How To Disconnect Apple Watch: Here’s How You Can Do It

by Eugene Lewis

The Apple Watch has become an indispensable accessory for many, seamlessly integrating technology with our daily lives through fitness tracking, notifications, and more. However, there may come a time when you need to disconnect or unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone—whether upgrading to a new device, troubleshooting issues, or preparing to pass it on to someone else. Understanding how to disconnect your Apple Watch properly ensures the safety of your data and the smooth transition of the device’s service from one user to another. This article will guide you through the necessary steps and considerations for disconnecting your Apple Watch, ensuring you can manage this process with confidence and ease.

How To Disconnect Apple Watch?

Disconnecting your Apple Watch from your iPhone is essential, particularly if you’re looking to upgrade to a new watch, sell your current one, or simply troubleshoot some persistent issues. The process ensures not only the removal of personal data but also the deactivation of services like Apple Pay and the disentanglement of any cellular plans associated with the watch. Here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide to navigating this process with ease:

Prepare Your Devices: Before you start, ensure your Apple Watch and iPhone are charged and close together. This proximity is crucial for the seamless execution of the disconnection process. It’s also an excellent moment to quickly check that your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS and your Apple Watch the latest version of watchOS, to prevent any compatibility issues.

Backup Your Data: The Apple Watch automatically backs up its data to your iPhone, ensuring that you can restore your settings and preferences if you pair it with a new watch. To trigger a manual backup, keep your devices near each other and connected to Wi-Fi. This step is critical to ensure no data loss occurs during the disconnection process.

Initiate the Unpairing Process: Open the Watch app on your iPhone, which acts as the control center for all things related to your Apple Watch. Navigate to the ‘My Watch’ tab, tap ‘All Watches’ at the top of the screen, and choose the watch you wish to unpair. Press the info button next to the watch’s name, and select ‘Unpair Apple Watch.’ For those with a cellular model, you’ll be given the choice to keep or remove your cellular plan. Opting to keep the plan can be beneficial if you pair your watch with another iPhone shortly.

Verify Your Identity: To proceed, you’ll need to enter your Apple ID password. This step is crucial for disabling Activation Lock, a security feature that prevents others from using your device without your permission. Removing this lock is essential for the new user to set up the watch under their Apple ID.

Complete the Disconnection: After confirming the unpairing on your iPhone, the Apple Watch will begin erasing all content and settings, effectively returning it to its factory state. This erasure includes all apps, settings, and personal data. On your iPhone, the Watch app will remove the device from your list of paired devices, completing the disconnection process.

Directly Erasing Apple Watch (Alternate Method): If you don’t have access to your iPhone or prefer to erase your Apple Watch without using the iPhone, you can do so directly from the watch. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch, navigate to ‘General’ > ‘Reset,’ and select ‘Erase All Content and Settings.’ This will erase everything from the watch but won’t remove the Activation Lock. Therefore, this method is generally recommended only if you can access both the watch and the iPhone to ensure a complete disconnection.

How To Back Up Apple Watch Data Through The iPhone?

Backing up your Apple Watch data through your iPhone is automatic when the watch is paired with the phone. However, understanding how this process works and ensuring that you have a recent backup before unpairing or resetting your device is crucial. Here’s a detailed guide on how to ensure your Apple Watch data is backed up through your iPhone:

Understand the Backup Process:

Apple Watch backups are not manual operations but occur automatically. These backups include most app data, settings, and health and fitness data. However, it does not include Bluetooth pairings, credit or debit cards used for Apple Pay, the watch passcode, and messages. This automatic backup happens under certain conditions, such as during unpairing.

Ensure Your Devices are Paired:

For a backup, your Apple Watch must be paired with your iPhone. You can check this by opening the Watch app on your iPhone and ensuring that your watch appears under the “My Watch” tab.

Keep Your Devices Close Together:

To facilitate a smooth backup process, make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone are near each other. This is especially important during the unpairing process, where an immediate backup is created.

Update Your Devices:

Keeping your iPhone and Apple Watch updated to the latest versions of iOS and watchOS ensures that any backup and restore processes go smoothly. Updates can include improvements to the backup and restore procedures, ensuring your data is safely secured.

Initiate the Unpairing Process for Backup:

Start the unpairing process when you’re ready to create a backup. Open the Watch app on your iPhone, go to the “My Watch” tab, tap “All Watches,” and then select the info button next to the watch you want to unpair. Tap “Unpair Apple Watch” and follow the prompts. This process automatically creates a new backup of your watch’s data stored on your iPhone.

Verify Backup Completion:

After unpairing, you can ensure the backup was successful by checking the available backups when re-pairing the Apple Watch or another watch. During the pairing process, you’ll be given the option to restore from a backup; here, you can see the latest backup date.

Manage Storage if Necessary:

If storage space concerns your iPhone, you can manage and review the size of your Apple Watch backups by going to the iPhone’s Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Watch. Here, you can see the backups and potentially remove old or unnecessary backups to free up space.

Step-By-Step Guide On Accessing The Settings App On The Apple Watch

Accessing the Settings app on your Apple Watch is straightforward and allows you to customize various aspects of your device directly from your wrist. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate through the Settings app on your Apple Watch:

  • Wake Your Apple Watch: Start by waking your Apple Watch. You can do this by tapping the screen or raising your wrist. The watch face will light up, indicating that the watch is awake and ready for interaction.
  • Access the Home Screen: Press the Digital Crown (the round button on the side of your Apple Watch) once. This action will bring you to the Home screen, where all your apps are displayed as a grid or list, depending on your settings.
  • Navigate to the Settings App: From the Home screen, look for the Settings app icon, which resembles a gear. If your apps are displayed in grid view, swipe around or rotate the Digital Crown to zoom in or out and find the Settings app. In list view, you can scroll through the list with your finger or the Digital Crown until you find the Settings app.
  • Open the Settings App: Tap the Settings app icon to open it. This will bring up the Settings menu, where you can adjust various options for your Apple Watch.
  • Explore Settings Options: Within the Settings app, you can scroll through various options to customize your Apple Watch experience. These options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Sounds & Haptics, Display & Brightness, and more. Each option provides further settings to adjust; for example, in Sounds & Haptics, you can modify volume levels, haptic strength, and silent mode settings.
  • Adjust Your Desired Settings: Tap on any setting you wish to adjust. For example, to change the brightness of your watch’s display, tap “Display & Brightness” and use the slider to adjust the brightness level. Similarly, to connect to a Wi-Fi network, tap “Wi-Fi,” then choose a network and enter the password if necessary.
  • Return to Previous Menu or Home Screen: After making adjustments, press the back arrow at the top left corner of the screen to return to the previous menu. To exit the Settings app and return to the Home screen, press the Digital Crown.


Mastering how to disconnect your Apple Watch from your iPhone, ensuring your data is backed up, and navigating the Settings app on your Apple Watch are essential skills for any Apple Watch user. These processes safeguard your personal information, prepare your device for transitions, and allow you to customize your watch to suit your preferences and needs. Whether you’re upgrading to a new device, selling your current one, troubleshooting issues, or simply aiming to personalize your watch’s settings, understanding these procedures ensures a seamless and secure user experience. Remember, the key to a smooth transition and optimal device usage is to follow the outlined steps carefully and be mindful of the nuances involved in each process.

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