If you’re planning to sell, give away, or trade in your Apple Watch, it’s important to unpair it from your iPhone first. Unpairing your watch will erase all content and settings, and remove the Activation Lock so that the new owner can set it up and use it. This guide will walk you through the steps to unpair your Apple Watch, both when you have access to the paired iPhone and when you don’t. We’ll also cover what to do if your watch is lost or stolen.

Before You Begin

  • Make sure your Apple Watch and iPhone are close together throughout the unpairing process.
  • If you use your Apple Watch with a transit card in the Wallet app, be sure to remove the card from your watch before unpairing.
  • Your Apple Watch doesn’t have a physical SIM card slot or reset button. Don’t insert anything into the holes on the watch case, as this could cause damage.

How to Unpair Your Apple Watch When You Have Your iPhone

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the “My Watch” tab and tap “All Watches” at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap the info button (i) next to the watch you want to unpair.
  4. Tap “Unpair Apple Watch”.
  5. If you have a cellular model, choose to keep or remove your cellular plan:
    • Keep your plan if you want to pair your watch and iPhone again in the future.
    • Remove your plan if you don’t intend to pair the watch again. You may need to contact your carrier to cancel your cellular subscription.
  6. Enter your Apple ID password to disable Activation Lock.
  7. Tap “Unpair” to confirm.

Before erasing your watch’s content and settings, your iPhone will create a backup of your Apple Watch. You can use this backup to restore your settings and data if you pair the watch again in the future. After unpairing, your watch will display the “Start Pairing” message, indicating it has been reset to factory settings. You can now set it up again or power it off if you’re selling or giving it away.

How to Erase Your Apple Watch When You Don’t Have Your iPhone

If you no longer have access to the iPhone your watch is paired with, you can still erase the watch directly:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app.
  2. Go to General > Reset.
  3. Tap “Erase All Content and Settings” and enter your passcode if prompted.
  4. For cellular models, choose to keep or remove your cellular plan as described above.
  5. Tap “Erase All” to confirm.

This will reset your Apple Watch to factory settings, but it will not remove the Activation Lock. To fully unpair the watch, you’ll need access to the previously paired iPhone.After erasing, you can set up your Apple Watch again. You’ll need the Apple ID and password associated with the watch to disable Activation Lock during setup.

If Your Apple Watch is Lost or Stolen

If you’ve lost your Apple Watch or believe it was stolen, you can use the Find My app to locate it or remotely erase it:

  1. On a computer, go to iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Open the Find My app and click “All Devices” at the top of the screen.
  3. Select your Apple Watch from the device list.
  4. Click “Erase Apple Watch” and follow the on-screen instructions to erase the watch.

You can also put your missing watch in Lost Mode, which locks the watch with a passcode and displays a custom message with your contact information on the screen. This may help you get the watch back if someone finds it. If you have the “Find My” feature set up on your paired iPhone, it’s automatically enabled on your Apple Watch as well. This makes it possible to locate, lock, or erase your watch remotely if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I unpair my Apple Watch without my iPhone?

You can erase your Apple Watch without your iPhone, but you can’t fully unpair it and remove the Activation Lock without access to the previously paired iPhone.

Will unpairing my Apple Watch erase all my data?

Yes, unpairing your Apple Watch will erase all content and settings from the watch. However, a backup of your watch data is created on your iPhone before unpairing, which you can use to restore your watch if you pair it again.

What should I do if I’m selling or giving away my Apple Watch?

If you plan to sell or give away your Apple Watch, be sure to unpair it from your iPhone first. This will erase the watch and remove the Activation Lock so the new owner can set it up and use it.

Can I pair my Apple Watch with a new iPhone without unpairing it first?

No, you must unpair your Apple Watch from your current iPhone before you can pair it with a new iPhone. Unpairing backs up your watch’s data to your current iPhone, erases the watch, and removes the Activation Lock.


Unpairing your Apple Watch is an important step to take before selling, giving away, or trading in your watch. By unpairing the watch, you erase all its data and settings, back up its contents to your iPhone, and remove the Activation Lock. You can unpair your Apple Watch using the Watch app on your paired iPhone, or erase it directly on the watch if you don’t have access to your iPhone. If your watch is lost or stolen, you can use the Find My app to locate it or erase it remotely. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can unpair your Apple Watch properly and prepare it for a new owner or for use with a different iPhone.

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