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Did you upgrade to the newest Apple Watch? Before selling or giving away your old one, it’s essential to reset the watch to its factory settings. A factory reset can give you a fresh start if you’re having performance issues with your current watch. If you’re unsure how to do it, this guide can help!

The best way to reset your watch is by using your connected iPhone. You can reset your phone on your watch if your phone isn’t handy. You can even factory reset your watch if you’ve forgotten your passcode. Follow these easy instructions to learn how to factory reset your Apple Watch in only five steps. Let’s get started!

Factory Reset Apple Watch Using iPhone

The recommended way to reset Apple Watch is using your iPhone. This method not only creates a backup you can use to set up a new watch but also erases your content and removes Activation Lock. Keep your iPhone close, and let’s factory reset your watch!

Step 1: Open the Watch App on the Phone

Tap the black watch icon to open the Watch app.

Step 2: Open My Watch and Tap All Watches

On My Watch, tap All Watches in the top left-hand corner.

Step 3: Tap the Information Icon

Tap the “i” in the circle on the right of the image on watch you’d like to reset.

Step 4: Unpair Apple Watch

Click Press Unpair Apple Watch, then Unpair again when the pop-up appears.

With GPS plus Cellular model watches, you will be given a choice to either keep the cellular plan or remove it. If you are selling or giving away the watch, remove your plan. If you are planning to re-pair the watch at a later time, keep your plan.

Step 5: Enter Your Password and Tap Unpair

Enter your password in the provided field and tap Unpair.)

Because Activation Lock keeps another person from using your watch, you will need to disable this feature before selling it or giving it away.

Your phone will create a backup of your watch before it erases your content and settings. When the process is complete, the Start Pairing screen will become available on your phone.

Factory Reset Using Apple Watch

You can still reset your watch to factory settings if your phone isn’t nearby. Unfortunately, this method will not create a backup or remove the Activation Lock. You will still need to unpair the watch from the connected iPhone to disable the Activation Lock.

Step 1: Open the Settings App

Tap the grey gear on your Home Screen to open Settings.

Step 2: Open General

Tap on General.

Step 3: Tap Reset

Reset is second from last near the bottom of the list.

Step 4: Erase All Content and Settings

Tap Erase All to reset your watch unless you are planning to pair Apple Watch again.

With GPS plus cellular models, you will be asked if you want to “Erase All” or “Erase all and Keep Plan.”

To reset your watch to factory settings, you need to disable Activation lock by unpairing the watch from your phone. If you no longer have the phone, you can go to iCloud.com to remove Activation Lock by following these steps:

  1. Login to iCloud.com with an Apple ID and password.
  2. Go to the Find My app.
  3. Select your watch from the All Devices menu.
  4. Click on Erase Apple Watch, then follow the directions.
  5. Then click the button to remove your Apple Watch.

Factory Reset Apple Watch Without the Passcode

If you can’t open Settings on your watch because you forgot the passcode, you can still factory reset your watch. You can either use your connected iPhone, or you can do it directly on your watch. Choose the best method for you, then follow the steps to reset your watch.

Factory Reset Apple Watch Using iPhone With No Passcode

Make sure your phone is close to your watch, then follow these steps:

  1. Open the Watch app on the phone.
  2. Under My Watch, tap General.
  3. Scroll to the very bottom and tap Reset.
  4. Tap on Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings.
  5. Tap Erase All Content and Settings to Confirm.

If you have a GPS plus Cellular model, you will have to choose to keep or remove your cellular plan.

Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings, then confirm.

Factory Reset Using Apple Watch With No Passcode

If you don’t have your phone with you, reset using your watch by following these steps:

  1. Connect Apple Watch to its charger.
  2. Press down on the side button and hold it until the sliders on the Power Off screen pop up.
  3. Press the Digital Crown and hold it until the Reset screen appears.
  4. Scroll down and tap Reset.  
  5. Tap Reset again on the next screen to confirm.
When the Reset screen appears, tap Reset and confirm.

According to Apple, when you reset your watch using this method, Activation Lock is enabled. Unpair the watch from your phone to turn off Activation Lock, or visit iCloud.com to turn it off by erasing and removing the watch from your associated devices.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you factory reset your Apple Watch. In just five easy steps, your watch is a clean slate! Now you can start over with your watch or pass it on for a new owner to enjoy!

How To Factory Reset Apple Watch In 5 Steps (With Photos) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the best way to factory reset my Apple Watch?

The recommended way to reset your watch to factory settings is via iPhone. This is the only method that creates a backup, erases your content, and disables Activation Lock.

Can I factory reset Apple Watch without my iPhone?

Yes, you can factory reset your watch without your phone, but you will need your phone later to unpair the devices and remove Activation Lock.

Can I factory reset my Apple Watch if I no longer own the paired iPhone?

Yes, you can still factory reset your watch if you don’t have the phone anymore. Follow the steps to reset directly on your watch, then visit iCloud.com to erase and remove the watch from your devices.

Can I factory reset my watch without my passcode?

Yes, you can either use the Watch app on the phone, or you can reset it directly on your watch using the charger method.

Why do I need to turn off Activation Lock?

Activation Lock is a security feature to prevent others from using your watch if you lose it or it is stolen. Activation Lock must be disabled by the original owner before the watch is sold or given away.

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