How to connect an Apple Watch to a new phone 

Connecting your Apple Watch to your iPhone is as easy as (Apple) pie

If you want to connect an Apple Watch to a new phone, you may be feeling a little uncertain about what lies ahead. But this isn’t as difficult as Frodo trying to deliver the ring to Mount Doom.

Apple makes life as easy as it possibly can for its users, so getting your Apple Watch up and running is a straightforward process. 

We’ll explain the key steps you need to follow, to help you get set as quickly and smoothly as possible. We’ll run through what you need to do if this is your first Apple Watch, and we’ll also explain what you need to do if you are replacing your iPhone, and need to move your watch from your old device to your new one. 

Apple Watch SE during setupCredit: Saga Exceptional

If you’re exploring the possibility of buying an Apple Watch as your first foray into smartwatches, just remember that you can’t use an Apple Watch with an Android phone – it only works with iPhones.

Theres not just one Apple Watch model either, so if you are feeling spoilt for choice, we can help you decide which Apple Watch is right for you.

Featured product

Apple Watch Ultra

RRP: From £849

Apple Watch Ultra

Featured product

Apple Watch 8

RRP: From £419

Apple Watch 8

Featured product

Apple Watch SE

RRP: From £259

Apple Watch SE

If you have an Android phone you will want to consider an alternative such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Once you have your iPhone and Apple Watch and you’re ready to get started, here’s everything you need to know. 

Got a different smartwatch?

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

Connect a new Apple Watch to an iPhone

If you have a new Apple Watch that you’re pairing for the first time

As we mentioned above, Apple has a track record of making life as easy as possible for consumers.

This user-friendly approach is one reason it is such a popular brand. And setting up your new Apple Watch is no exception. Here’s what you need to do: 

Step 1: Turn on your watch by pressing and holding the crown button on the side of the watch; you can release the button once the Apple logo appears. 

Step 2: You’ll be prompted to bring your iPhone near to your Apple Watch. A pairing screen will appear on your iPhone once the two devices connect. Tap ‘Continue’. 

Step 3: Tap ‘Set Up For Myself.  

The set up Apple Watch page, with options to 'set up for myself' or 'set up for family member'Credit: Saga Exceptional
You’ll be presented with two options on your iPhone during step 3

Step 4: Next, youll be prompted to use your iPhone camera to start the pairing process. When this is complete, youll see a screen confirming that: Your Apple Watch is Paired.

Step 5: At the bottom of the screen, it says: Set Up Apple Watch. Tap on this and follow the instructions on the screen.  

Two screens from the Apple Watch set up process: the first says 'use camera to set up Apple Watch'. the second says 'your Apple Watch is paired'.Credit: Saga Exceptional
Steps 4 and 5 require you to use your iPhone’s camera to pair the handset with your Watch

Step 6: You’ll go through a series of different screens. For instance, asking you to agree to Apple’s terms and conditions, choose which wrist the Watch will be worn on, set activity targets for Apple Health, and even enter details about certain medications that can influence cardio fitness estimates.

A selection of screens from the Apple Watch setup process. One asking you specify wrist preference, one regarding medications, and an 'app view' screenCredit: Saga Exceptional
You can set some initial customisation options during step 6 of setup

Step 7: Once you’ve gone through all these screens, you’ll reach a screen that says: ‘Welcome to Apple Watch’. Tap: ‘OK’. Your Apple Watch is now set up and ready to use. 

Pair your current Apple Watch to a new iPhone

Existing watch, but new phone?

The process for switching your existing Apple Watch from one iPhone to another is a little different, but still relatively simple. 

Before you get started: 

  • Make sure that you know your Apple ID and password. If you aren’t sure what these are, then Apple offers some tips on how to reset them. 
  • You’ll also need to make sure both your old and new iPhones are connected to the same wi-fi network. 
  • Your iPhone and Apple Watch need at least 50% charge – or you can have them plugged in and charging. 
  • It’s also recommended that you make sure your old iPhone and your Apple Watch are updated to the newest version of iOS and WatchOS that’s available. 

How to pair your current Apple Watch to a new iPhone

Step 1: Start by making sure that you’ve backed up your current iPhone by using iCloud Backup. You can get more information on iCloud and how to use it here.

Step 2: Once your data is backed up, you can set up your new iPhone. As you go through the setup process, you’ll get to a screen with the heading Apps and Data. On this screen, choose to ‘Restore from iCloud Backup’. Make sure you select the most recent backup to ensure you don’t lose any data. 

Step 3: Continue following the setup process. Eventually, you’ll come to a screen that gives you the option to use your Apple Watch with your new phone. 

Step 4: Once your new phone is set up, your Apple Watch will prompt you to pair it with your new iPhone. To complete this step, tap ‘OK’ on your watch, and then enter its passcode.

Your Apple Watch will now be linked to your new iPhone, and you can carry on tracking your health to your heart’s content.  

But what if you’ve already wiped your old iPhone? Don’t worry, all is not lost. 

Wiped or lost your iPhone?

You can still connect your Apple Watch

Losing your old phone or wiping it before youve transferred your data isnt ideal, but it can be mitigated to an extent. It is a slightly longer process: 

Step 1: Start by unpairing and erasing your Apple Watch. 

Step 2: Next, set up the new iPhone, and as above, restore your data from iCloud. If your new phone is already set up, you don’t need to do this. 

Step 3: Open the Apple Watch app on your new phone, and pair your watch (following instructions above). 

Step 4: You may get the option to restore from a backup. If this is available, then select the most recent backup to minimise the amount of data that may be missing. If you don’t have a backup, set up your Apple Watch as a new device. 

Your Apple Watch is now ready to use

Whichever one of these processes you needed to follow, you should now find yourself with a fully functional Apple Watch connected to your iPhone. And you can enjoy the many features that Apple Watches have to offer.  

Whether that’s trying Apple Fitness Plus, or using it to track your strength training or swimming (just check whether your Apple Watch is waterproof before diving in), or myriad other forms of exercise, the Apple Watch can be a great companion in your health and fitness journey. 

Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him


Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.