How To Factory Reset an Apple Watch

Why would you want to reset your Apple Watch? After all, once it’s firmly attached to your wrist, it should be here to stay, right?

There are several reasons why you want to reset your Apple Watch to factory settings (maybe you are looking for an upgrade to the new Apple Watch Series 6). You may be downgrading to a newer model and selling or giving away your old one. Maybe you’ve lost yours or stole it and want to make sure that no one can access your data. Or maybe you’ve encountered an issue that is affecting the performance of your watch and a factory reset has been recommended. Whatever your motivation, it can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, or don’t know what it means.

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What is an Apple Watch factory reset?

Performing a factory reset on your Apple Watch simply means restoring it to its original state when it left the factory, when it was new. This involves erasing all data and erasing all your personal settings so that they return to their standard operating settings.

Before you factory reset an Apple Watch

The most important thing to do before performing a factory reset is to back up your data. If you don’t, you will lose all of your personal data.

If your Apple Watch is connected to an iPhone and the iPhone is backed up to iCloud, your Apple Watch should also be automatically backed up. However, if your backup is on a Mac, make sure that the iPhone backup is encrypted in order to preserve your Apple Watch data. Your data is probably backed up automatically, but if not, perform a manual backup before performing the factory reset.

Apple Watch Series 6 (left) and Apple Watch SE (right) Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

How to reset an Apple Watch to factory settings

Factory reset your Apple Watch is very simple and only takes a few steps.

There are two ways to reset your Apple Watch to factory settings. You can either unpair and reset through the Watch app on your iPhone, or reset it without your iPhone, right on the watch. However, if you go for the second method, you may need to turn off the Activation Lock feature before you sell or give it away, so that it can be set up for use on someone else’s iCloud account. no one. Wait for this explanation.

The easiest way to do a factory reset is to use the Watch app on the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired with. This involves unlinking the watch from the phone, which will therefore delete all data on the watch.

Factory reset your Apple Watch using the iPhone Watch app

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone. If you can’t find it, use the iPhone’s search feature.
  2. Once in the Watch app, you should see your watch listed. To choose General, then scroll down to find Reset.
  3. Tap Erase Apple Watch content and settings. A warning will appear asking if you are sure you want to unpair and reset the watch, as this cannot be undone.
  4. Wait for the Apple Watch to unpair and reset. It will take a few minutes as it will delete all old data and revert to factory settings.

If you don’t have access to the iPhone paired with your Apple Watch, you can reset it directly on the watch.


Perform a factory reset using your Apple Watch

  1. Scroll through the apps in your app cloud on your watch until you find Settings – it has an icon that looks like a gear.
  2. Open Settings, then press General.
  3. Scroll down the list, and then tap Reset.
  4. Tap Clear all content and settings. Here you will see a message warning you that if you do not unpair the watch from an iPhone first, you may need to remove the Activation Lock before the watch can be linked to another iCloud account. We will examine this later.
  5. Scroll down and press Reset all.
  6. Apple Watch will then erase all your personal data and revert to factory settings.

Remove Activation Lock from your Apple Watch

If you don’t have access to the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired with and therefore need to reset Apple Watch from the watch itself, you might need to turn off Activation Lock. This is used to link your Apple Watch to your iCloud account for security reasons. It’s important to remove the activation lock if you sell or give away your watch so that it can be associated with a new iCloud account. For that, proceed as following:

  1. Sign in to your iCloud account on
  2. Go to Find the iPhone.
  3. To select All devices at the top of the map and choose your Apple Watch.
  4. To select Remove from account then confirm.

Following these simple steps allows you to quickly and easily restore your Apple Watch to factory settings, which means you can sell or give it away without a problem, or just keep it running like new. And if you’re looking for other smartwatch options, check out the best Black Friday smartwatch deals for 2020.

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