10 Ways to Fix Apple Watch Not Connecting or Pairing to Phone

Apple Watch Not Connecting Or Pairing

Typically, an Apple Watch should connect or pair to an iPhone without any issue. But if your Apple Watch is not connecting or pairing to a new iPhone, it fails to connect to your existing iPhone, or you receive an error message on your iPhone explaining that you’re unable to connect to the Apple Watch, this tutorial can help. Let’s examine the different ways to fix your Apple Watch not connecting or pairing to your iPhone.

1. Restart iPhone and Apple Watch

You must begin the troubleshooting process to fix your Apple Watch not connecting or pairing to your phone by simply restarting your Apple Watch and the paired iPhone.

To restart your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Long-press the side button on your Apple Watch (not the Digital Crown) until you see the Power menu. Tap on the Power icon.
  2. Slide the Power off slider to the right to turn off your watch.
Apple Watch Restart
  1. Wait for 10 to 15 seconds, then turn on the Apple Watch again by using the side button.

To restart your iPhone, go to “Settings → General → Shut down” to turn off your iPhone. Wait for a few seconds, then turn on the iPhone again.

Iphone Restart

2. Keep Apple Watch and iPhone Near Each Other

If you are pairing a new Apple Watch, or your Apple Watch keeps getting disconnected from the paired iPhone, you must keep both of them in close proximity. The further they are from each other, the higher the chance that they will fail to connect or pair.

3. Charge Devices

Both the iPhone and Apple Watch must be charged to at least 50 percent while pairing. If either of the devices has a low battery, you will face issues when connecting the Apple Watch to your iPhone.

Tip: you should also try turning Low Power Mode off on your Apple Watch. Also, learn how to maximize the Apple Watch battery.

4. Turn on Bluetooth

Bluetooth must be enabled on both the Apple Watch and the iPhone, otherwise, the watch will disconnect from the phone. To ensure that it’s enabled on both devices, follow these steps:

  1. Go to “Settings → Bluetooth” on your Apple Watch.
Apple Watch Bluetooth
  1. Enable the toggle next to “Bluetooth.”
Apple Watch Bluetooth Enable
  1. Similarly, on your iPhone, go to “Settings → Bluetooth.” Enable Bluetooth via the toggle.
Iphone Bluetooth

5. Turn Off Airplane Mode

You also must ensure that Airplane Mode is turned off on your Apple Watch and the connected iPhone. If Airplane Mode is enabled on either of the devices, you will face issues while connecting your Apple Watch to your iPhone.

  1. On your watch, open “Settings → Airplane Mode.” Turn off the toggle next to “Airplane Mode.”
Apple Watch Airplane Mode
  1. Similarly, go to “Settings” and turn off the toggle next to “Airplane Mode” on your iPhone.
Iphone Airplane Mode

Good to know: Are you frustrated because you’re not getting notifications on your Apple Watch? Read our guide on how to fix it.

6. Update the Apple Watch App

An outdated version of the Apple Watch app on your iPhone could also cause connection issues between the two devices, due to bugs in the older version. Therefore, you must update the Apple Watch app to the latest version.

  1. Open App Store on your iPhone and search for “Watch.”
  2. Tap on the “Update” button next to the Apple Watch app.

7. Update iPhone and Apple Watch

Similarly, you must check and update the software of both your iPhone and Apple Watch to the latest versions. If either of the two has an older version, it could conflict with the new version, resulting in connection issues.

To update iOS on your iPhone, go to “Settings → General → Software Update.”

Iphone Update

To update watchOS, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Go to “General → Software update.” Install the update, if available.

Apple Watch Update

Tip: when updating the watch software, try using a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network instead of 5 GHz, as the Apple Watch Series 5 and earlier only support a 2.4GHz network. Read on to learn about the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

8. Unpair Your Devices

If the Apple Watch is still not connecting to your iPhone, you must unpair it and then re-pair it.

To unpair the Apple Watch from the iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on “All Watches” at the top, then tap on the informa (i) icon next to your watch.
Apple Watch Settings Iphone
  1. On the next screen, tap on “Unpair Apple Watch.”
Apple Watch Unpair
  1. Wait for the Apple Watch to unpair.
  2. Pair the watch again to your iPhone by holding the watch close to your iPhone. When you see the “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch” pop-up on the iPhone, tap on “Continue,” then follow the on-screen instructions.

Pro Tip: you can try unpairing the Apple Watch by going to “iPhone Settings → Bluetooth,” Tap on the information (i) icon next to your Apple Watch and select “Unpair.”

9. Pair Your Apple Watch to a New iPhone

If you have purchased a new iPhone, and your Apple Watch isn’t pairing with the new phone, you must unpair the watch from the old iPhone first.

If you have access to the old iPhone, use the steps mentioned earlier to unpair it from the watch, then pair it with the new iPhone.

However, if you don’t have the old iPhone, you must erase the Apple Watch first. Go to “Settings” on your watch, then “General -> Reset -> Erase all content & settings.”

Apple Watch Reset

Your Apple Watch will be unpaired from the old iPhone. Bring the watch near the new iPhone to pair it.

Good to know: once paired, learn how to make custom watch faces for your Apple Watch.

10. Reset Network Settings on iPhone

The Apple Watch not connecting or pairing to your iPhone can be resolved by resetting the network settings of your iPhone. Doing so will restore all f the network settings, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc., to their default values, thus fixing any problem affecting the connection between the Apple Watch and iPhone.

To reset the network settings on your iPhone, go to “Settings → General → Transfer or reset iPhone → Reset → Reset network settings.”

Iphone Reset Network Settings

Frequently Asked Questions

Does resetting your Apple Watch reset your iPhone?

Resetting your Apple Watch will not factory reset your iPhone or delete anything from the phone.

How many phones can you pair an Apple Watch to?

You can pair an Apple Watch to only one iPhone. However, you can pair multiple watches to the same iPhone.

All images and screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq.

Mehvish Mushtaq
Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she's always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She's been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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