Pair Apple Watch with your new iPhone

Ready to switch from your Apple Watch Series 7 to the new Series 8, Ultra or SE? Or maybe you just need to transfer your existing Apple Watch with your new iPhone? Follow along to learn how to seamlessly pair a new or existing Apple Watch with iPhone without losing data — including a new process in iOS 16.

Apple Watch backups happen automatically and are stored on the iPhone your Apple Watch is paired with. However, there is no place in Settings to manually back up your Apple Watch or see when the last automatic backup was.

Read on to learn how to make sure your Apple Watch is backed up and ready to upgrade to your new one.

If you’re upgrading to a new iPhone 14 (or any newer model), take care of that first.

Apple notes that these items are not included in Apple Watch backups: Bluetooth pairings, credit or debit cards used for Apple Pay, Apple Watch passcode, and Messages.

Pair Apple Watch with a new iPhone

New with iOS 16 – automatic transfer for existing Apple Watch

A fresh and seamless new process should appear with iOS 16 to move an existing Apple Watch from your old iPhone to your new one.

  1. Make sure to set up and restore your new iPhone with a backup or complete the Quick Transfer option from your old iPhone
  2. After setting up your new iPhone, make sure your Apple Watch is on your wrist (and the passcode is entered)
  3. Look for a message on your watch Pair watch with new iPhone?
  4. Select OKAY
  5. You can leave your watch on your wrist while the transfer takes place – even workouts/Ring progress from earlier in the day will be retained after transfer

If this process does not appear for you, follow the steps below…

Pair Apple Watch new iPhone

Use an Apple Watch backup to pair a new or existing watch

  1. If you are upgrading to a new iPhone, make sure to set it up first (restore from new backup)
  2. Open the Watch app on your new iPhone to begin the pairing process (you can choose to add your new Apple Watch before removing your existing one too: All Watches > Add Watch if the auto pairing screen doesn’t appear)
  3. Turn on your Apple Watch and find the link bolcodefollow the instructions
  4. If prompted, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and choose the most recent one
  5. If you don’t see an available backup of your most recent iPhone backup, follow below to force an Apple Watch backup

Pair new Apple Watch with new iPhone

If you need or want to pair a new Apple Watch with your iPhone or pair an existing watch as a new one:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Tap All Watches in the top left corner
  3. Select Add watch
  4. Follow the directions
  5. You should see an option to restore your previous watch’s backup to your new watch

Force an Apple Watch backup

If you don’t see an available backup to restore, you may need to force a backup.

Since Apple Watch backups aren’t created with every iCloud or Mac/PC backup with your iPhone, here’s how says apple to force them:

  1. Keep your paired Apple Watch and old iPhone close together
  2. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  3. Crane All watches choose your watch at the top, then tap the “i” on the right
  4. Crane Unpair Apple Watch (when unpairing, your Apple Watch will create a new backup to your iPhone)
  5. Follow the prompts to unpair your current watch
  6. Make a new backup of your old iPhone, restore that backup to your new iPhone
  7. Open the Watch app on your new iPhone to begin the pairing process of your new Watch
  8. Turn on your new Apple Watch and look for the pairing bulb code, follow the prompts
  9. If prompted, choose to restore your new Apple Watch from a backup and choose the most recent one

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