removed?

A. No, activation lock on Apple Watch is a feature to prevent someone from stealing your Apple Watch and using it. It can’t be bypassed. It can be removed by entering the previous owner’s Apple ID only.

Q. How to Clear RAM in Apple Watch?

If your apps are getting stuck and you are thinking about resetting your watch because of that, you should first try to clear RAM and force restart apps. To do this, just press and hold the side button until the power off slider comes up. Now press and hold the digital crown. That’s it.

Reset Your Apple Watch and Get a Fresh Start

Personally, I have reset my Apple Watch only twice — once because I had filled it too much with third party apps and I didn’t want to go through the pain of uninstalling them all, and the other time for this article to take the required screenshots. So yeah, there will be times when you might want to reset your Apple Watch, and now you know how you can go about it. Just keep in mind that if you don’t want to lose your Apple Watch data, you should always unpair it using your iPhone. Otherwise your data will not be backed up.

Comments 2
  • Edward Lipson says:

    I tried every single one of these fixes and none of them worked

  • Brian says:

    Anyway to remove passcode from watchos 7 yet? Work required my watch to unlock by using my phone. Unpaired watch, reset phone back to iOS 13 from 14 and now watch is stuck on watchOS 7. Hard press is disabled so can’t reset it from watch itself and it’s not paired to my phone anymore. I’m at a loss. Help!!

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