How to Unpair and Erase Your Apple Watch

There are many reasons why you may want to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone. Perhaps you've bought a new smartwatch and want to sell your old Apple Watch (and get rid of your personal data). Or, you may be having a technical problem and need to restore your watch to factory settings. No matter the reason, we're here to help.

Unpairing your Apple Watch is a painless and quick process. You can do it either through the Watch app on your iPhone or using the Apple Watch itself.

How to Unpair Your Apple Watch If You Have Your iPhone

As you already know, the Watch app on your iPhone is the primary communication method between your smartphone and smartwatch. It doesn't come as a surprise that you can unpair your Apple Watch using your iPhone via that same app.

You'll need to do the following:

1. First and foremost, we recommend charging both your Apple Watch and iPhone, as you wouldn't want either of those devices to run out of juice. Also, you need to keep your Apple Watch and iPhone close together as you unpair them.

2. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone. Make sure you're on the "My Watch" tab (in the bottom-left corner). Access your smartwatch by tapping on "All Watches" in the top-left corner.

Unpair Apple Watch Iphone Watch App

3. Hit the information icon or the "i" icon to the right of your Apple Watch details, then tap on "Unpair Apple Watch."

4. If you have a "GPS + Cellular" model, you can choose to keep or remove your cellular plan. If you plan on repairing your watch (and you know that you'll use it again in the future), choose "Keep." If you plan on selling your Apple Watch, feel free to remove your cellular plan.

Unpair Apple Watch Final Steps

5. Finally, confirm your decision, and you'll be asked to verify your Apple ID. In addition to that, you may need to disable "Activation Lock" (more on that later on in the article). Once you confirm your decision and input your details, your Apple Watch will unpair from your iPhone.

Before it begins deleting your content, your iPhone will create a new backup of your Apple Watch. This will come in handy, as you can use that backup point to restore it to a new watch. And, of course, this process will erase everything from your Apple Watch, reinstalling its operating system with default settings in the process. That means you can sell it without worrying about your private data.

How to Unpair Your Apple Watch If You Don't Have Your iPhone

If you don't have your iPhone with you and still want to unpair your Apple Watch, it's possible to do so directly from your wrist.

1. Navigate to "Settings -> General -> Reset." Tap on "Erase All Content and Settings." If you have a passcode enabled, your Apple Watch will ask you to input that code.

Unpair Apple Watch Settings App

2. If you own a "GPS + Cellular" Apple Watch model, you will see an option to "Erase All" or "Erase All & Keep Plan." If you plan on using your smartwatch in the future, you'll want to go with the first option. If you're selling your Apple Watch, make sure to remove your plan as well.

Unpair Apple Watch Without Iphone Settings App

3. Finally, you need to tap on "Erase All" to confirm your decision. This will prompt your Apple Watch to start deleting its data. Once the process is done, your smartwatch will reset to its factory settings.

Turn Off Activation Lock

If you've set up "Find My iPhone" on a device paired with your Apple Watch, keep in mind that "Activation Lock" will be automatically turned on. If you are planning to sell your smartwatch, we recommend deactivating this feature.

1. Go to using any web browser (it's best to do this via a computer) and sign in using your Apple ID and password.

Unpair Apple Watch Icloud Homepage

2. Navigate to "Find iPhone," select "All Devices" at the top of the screen, and select your Apple Watch.

Unpair Apple Watch Activation Lock Icloud

3. This is when you'll see the last known location of your smartwatch, along with three helpful tools in the top-right corner. You'll need to click on "Erase Apple Watch."

Unpair Apple Watch Erasing Device Icloud

4. Confirm you want to erase the watch. And lastly, once the process is complete, click on the "X" next to your Apple Watch to remove it from your iCloud.

Your Apple Watch is now unpaired, restored to factory settings, and with "Activation Lock" turned off. You can feel free to pair it with a new iPhone in the same way as any other new Apple Watch.

Wrapping Up

Now that you've learned how to unpair and erase your Apple Watch, you may also want to know how to switch your Apple Watch to a new iPhone. And in case you plan on buying a new model, make sure to check our tips and tricks on making good use of your Apple Watch.

Isaac Norman

Isaac is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience covering the latest technological innovations. Mainly focused on Apple-related software and hardware systems, his aspiration is to explore all the ways today's digital world intertwines with our everyday life.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox