How to Factory Reset an Apple Watch

Introduction

You may need to factory reset your Apple watch as part of a troubleshooting step or if you decide to give it away or sell it. This guide will take you through steps to help get your Apple watch back to the way it was when it first came out of the box.

Performing a factory reset on your Apple watch erases everything from it. Be sure you have all appropriate data that you do not wish to lose backed up before proceeding further.

Apple Watches in different colors.

? How would you like you reset your Apple Watch?

  1. Using my iPhone
  2. Directly from Apple Watch

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You may need to factory reset your Apple watch as part of a troubleshooting step or if you decide to give it away or sell it. This guide will take you through steps to help get your Apple watch back to the way it was when it first came out of the box.

Performing a factory reset on your Apple watch erases everything from it. Be sure you have all appropriate data that you do not wish to lose backed up before proceeding further.

Apple Watches in different colors.

Depending on which version of Apple's iOS your device is running, what you see on your screen may differ slightly from these photos. However, the steps outlined in this process should be no different.

  1. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
    iPhone home screen highlighting the watch app.
  2. Tap your active watch at the top of the My Watch screen.
    Watch app highlighting the connected Apple watch.
  3. Tap the info button to the right of your current watch.
    Watch app with the information button next to the current watch highlighted.
  4. Select Unpair Apple Watch.
    Watch app with the unpair apple watch option highlighted.
  5. Confirm the process by pressing Unpair [watch name].
    Watch app unpair confirmation prompt with unpair watch button highlighted.
  6. If you have cellular service, choose to Keep or Remove your plan.
    Watch app remove cellular plan prompt offering removal options.
  7. Disable Activation Lock by entering your Apple ID password and pressing Unpair.
    Watch app prompting for the Apple ID password associated with the Apple watch.
  8. Your watch will now begin the factory reset process.
    Watch app beginning the factory reset process.

It'll take a few moments for your Apple Watch to complete the factory reset process. Once finished, your Apple Watch will have been completely reset to factory default settings.

Depending on which version of the Apple WatchOS your device is running, what you see on your watch may differ slightly from these photos. However, the steps outlined in this process should be no different.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
    Apple watch settings app icon.
  2. Tap on the General setting.
    Apple watch settings menu with the general option highlighted.
  3. Select Reset.
    Apple watch general settings menu with the reset option highlighted.
  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
    Apple watch reset menu with the erase all content and settings option selected.
  5. Type in your passcode (if prompted).
    Apple watch prompting for a passcode.
  6. Scroll or swipe to the bottom of the on-screen message and select Erase All (or, if you have a cellular plan and wish to keep it, Erase All & Keep Plan).
    Apple watch factory reset confirmation screen with available options. Multiple screenshots.
  7. Your watch will now begin the factory reset process.

It'll take a few moments for your Apple Watch to complete the factory reset process. Once finished, your Apple Watch will have been completely reset to factory default settings.

When you factory reset your Apple watch from the watch itself, the watch does not create a backup of it's information beforehand, nor does it automatically disable Activation Lock. With Activation Lock enabled, a new user won't be able to set up the Apple watch until it is disabled.

Disabling activation lock is absolutely necessary if you are giving away or selling your Apple watch, as a new user cannot use it until activation lock has been disabled.

If your Apple watch was factory reset using your iPhone's Watch app, disabling activation lock is not necessary. Activation lock is automatically disabled when factory resetting from the iPhone's Watch app.

iPhone, iPad and Apple watch displaying activation lock screens.

  1. Navigate to iCloud.com from your computer's web browser to disable Activation Lock.
    Web browser navigating to the iCloud website.
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID and password.
    iCloud.com sign in screen.
  3. Click on Settings.
    iCloud home page with the settings icon highlighted.
  4. Select your Apple Watch under My Devices.
    iCloud settings screen highlighting an Apple Watch within the my devices section.
  5. Click on the X next to your Apple Watch to remove it.
    iCloud devices screen with an X highlighted next to the selected Apple Watch device.
  6. Click Remove to confirm.
    iCloud device removal confirmation with the remove option highlighted.

Because your Apple watch has already been factory reset, there is no need to worry about the warning when selecting "Remove." Your Apple watch is now no longer associated with your iCloud account and can be setup by a new user/owner without any issues.

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