How to connect a Samsung watch to your phone

Follow our simple steps to get your Samsung watch setup with your smartphone.

If you’ve just bought a Samsung watch and are now eager to start putting it to use, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure that it’s paired to your phone.

That’s because your watch needs your phone to help generate features you typically use on your phone. So whether that’s seeing notifications about emails and messages, or making sure fitness and health data is securely stored so you can view it later, this is something you need to get right if you want access to it all on your wrist.

Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Watch 4 next to an iPhoneCredit: Saga Exceptional

Thankfully, it’s a pretty straightforward process, so whether you own an iPhone or Android phone, we’ll take you through the key steps to follow to successfully pair your Samsung watch to your phone.

Got a different smartwatch?

We also have guides on how to connect an Apple Watch to your iPhone and how to connect a Garmin watch to your phone.

Connect to an iPhone

How to connect a Samsung watch to an iPhone

If you want to pair a Samsung watch to an iPhone, you will only be able to do this with Samsung watches that launched before the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 5. That’s because those newer Samsung watches work only with Android phones.

If you have an older Samsung watch, we’ll explain below how to connect and set it up with your iPhone below, using the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as an example.

Galaxy Watch Active next to an iPhoneCredit: Saga Exceptional
Only older Samsung Galaxy watches can be connected to an iPhone
  1. First, go to the Apple App Store on your iPhone and search for the Samsung Galaxy Watch (Gear S) app.
  2. Tap the download icon to start what should be a swift download process.
  3. Press Open or go to your iPhone home screen and look for the Samsung Galaxy Watch (Gear S) icon and tap to open.
  4. If prompted, allow the app to use the Bluetooth wireless connection on your phone. This allows you to transfer data to the watch.
  5. Select your Samsung watch from the models listed and tap it to start the setup process. The app will start trying to connect to your watch using your Bluetooth connection and send a vibrating buzz to it. Tap the tick on the watch to accept the connection. (There’s a hands-on image for this in the Drive folder.)
  6. Once successfully connected, you’ll be informed on how your data will be used according to Samsung’s privacy policy. You’ll also be asked to optionally report diagnostic data. To reiterate, this is optional. Tap Agree to continue the setup process.
  7. You’ll be asked to Allow a series of things. That includes allowing the Galaxy Watch to receive and display notifications, and access your calendar and your phone contacts. You don’t have to allow all, unless you want to see that information on your watch.
  8. You may be prompted at this point to download additional features. You don’t have to download any if you don’t want to. If you don’t want to download, tap Skip.
  9. On the next screen you’ll be asked to confirm that you will connect your watch to your phone. Tap Confirm and your watch will now be connected to your iPhone.

Connect to an Android phone

How to connect a Samsung watch to an Android phone

As explained earlier, the newer Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 can be paired only to Android phones.

So if you own ones of these, or an older Samsung watch like the Galaxy Watch 3 or Watch Active, you can also follow the process explained below.

Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Watch 4Credit: Saga Exceptional
Both old and new Samsung Galaxy watches can be connected to an Android phone
  1. Look for the Google Play Store icon on your Android phone and tap it to launch.
  2. In the search bar type Galaxy Wearable (Samsung Gear) app.
  3. Tap the download button and then tap again when it changes to Open.
  4. Choose whether you want the Galaxy Wearable app to access your device’s location while using the app or don’t allow it. This access can enable features like localised weather and tracking location for exercise. You can also choose whether that tracking is precise or approximate, if you feel uncomfortable sharing precise location data.
  5. Next, choose if you want to allow Galaxy Wearable to make and manage phone calls. This is if you’d like the ability to take calls from the watch or receive notifications that someone is trying to ring you.
  6. Keep your watch nearby so the app can scan for available watches to connect to. 
  7. When you see your device, tap it to continue the setup process.
  8. The app will then send a vibrating buzz to the nearby watch and share a pin number, which should correspond to the one displayed on your phone. If they match, tap on the watch to start pairing. (There should be a hands-on pic of this in the folder)
  9. Next, you’ll see a screen explaining the features on your phone that the watch will have access to. That will include call logs, calendars and phone contacts.
  10. Allow the Galaxy Wearable app to access your watch by tapping Allow.
  11. Depending on your watch, you may be prompted to download another Plug In app from the Google Play Store. You should be automatically pushed to the right place to download it. Tap Install. You won’t need to do anything else with this Plug In. Do not press uninstall.
  12. Go back to the Galaxy Wearable app by looking for the icon on your homescreen. You may be prompted at this point to download additional features. You don’t have to download any if you don’t want to. If you want to more closely track your health, you may want to consider downloading the Samsung Health app.
  13. The next screen will explain the Samsung End User License Agreement and ask you if you’d optionally like to agree to share diagnostic data and to get updates to related apps over wi-fi automatically. These are optional. You don’t have to agree to them to use the watch.
  14. You’ll then be asked to allow the Galaxy Watch Manager to access your Samsung watch and features like photos, videos and music. You have control whether it does, depending on how much you want to share.
  15. Read through the Google Terms of Service and decide if you want to share your usage diagnostics and reports, as well as whether you agree to share data to Google’s Fit app and want to enable automatic updates of the app to make sure you have its most recent version and latest features. Hit I Agree when ready.
  16. The phone app will then get your watch ready for setup, which can take a few minutes. Once that’s completed, the app will tell you that you’re ready to start using it.
Michael Sawh

Written by Michael Sawh he/him

Updated:

Michael is a contributor for Saga Exceptional. He’s a freelance journalist who has covered consumer technology for over a decade and specializes in wearable and fitness tech. Previously editor of Wareable, he also co-ran the features and reviews sections of T3, and has a long list of bylines in the world of consumer tech sites.

With a focus on fitness trackers, headphones, running wearables, phones, and tablet, he has written for numerous publications including Wired UK, TechRadar, GQ, Men’s Fitness, BBC Science Focus, Metro and Stuff, and has appeared on the BBC Travel Show.

Michael is a keen swimmer, a runner with a number of marathons under his belt, and is also the co-founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers.

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