How to fix Apple watch not pairing to new phone

We’ve all been there—you just unboxed your shiny new smartphone, and with great anticipation, you eagerly try to pair your trusty Apple Watch. Instead of a smooth transition, however, you’re met with frustration as your watch stubbornly refuses to pair. This is a common obstacle, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. How to fix your Apple Watch not pairing to your new phone might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not exactly tech-savvy. However, with the right guidance, it’s a hurdle you can easily overcome.

You may be thinking it’s a convoluted process, but fear not. Just like learning to ride a bike, it’s all about understanding the steps and then putting them into practice. Take a deep breath and ready yourself, because it’s time to roll up your sleeves and delve into this step-by-step solution. No need for panic, no need for a pricey trip to the tech support. Here are the simple steps you need to follow.

How to fix Apple watch not pairing to new phone

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Common Reasons Why Apple Watch Won’t Pair to new phone

Apple Watches are wonderfully intuitive devices, but they can sometimes fail to pair with a new phone, leaving users perplexed. Let’s delve into some of the common reasons why this might happen:

  1. Bluetooth Connectivity Issues: Bluetooth is the primary means through which your Apple Watch connects to your iPhone. If your Bluetooth is not turned on, or if there are issues with its connectivity, your Apple Watch will not pair. In some cases, other devices or physical barriers can interfere with Bluetooth signals, causing connectivity problems.
  2. Software Compatibility Problems: For your Apple Watch and iPhone to pair and work together seamlessly, they need to be running compatible software versions. If your iPhone or Apple Watch is outdated, or if either device is running a beta version of its operating system, this can lead to pairing issues. Similarly, sometimes, newly released updates can also cause temporary compatibility problems until patches are released.
  3. Incorrect Setup Procedures: As simple as it may seem, setting up your Apple Watch to pair with your iPhone involves a specific sequence of steps. If these steps are not followed correctly, you may run into pairing problems. For instance, your Apple Watch needs to be reset when switching to a new iPhone, and failing to do this might prevent the watch from pairing with the new device.

Initial Checks Before Troubleshooting

Before you dive into more complex troubleshooting procedures, there are a few basic checks you can perform. These initial steps can often solve your pairing issue, saving you the need for further, more complicated solutions.

  1. Verifying Bluetooth is Enabled: Bluetooth is essential for the pairing process. Check that the Bluetooth is turned on in your iPhone by navigating to Settings and then to the Bluetooth option. Make sure it is toggled on, and the status is showing as “On”.
  2. Confirming Sufficient Charge on Devices: Both your Apple Watch and iPhone need to have sufficient battery power for the pairing process. Low power mode can sometimes hinder certain functionalities. If either device is low on battery, charge them to at least 50% before attempting to pair.
  3. Ensuring Apple Watch is Not in Airplane Mode: Airplane mode disables all wireless connections, including Bluetooth. Check to ensure that your Apple Watch is not in Airplane Mode. You can do this by looking at the control center (swipe up on the watch face). If the airplane icon is highlighted, then tap on it to turn off Airplane Mode.

Ways to fix Apple watch not pairing to new phone

1. Restarting Your Devices

Sometimes, the simplest solution to fix a technology glitch is to turn the device off and then back on again. A restart can clear temporary software bugs and help the devices reconnect. Here’s how you can restart both your devices:

  1. Restarting Your Apple Watch:
    • Press and hold the side button (not the digital crown) on your Apple Watch until you see the Power Off slider.
    • Drag the Power Off slider to the right.
    • Wait for the device to completely power off.
    • After it’s turned off, press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo, indicating it is turning back on.
  2. Restarting Your iPhone:
    • For iPhone X or later, press and hold either volume button and the side button until the power off slider appears.
    • For iPhone SE (2nd generation), 8, 7, or 6, press and hold the side button until the power off slider appears.
    • For iPhone SE (1st generation), 5, or earlier, press and hold the top button until the power off slider appears.
    • Drag the slider, then wait 30 seconds for your device to turn off.
    • To turn your device back on, press and hold the side (or top) button until you see the Apple logo.

Remember to turn both devices off and back on again. After doing so, try the pairing process again to see if the issue has been resolved.

2. Verifying Software Updates

Running the latest software on your devices is key to ensuring smooth compatibility and performance. If your iPhone or Apple Watch is not updated to the latest version, it might face issues while pairing. Here’s how you can verify and install any pending software updates:

  1. How to Update Your iPhone:
    • Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi and make sure it has enough charge, or connect it to a charger.
    • Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’, then tap on ‘Software Update’.
    • Tap ‘Download and Install’. If a message asks to temporarily remove apps because the software needs more space for the update, tap ‘Continue’ or ‘Cancel’. Later, iOS or iPadOS will reinstall apps that it removed.
    • To update now, tap ‘Install’. Or you can tap ‘Later’ and choose ‘Install Tonight’ or ‘Remind Me Later’.
    • Enter your passcode if asked.
  2. How to Update Your Apple Watch:
    • Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi and keep your Apple Watch on its charger until the update is completed.
    • On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app, then tap the ‘My Watch’ tab > ‘General’ > ‘Software Update’.
    • Download the update. If asked for your iPhone passcode or Apple Watch passcode, enter it.
    • Wait for the progress wheel to appear on your Apple Watch. It could take from several minutes to an hour for the update to complete.

If your devices are already updated to the latest software version, consider the next troubleshooting steps to resolve the pairing issue.

3. Resetting Network Settings on Your iPhone

Sometimes, network issues might be preventing your Apple Watch from pairing with your iPhone. Resetting network settings on your iPhone can help clear any network-related problems. However, this should be done with caution as it has a few implications.

  1. Steps to Reset Network Settings:
    • Open ‘Settings’ on your iPhone.
    • Scroll down and tap on ‘General’.
    • Scroll down again and tap on ‘Reset’.
    • Tap on ‘Reset Network Settings’.
    • If prompted, enter your passcode.
    • You’ll then be asked to confirm that you want to reset your network settings. Do so.
  2. Possible Implications of Resetting Network Settings:
    • Resetting network settings will erase all network settings, returning them to factory defaults. It will remove all Wi-Fi networks and passwords, cellular settings, and VPN and APN settings that you’ve used before.
    • You will need to reconnect to Wi-Fi networks and re-enter passwords after this reset.
    • Any paired Bluetooth devices will be unpaired and need to be paired again.

Given these implications, it’s good to be certain that you have all necessary information (like Wi-Fi passwords) at hand before proceeding with this step.

4. Unpairing and Re-Pairing the Apple Watch

If your Apple Watch still isn’t pairing with your new iPhone, it may help to unpair the two devices and then pair them again. This can essentially reset the connection between them. Here’s how:

  1. How to Unpair Your Apple Watch:
    • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
    • Tap ‘My Watch’ tab, then tap ‘All Watches’ at the top of the screen.
    • Tap the ‘info’ button (it looks like an “i” in a circle) next to the watch you want to unpair.
    • Tap ‘Unpair Apple Watch’. For cellular models, choose to keep or remove your cellular plan.
    • Enter your Apple ID password if prompted, to disable Activation Lock. Then tap again to confirm.

Note: Unpairing via the Apple Watch app will automatically back up most of your information, but you might lose Fitness calibration data or some credit, debit, or prepaid cards used for Apple Pay on your watch.

  1. Pairing Your Apple Watch Again:
    • Turn on your Apple Watch and bring it close to your iPhone.
    • Wait for the “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch” message to appear on your iPhone, then tap ‘Continue’.
    • Hold your iPhone over the animation on your Apple Watch until your iPhone says ‘Your Apple Watch is Paired’.
    • Tap ‘Set Up as New Apple Watch’ or ‘Restore from Backup’, depending on your preference.
    • Follow the instructions on your iPhone to complete the setup.

If you have successfully unpaired and re-paired your devices but the issue persists, consider the next step, which involves resetting your Apple Watch.

5. Resetting the Apple Watch

If you’ve tried the previous troubleshooting steps and your Apple Watch is still not pairing with your new iPhone, a last resort can be to reset your Apple Watch. This process erases all content and settings on your watch, allowing you to set it up as new.

  1. How to Back Up Your Apple Watch:
    • The Apple Watch backs up its data automatically to your iPhone, so ensure that they are in range of each other.
    • On your iPhone, go to the Apple Watch app, tap ‘My Watch’, then ‘General’, then ‘Reset’.
    • Tap ‘Reset Sync Data’. This will erase all contacts and calendar data from your Apple Watch and re-sync from your iPhone. The reset happens in the background and may take some time.
  2. Steps to Reset Your Apple Watch:
    • On your Apple Watch, tap ‘Settings’.
    • Then go to ‘General’ > ‘Reset’.
    • Tap ‘Erase All Content and Settings’, then tap again to confirm. If you have an Apple Watch with a cellular plan, you’re offered two options—’Keep Plan’ and ‘Remove Plan’. Choose the one that fits your needs.
    • Wait for the process to finish, then set up your Apple Watch again. When setting it up, choose to restore from a backup. Your watch will then be restored with all your previous data, except for the passcode.

Remember, resetting your Apple Watch should be one of the last resorts, as it requires more time and effort to get your watch back to the state it was in prior to the reset.

6. Seeking Professional Help

If you’ve exhausted all the above steps and your Apple Watch is still not pairing with your new iPhone, it might be time to seek professional help. Issues could range from hardware problems to complex software glitches that are best handled by a professional.

  1. When to Contact Apple Support:
    • If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and nothing seems to resolve the issue, reaching out to Apple Support should be your next step.
    • If you observe any physical damage or unusual behavior from your Apple Watch or iPhone, it’s recommended to contact Apple Support immediately.
    • If your devices are still under warranty or you have AppleCare, you might be eligible for free or discounted repairs.
  2. Finding an Authorized Apple Service Provider:
    • Visit the Apple support website and navigate to the ‘Service and Repair’ section.
    • Click on ‘Find a store or an authorized service provider’.
    • Enter your location to see a list of the nearest authorized service providers.
    • From there, you can choose a provider and schedule an appointment.

Remember, unauthorized repairs might void your warranty and could potentially harm your device. Always seek help from Apple or an authorized service provider to ensure that your devices get the best possible care.

Preventative Measures for Future

It’s always beneficial to prevent issues rather than having to troubleshoot them later. Keeping your devices healthy and taking certain measures can help avoid potential pairing issues between your Apple Watch and iPhone in the future.

  1. Keeping Devices Updated:
    • Regularly update your iPhone and Apple Watch with the latest software updates as they often contain bug fixes and improvements for device compatibility and performance. You can enable automatic updates in your device settings for hassle-free updates.
    • It’s equally important to update your apps regularly as outdated apps can sometimes cause device performance issues.
  2. Tips for Successful Pairing in the Future:
    • Always ensure that your iPhone and Apple Watch are close to each other when you’re trying to pair them.
    • Make sure that Airplane Mode is turned off on both devices, and that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled on your iPhone.
    • Keep your devices charged. A low battery level can sometimes interfere with the pairing process.
    • Reset your Apple Watch before pairing it with a new iPhone. This can help ensure a clean slate for the new connection.

By following these tips, you can ensure smoother and more successful pairings between your Apple Watch and iPhone in the future, reducing the chances of encountering similar issues again.


In wrapping up, it’s clear that various factors can affect your Apple Watch’s ability to pair with a new phone. Start with the basics—ensure Bluetooth is enabled, and both devices are charged. If those boxes are checked, you might be dealing with software compatibility issues or incorrect setup procedures. Make sure your devices are running the latest software, and follow the correct pairing sequence. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to reach out to Apple Support or an authorized service provider. And lastly, take preventative measures for a smoother experience in the future: keep your devices updated and follow best practices for successful pairing. By adhering to these steps, you can resolve most pairing issues and enjoy the seamless functionality between your Apple Watch and new iPhone.


Why won’t my Apple Watch pair with my new iPhone?

 Several factors can disrupt pairing, like Bluetooth issues, outdated software, or incorrect setup procedures.

How do I ensure my Apple Watch and iPhone are correctly set up for pairing?

 Ensure Bluetooth is enabled, both devices are charged, and you’re following the correct pairing process.

What if my devices are updated and setup correctly, but still won’t pair?

 Try resetting network settings, unpairing and re-pairing, or even resetting your Apple Watch.

When should I seek professional help if my Apple Watch won’t pair with my new iPhone?

If the issue persists despite all troubleshooting steps, it’s time to contact Apple Support or an authorized service provider.

What steps can I take to prevent pairing issues in the future?

 Keep your devices updated, follow best practices for pairing, and reset your Apple Watch before pairing with a new iPhone.