How to pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone

Christine KopaczewskiOnce your Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone, all of its features become available.

So, you’ve taken the plunge and purchased your first Apple Watch.

Now you can track your sleep, steps, and easily access your phone calls and texts on your wrist all day long.

But if you want to reap all the benefits of your newest accessory, you’ll need to pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone.

Here’s how to get started.

Before you begin

First things first – make sure your watch is compatible with your iPhone model. Hopefully you did this before purchasing the Apple Watch, but if you didn’t, don’t open the box until you have verified this information.

Also, make sure your iPhone iOS is up to date. You can check what iOS you are running by going to Settings > General > About and scrolling down to see what “Version” you have.

IPhone version readingChristine KopaczewskiBefore pairing your Watch, make sure your iPhone is up-to-date.
  • Apple Watch First Generation is compatible with iPhone 5 or later, running iOS 8.2 or later.
  • Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 are compatible with iPhone 5 or later, running iOS 10 or later.
  • Apple Watch Series 3 has two models, one with a cellular plan like your phone (LTE) and one without (Non-LTE). LTE is compatible with iPhone 6 or later, and Non-LTE is compatible with iPhone 5s or later. Both need iOS 11 or later.
  • Apple Watch Series 4 also has two models, with LTE being compatible with iPhone 6 or later, and Non-LTE being compatible with iPhone 5s. Both need iOS 12 or later.

How to pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone

Once you’ve verified that your Apple Watch will work with your iPhone, make sure your Bluetooth is on, and that your iPhone is connected to WiFi or a cellular network. Make sure you have the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and if not, download it from the Apple Store.

IPhone Apple Watch AppChristine KopaczewskiThe Watch app is free, and comes preinstalled on most iPhones.

Now follow these steps:

1.Turn your Apple Watch on. Press and hold the button on the right side of your Apple Watch until you see the white Apple logo on a black background. It may stay on this screen for a few minutes.

Apple Watch turning onChristine KopaczewskiHold the circled button to turn your Apple Watch on.

2. Select your language and region.

3. Hold your watch close to your iPhone. Wait for “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch” to appear on your iPhone. Tap the “Continue” button on your iPhone and click “Start Pairing” on the Watch. If you don’t get the message on your phone, open the Apple Watch app and click “Start Pairing.”

IPhone Start Pairing Apple WatchChristine KopaczewskiIf your iPhone doesn’t automatically prompt you to begin pairing, you can open the Watch app and begin it manually.

4. An animation will appear on your Apple Watch. Point your camera over the Watch and center the Watch-shaped window over the Watch screen. You will get an alert saying that the Watch is paired. At this stage it may ask you to update the Watch OS.

5. Otherwise, it will display a screen asking whether you would like to restore your Apple Watch from a backup, or “Set Up as New Apple Watch.” If this is your first time using an Apple Watch you should tap “Set Up as New Apple Watch.” However, if you have a previous backup, you can choose to load it onto your Apple Watch.

IPhone Apple Watch pairedChristine KopaczewskiEven if you’ve previously backed up your Watch, you can still set it up as if it were new.

6. Select what wrist you will wear it on, your left or right wrist. If you choose right, you will have to choose which side you would like the Digital Crown (the wheel used to control the Watch) to be on.

Apple Watch wrist preferenceChristine KopaczewskiDepending on which wrist you wear your Watch on, the screen will be oriented differently.

7. Read the Terms and Conditions, and then tap “Agree” to continue.

8. Sign into your iCloud Account. It may automatically log you in. Otherwise, enter your iCloud information on your phone.

9. You will now be able to choose which settings to turn on, and which settings your iPhone will share with your Apple Watch. This includes route tracking, sharing watch analytics with Apple, Siri, and Find My iPhone. If you don’t have Find My iPhone set up on your iPhone, you will have to turn on Activation Lock. This locks your Watch to your iCloud Account so it cannot be reset and used by anyone else.

Apple Watch shared settingsChristine KopaczewskiYour Apple Watch can share a number of settings with your iPhone.

10. At this stage you will be asked to create a passcode. You can choose from a 4-digit or 8-digit passcode. Input your passcode twice on your Apple Watch. You can choose to skip this step, but if you want to use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch then you’ll need to have a passcode set up.

The good news? If you have Wrist Detection on, when you’re wearing the watch, you won’t have to enter your passcode to unlock it. A passcode is only required once you take it off your wrist.

Apple Watch passcode with skitchChristine KopaczewskiClicking ‘Add a Long Passcode’ will allow you to set an 8-digit passcode.

11. The app will walk you through setting up more features, such as Heart Health, Apple Pay, and Emergency SOS.

12. If you have a Cellular Plan, you will set this up next.

13. Select which apps to add to your Watch. You can choose to add all Apple Watch compatible apps that you have currently on your iPhone, or you can skip this step and manually select apps from the Apple Watch App after you’ve completed setup.

Apple Watch available appsChristine KopaczewskiYou can install apps onto your Watch at any time, so don’t feel pressured to add them all right away.

14. Wait for your Apple Watch to sync. Depending on how much data you’re transferring this might take some time. Keep the devices close together. Once the sync is complete, you’ll hear a chime.

15. Enjoy your Apple Watch!

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