How to backup and restore your Apple Watch

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 26 May 2015

The Apple Watch has a backup mechanism that allows you to save important Apple Watch data on your iPhone. These backups allow you to reset your Watch and pick up right where you left off. Read on to find out how to create a backup and restore your Watch using this saved information.

How the Apple Watch Creates a Backup

Backups are created automatically when you unpair a Watch from an iPhone. The unpairing process erases all data from the Watch, while saving a copy of that information on the companion iPhone. The Watch then can use this data to restore it settings when it is paired again. Be sure to unpair your Watch when it is near your iPhone. If you unpair it and the iPhone is out of range, then a backup will not be created.

Unpairing your Apple Watch from your iPhone


You will need to unpair your Apple Watch using the Watch app on your iPhone. Just make sure the two devices are in range of each other when you begin the unpairing process.

  1. Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap My Watch > Apple Watch > Unpair Apple Watch.
  3. Tap “Unpair Apple Watch” again to confirm.

During the unpairing process, the Watch creates a backup, removes itself from the Watch and erases all data on the device. When the upairing is complete, you will see a “Start Pairing” message on your Watch.

Backup Details

The Watch backup contains most of the important data stored on the Watch, including the following items:

  • General system settings, such as your watch face, known Wi-Fi networks, brightness, sound, and haptic settings
  • Language
  • Time Zone
  • Settings for Mail, Calendar, Stocks, and Weather
  • App-specific data and settings, such as Maps, distance, and units
  • Health and Fitness data, such as history, achievements, and user-entered data (To back up Health and Fitness data, you need to use iCloud or an encrypted iTunes backup.)

Notably missing from a backup are the workout and activity calibration data from your Apple Watch; synced Watch playlists; Apple Pay credit or debit card data and the passcode for your Apple Watch.

Restoring from a Backup

Once you have unpaired and erased your Watch, you can pair again using the same method to pair a new Watch device. Open the Apple Watch app and tap “Start Pairing” to being the pairing process. You then can use the iPhone’s camera to align the Watch display with the viewfinder and pair the two devices. During this pairing process, the Apple Watch will prompt you to restore from a backup. Select this option to restore your Watch data and custom settings.

Apple Watch Guide

If you want to learn more about the Apple Watch, you can view additional tutorials on our Apple Watch Tips and Tricks page and our Apple Watch Guide page. If you have an area you would like to see covered in this ongoing series of Watch tutorials or have discovered your own handy tips or tricks, please share them in the comments.

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